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July 1, 2010

Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers face potential charges in Dziekanski tasering death

Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers face potential charges in Dziekanski tasering death

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

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After reviewing the Braidwood Inquiry report into the death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport on October 14, 2007, Special Prosecutor Richard C.C. Peck, Q.C. announced he will revisit the British Columbia Attorney General’s decision not to charge the four Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers involved.

Mr. Peck cited “factual material that was not available to the Branch at the time [of the initial … decision]” as the motivation for reviewing the evidence heard at and recommendations of the Braidwood Inquiry into the tasering of Mr. Dziekanski with a view to pressing and prosecuting criminal charges against four RCMP officials involved in the incident.

According to a media release from the British Columbia Ministry of the Attorney General Criminal Justice Branch, Mr. Peck “will examine any other conduct of the four officers in relation to this matter, and in particular their statements to investigators and their testimony at the Braidwood Inquiry [to determine] whether their conduct was at any time contrary to any provisions of the Criminal Code or applicable provincial legislation.”

The Polish Embassy in Ottawa welcomed the publication of the Braidwood Inquiry report in a statement on their web site that commended “the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia for leading this public inquiry that showed new evidence and discovered serious errors in the conduct of four RCMP officers that had dealt with Mr. Robert Dziekański at Vancouver International Airport.

“We strongly believe that the findings of the Braidwood Commission should have a follow-up. We therefore expect that the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch will reassess its decision from 12 December 2008 and reopen the criminal investigation or [a] Special Prosecutor will be appointed by the Attorney General.”



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June 30, 2010

Braidwood Inquiry finds Dziekanski tasering in British Columbia unjustified

Braidwood Inquiry finds Dziekanski tasering in British Columbia unjustified

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

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Five deployments of the taser and the physical struggle with the four Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers contributed substantially to the death of Robert Dziekanski is the chief finding of the inquiry led by retired British Columbia Appeal Court Justice Thomas R. Braidwood.

Speaking at a June 18 media conference following the release of the report on the second phase of the inquiry into the events at Vancouver International Airport on October 14, 2007 Mr. Braidwood concluded “that the constable was not justified in deploying the weapon, and that neither that constable nor the corporal honestly perceived that Mr. Dziekanski was intending to attack any of the officers. I also concluded that the two other constables, during their testimony before me, offered patently unbelievable after-the-fact rationalizations of their police notes and their statements to the [RCMP Integrated Homicide Investigation Team] investigators.”

RCMP Commissioner William J.S. Elliott responded to Mr.Braidwood’s report in a press release saying “The RCMP acknowledges that its handling of this incident failed at many levels and we agree that events that took place at the Vancouver International Airport on October 14, 2007, should have unfolded differently. It is clear that our policies and training in place at the time were deficient. We acknowledge that the actions of our members who dealt with Mr. Dziekanski also fell short, including the fact that our officers did not take enough time to try to de-escalate the situation and did not provide an appropriate level of care to Mr. Dziekanski.”

30% This tragic case is, at its heart, the story of shameful conduct by a few officers. It ought not to reflect unfairly on the many thousands of RCMP and other police officers who have, through years of public service, protected our communities and earned a well-deserved reputation in doing so. 30%

—The Honourable Thomas Braidwood, QC

The mandate of the Braidwood commissions of inquiry, launched by the government of British Columbia (BC) in February 2008, included reporting on and making recommendations about the appropriate use of conducted energy weapons. Sworn evidence was received from 91 witnesses over 61 days. The second phase was “to provide the Dziekanski family and the public with a complete record of the circumstances of Mr. Robert Dziekanski’s death and to make recommendations the Commissioner considers necessary and appropriate” as per the commission’s web site.

The government of BC has already moved to “severely [restrict] the use of Tasers by all police, sheriff’s and corrections officers, and developing standardized police training for Taser use, crisis intervention, and responding to emotionally disturbed people” according to a June 18, 2010 press release. The province also plans to create “a new civilian-led unit to investigate all independent municipal police- and RCMP-related deaths and serious incidents” within the next 12 months.

Mr. Braidwood criticised the Canada Border Services Agency whose changes in response to the incident were “minor and few” but had high praise for Vancouver International Airport’s “exceptional steps in the aftermath of Mr. Dziekanski’s death to identify inadequacies in its policies, practices, and procedures, and to remedy them.”



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  • “Video of man tasered at Vancouver airport released” — Wikinews, November 15, 2007

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November 15, 2007

Video of man tasered at Vancouver airport released

Video of man tasered at Vancouver airport released

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

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A video showing a man being tasered by police and subsequently dying at the Vancouver International Airport has been released to the media. The cause of his death has not yet been determined.

Robert Dziekanski, 40, was immigrating from Pieszyce, Poland to live with his mother, Zofia Cisowski, in Kamloops, British Columbia. He did not clear customs at the airport for over eight hours and his mother was unable to locate him when she went to meet him at the airport. Since Dziekanski did not speak English airport security guards were unable to properly communicate with him. He started yelling at the airport staff because of this. He used chairs to prop open a door between a customs clearing area and a public lounge, he then threw a computer and threw a small table at a luggage section window.

He had calmed down and was standing with his hands at his side in the customs room until four Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers arrived and tasered the man, at least twice. Dziekanski began to convulse and was tasered a second time after falling to the ground, where the four officers pinned him down and handcuffed him. He screamed before he stopped moving. Paramedics arrived at the scene, but were unable to revive him and pronounced him dead.

Dziekanski’s mother had told him to wait in the luggage area where she would meet him, not realizing that this was inside the airport’s security zone, which was inaccessible to her. Arriving international passengers need to pass through customs first, before being able to meet people waiting to pick them up. His mother had tried in vain to get a message to him and eventually left the airport when told by airport staff that he wasn’t there.

Paul Pritchard, who had just arrived from China back to Victoria, shot a video of the incident and gave it to police. The police promised they would return the video within 48 hours. They gave him back his camera without the video.

Pritchard immediately hired a lawyer, held his own news conference, and threatened that he would take them to court to get it back.

CBC, CTV and Global television paid Pritchard several thousand dollars for the video, and he says he will use the money to take care of his father.

“It was against his [Pritchard’s father] wishes completely and my lawyer’s wishes as well. Profit is such an ugly word, and I hope people realize that it’s not a personal profit,” said Pritchard.

“I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mr. Dziekanski’s family, knowing that I could not hope to speak to the loss that they have suffered. I would also like to express my concerns for those people who were in any way touched by this extraordinary and tragic occurrence – our employees working that night, the various agencies involved, the emergency responders and the passengers who may have come across the scene,” Larry Berg, President and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority said on November 1.

According to a RCMP spokesman in Vancouver, the four officers involved in the case will testify in court under the coroners request, but it is expected to happen sometime next year.

Polish ambassador to Canada, Piotr Ogrodzinski, said “Mr. Dziekanski (was) a person who was agitated, frustrated, I think terrified, but not aggressive. He was not making a gesture that he intended to fight anybody” and “he didn’t know what to do. In fact, he was in search (of) help. That is why it is a really very sad and deeply moving film to watch.”

The incident is being investigated by the RCMP, the British Columbia Coroner’s Service, the Vancouver International Airport Authority, and the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.



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Robert Dziekański Taser incident
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