The death of Claudio Castagnetta deserves an inquiry

On the heels of the Robert Dzeikanski tragedy at the Vancouver airport, another case of taser misuse that took place in September of 2007 has been brought forward.

The case of Italian national Claudio Castagnetta should strike a chord with Canadians. This time the culprits are the Quebec police. It turns out that while he was in a police detention center, he had convulsions and showed clear signs of suicidal behaviour and mental problems. There have been subsequent reports that he was bi-polar.

Stun gun-happy cops may even zap a autistic person if this keeps up. Or how about a little old lady in slippers roaming the streets who lost her way from the home? How would they react then? I exaggerate but they showed little rational and compassionate actions in the aforementioned cases that it has to make us wonder.

What's the difference between the two?

Both seem to be a case of men in emotional distress. Both clearly were not criminals according to video and witnesses.

One was captured on film and captivated the attention of citizens. The other was not and has been forgotten. Out of site our of mind.

The result in each case? A justified call for an immediate inquiry in the Dzeikanski case and none for Castagnetta. The Italian embassy and community are still waiting for answers.

This is not to pile on the police but something clearly needs to be examined regarding tasers. Police officers don't seem to be able to distinguish between a person who is sick and one who is a criminal. Now there is talk that they will have to be properly trained for situations.

That's a start.

However, my question is why are police officers indifferent (or depraved) to begin with? Why are they not capable of exerting common sense instead of group-thuggery?


  1. Anonymous12/01/2007

    Claudio has received significant coverage in Quebec City. But outside of Quebec City the coverage has been very weak. As you point out, his case of multiple acts of neglect reaches across multiple jurisdictions. The inappropriate taser use was only the beginning of an appalling display of neglect and lack of training. What we know from informants and whistle-blowers is shocking, what we don't know due to police silence is also shocking. Will the current situation of police investigating police result in justice or reform? I doubt it. We need a public inquiry, and ultimately an independent police review board as exists in Ontario.

    Thank you for your thoughts and attention.

  2. Crazy people should be forced to wear signs. Criminals too, actually.

  3. That reminds me...to renew my sign.


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