RCMP officers not justified in tasering Robert Dziekanski, inquiry finds

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      An inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski has found RCMP officers were not justified in using a Taser on the Polish immigrant during an incident at Vancouver International Airport in October 2007.

      Thomas Braidwood, a retired B.C. Court of Appeal justice, delivered a stern reprimand to the officers with the release of his final report today (June 18) in Vancouver. But he stopped short of describing their actions as misconduct.

      “Despite their training, the officers approached the incident as though responding to a barroom brawl, and failed to shift gears when they realized that they were dealing with an obviously distraught traveller,” Braidwood said during a press conference.

      “Mr. Dziekanski in no way brought this on himself,” the commissioner added.

      Following the release of Braidwood's report, B.C. Attorney General Michael de Jong announced that a new civilian-led body would be created in the province over the next 12 months that could conduct criminal investigations into police-involved deaths and other allegations of wrongdoing.

      "Both independent municipal police departments and the RCMP will be subject to investigations by the independent investigation office," he said.

      De Jong also said that an independent special prosecutor will be appointed immediately to re-examine the earlier decision to not pursue criminal charges in connection with the 40-year-old Dziekanski's death.

      He said he expects the special prosecutor's review "will be conducted in as expedient a manner as possible".

      Dziekanski's mother, Zofia Cisowski, was also present for the release of the report and thanked Braidwood and his staff for their work, saying she is satisfied his commission undertook a full review of the tragic incident at Vancouver International Airport.

      "I will always be thinking of my son and the moment of his death," Cisowski said.

      In examining the events at the Richmond airport, Braidwood concluded the RCMP officers' initially appropriate response soon turned aggressive, while describing Dziekanski's behaviour as compliant.

      The commissioner said when the Mounties later spoke of wrestling Dziekanski down they provided "deliberate misrepresentations, made for the purpose of justifying their actions".

      Braidwood further explained that while it has never been determined exactly what caused Dziekanski to die, the multiple zaps from the Taser conducted-energy weapon "contributed substantially" to the death.

      The RCMP responded to the report today, noting changes have been made on the force that include introduction of a new policy on the use of conducted-energy weapons.

      In a statement, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott said the national police agency apologizes "unconditionally" for the role of officers in Dziekanski's death.

      "It is clear that our policies and training in place at the time were deficient," Elliott states.

      Comments

      7 Comments

      Your money

      Jun 18, 2010 at 12:00pm

      That was a lot of time and money deployed in order to come to the conclusion any rational person came up with 10 seconds into the video.

      That was your tax dollars defending RCMP that lied and attempted to cover up their actions. Tax dollars that could have gone into healthcare, education, reducing insurance premiums,...

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      Recall

      Jun 18, 2010 at 3:30pm

      Recall that Gordon Campbell called these officers giving his person support to their actions. His government could have saved us a lot of time, shame and money by doing the morally and legally obvious and immediately bringing charges. They did the opposite.

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      Strategis

      Jun 18, 2010 at 3:57pm

      It's amazing that it requires a retired judge, an international controversy that sullied the reputation of our country, and a multimillion dollar investigation to confirm what any ordinary, sensible person can see staring them in the face. The police were terribly wrong to attack Robert the way they did, and they, in effect, murdered him through their vicious and unprofessionally brutal assault on him. No one is safe in Canada, whether visitor or resident, when these armed thugs wearing badges are on the loose.

      A profound reworking of our police forces is needed, and there needs to be put in place full legal accountability for all actions by police that are outside the law - enforced by an independent civilian body. This is the only remedy for this shameful situation we have allowed to develop in our country. Police also need to be properly trained and held to the highest standards of professionalism by strict policies, careful oversite, and effective legal protections of the citizenry.

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      unknown sample

      Jun 18, 2010 at 9:22pm

      Strategis is absolutely correct. In addition, I must comment that if four RCMP officers feel they are not able to subdue a single forty year old man without resorting to a taser, we are in pretty bad shape as a country.

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      John Carter

      Jun 19, 2010 at 5:16pm

      "Maiontains le Droit"....RRRIIIIGGGGHHHHTTTT! (as in 'droit').

      Those 4 sorry excuses for "Maintien le Droit" are nothing but duly trained(really?) & authorized gestapo thugs who, collectively, and/or individually, lacked the spinal fortitude to physically take down a confused/distraught/disorientated, stapler wielding foreigner for FEAR of their individual/collective hides. Hey "men"........remember "Depot",.........
      did they fail to mention "WITHOUT FEAR!!!!! or favour"???

      As to your commissioned "superiors" (doesn't take much....some ass-kissing gold braid......Hi Zak!), -- they are Canada's answer to the Vatican.

      My father was a 28 year "member" (Reg. # 10275), you pathetic lot would make him puke.

      J. Carter,
      Calgary, Alberta.

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      John Vee

      Jun 20, 2010 at 1:15am

      Bring out the guillotine and let the heads begin to roll. First the RCMP, not just the four individuals who caused Mr. D's death, but all those behind them covering up, spinning, hiding, denying, protecting. The whole rotten structure, up to and including Elliot.

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      dlb3

      Jun 21, 2010 at 9:38am

      You have to remember you live in a Socialist Country that pretends to be a Democracy. The people are only allowed to vote on which party but not the issues that effect us daily.

      The RCMP and all Government branches "police" themselves! It is obvious to the public their views, feelings, and suggestions are not wanted by Canada's Government. The "people" are only tolerated and told the necessary rhetoric to get a party voted. Then Government & its branches do whatever they want anyway, with no accountability.

      On top, the Human Rights Witch-hunt has effectively shut down freedom of speech and thought.

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