Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski is secured by airport police on the floor of the Vancouver airport in this video footage from Oct. 14, 2007.
Jolts not direct cause of death, review finds
Dec 13, 2008 04:30 AM
WESTERN CANADA BUREAU CHIEF
VANCOUVER–The mother of a Polish immigrant who died after being hit with a Taser by the RCMP at the Vancouver airport said yesterday she is angry that officials seem to be blaming her son for the tragedy.
Yesterday, prosecutors announced there would be no charges against any of the four RCMP officers who confronted and used a Taser to stun Robert Dziekanski before he died in October 2007.
A review by prosecutors said Dziekanski, 40, was a panicked alcoholic possibly in a state of delirium at the time. The review also concluded his death was not directly caused by the Taser jolts but they were one of several contributing factors, along with heart disease, alcohol withdrawal, the stress of being restrained and a decreased ability to breathe due to an officer kneeling on him, said Stan Lowe, a spokesperson for the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch.
Pathology reports show that Dziekanski, who did not have any alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of the shooting, died of a cardiac arrest.
"I'm so angry and so disappointed," said Zofia Cisowski, Dziekanski's mother, in an interview from her home in Kamloops, B.C. "There is nothing now for me. Nothing. They blamed him and said he died of a heart attack and he was an alcoholic. What does that have to do with him being shot?"
Cisowski, 71, waited for hours for her son at the Vancouver International Airport on Oct. 14, 2007, but was told that he never arrived on his flight from Poland. The two failed to connect with each other because of miscommunication and security barriers at the airport.
A frustrated Dziekanski, who could not speak English and was petrified of flying, was left wandering at the airport for hours. Around midnight, RCMP officers were called to the international arrivals area after a 911 call of a disturbance.
They confronted Dziekanski, and within 24 seconds of their encounter, one officer, identified yesterday for the first time as Const. Millington, took out his Taser gun and used the weapon on the unarmed man.
The province's attorney general, Wally Oppal, said in an interview that after a thorough and independent review of the evidence provided by the RCMP, which had conducted its own investigation, the conclusion was unanimous.
"There was not a substantial likelihood of conviction," said Oppal.
The three possible charges against the four officers were assault, assault with a deadly weapon and manslaughter.
Poland's consul general in Vancouver said it's up to the Braidwood Inquiry, a provincially appointed commission, to find the answers that are still missing.
"My government expresses great disappointment that there are no charges," said Tomasz Lis.
The Braidwood Inquiry is scheduled to begin again in mid-January after being delayed twice this fall after the RCMP refused to testify at the public inquiry because of the criminal investigation.
RCMP assistant commissioner Al MacIntyre said yesterday the four officers involved in the Tasering incident will be testifying when the inquiry resumes.
Two of the officers involved have been transferred to detachments in the east, while two remain in British Columbia. One officer, Corp. Monty Robinson, is under suspension for an unrelated incident after a Jeep he was allegedly driving while off-duty struck and killed a young man in the suburb of Tsawwassen two months ago. Robinson is scheduled to appear in court in January to face charges. Police recommended he be charged with impaired driving causing death.
Supt. Wayne Rideout, who was in charge of the Dziekanski investigation, said despite initial reports that the weapon was deployed twice, investigators subsequently learned it had been fired five times.
Rideout said RCMP could not correct that misinformation until now because of the ongoing criminal investigation
The one little detail that makes little sense to me is this: how come Canada approves the immigration of a man who speaks neither of the official languages?