Blamed and Broken: The Mounties and the Death of Robert Dziekanski

This is a well-researched book that takes a look into a situation a while back in Canada where, after a series of mishaps a man got lost in an airport while trying to immigrate into Canada, it went on an excessively long time and no one understood his language and he had a meltdown. The Mounties were called to the scene when the man lost control, and during the confrontation, sadly, he suddenly died in police custody. A witness happened to catch one angle of the incident on video. It happened at the glass-walled Immigration section at an airport after he’d gotten lost and agitated. He only spoke Polish and no one could understand him. A Taser was involved. All four RCMP’s involved, three of whom were still fairly new in their careers, felt they’d done their job to the best of their ability and training that night, and that the witnesses and video would verify the necessity of their actions that night.

But once the man’s mother found out the next day that her only son was deceased, and had made the trip, after all, she was out of her mind with grief, screaming. She’d depleted her small savings so that they could spend what time she had left together, getting him set up in a new life in Canada. Hopefully a happy one. Her husband was very ill in a nursing home and she’d been so looking forward to her son coming, he was all she had and now she had nothing! And a funeral to find the money to pay for too. It was too much. When the video went out without context, things went very badly against the officers. From the angle of the video, you couldn’t see what the officers saw. This will affect lives for years and there will be more lives lost over it before it’s done, which is the saddest part.

It didn’t help that a couple of workers at the airport didn’t try to locate him when his mother showed up after a 4 hour trip to pick him up, they just brushed her off and told her he wasn’t there, that his flight had landed hours ago and he must not have made the trip, instead of actually making an effort to find out, and worse, they told her to just go home and call Poland. She was not allowed beyond the security checkpoint to search for him herself of course. I believe from what they figured out later, mother and son only missed each other by a few minutes in reality. It was that close.

This book is pretty intense, heartbreaking, and well written. I feel like these cops got a crappy deal. I’m sure there will be differing opinions upon reading the book and I look forward to seeing what they are. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave it there. A very good read. My second book dealing with Mounties too recently, I like that. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Curt Petrovich, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: Dundurn 336 – pages
Publication:  Feb 5th, 2019

RATED: 4/5 Stars

The Author— Curt Petrovich is an investigative journalist with over three decades of experience reporting on national and international stories for the CBC. He has followed the case of Robert Dziekanski since he was declared dead on October 14, 2007. Curt lives in Vancouver.


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