"Suspended with pay"

Kudos to the Vancouver Sun for finally naming the RCMP officer who was involved in both the ill-fated takedown of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver Airport and, allegedly, the death of a 21-year-old motorcyclist in Delta on Saturday night. He is, by the Sun‘s reckoning, Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson. I take no pleasure in repeating his name here. He might be innocent of all wrongdoing, and he’s entitled to all the due process he can eat. But he is not entitled to a red serge cloak of anonymity that the rest of us aren’t when we make a mess and the relevant authorities investigate us. That’s just one of many rules the RCMP made up for themselves.

What’s particularly remarkable about the RCMP’s conduct on this file is that even if the inquiry clears its officers of all misconduct—it seems unlikely, but we don’t even know what role, if any, the Tasering played in Mr. Dziekanski’s death—the force will still come off reeking of the third world. Indeed, they blew every ounce of credibility right at the beginning, when they claimed three officers had confronted Mr. Dziekanski even though a tape they had in their possession quite clearly showed there were four—a lie that, by virtue of its total futility, displayed an arrogance and an invincibility complex so profound as to make it genuinely frightening to think of these people being in charge of public safety. (Public safety at the Olympics, for example, a unit to which Robinson was assigned.)

What they can do now is hand over the material Crown prosecutors have requested, so the Crown can decide whether to press charges, so the Braidwood Inquiry can get to the bottom of Dziekanski’s death. They can act like civilized human beings, in other words. Clearly they don’t give a fat damn what the public thinks of them, and it’s surely too much to ask that they play ball simply because it’s the right thing to do. But maybe now that one of their own, Cpl. Robinson, is left holding the bag all by himself, they’ll do it out of the same warped sense of solidarity that kept his name a secret this long. Means to an end, as they say.