Police response excessive, possibly planned: final submission

At best, the four RCMP officers who confronted Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport and stunned him several times with a Taser panicked, the lawyer for Robert Dziekanski’s mother told the public inquiry into his death Monday.

VANCOUVER — At best, the four RCMP officers who confronted Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport and stunned him several times with a Taser panicked, the lawyer for Robert Dziekanski’s mother told the public inquiry into his death Monday.

At worst, they arrived with a plan to use what amounted to excessive force, Walter Kosteckyj said in his final submission to the inquiry.

Either way, the Mounties failed to live up to their training and the law, he said.

“The Tasering of Mr. Dziekanski at its best would be characterized as a premature, hurried and panicked response, and at the worst was a premeditated and planned attack,” Kosteckyj said.

Kosteckyj spent more than two hours outlining what he called a “systematic failure” to help Dziekanski, 40, at the airport in the hours before his death on Oct. 14, 2007.

He criticized the airport and customs officers, but much of his submission focused on the four officers who were called to the airport after Dziekanski, who only spoke Polish, started throwing furniture.

Kosteckyj said the officers acted improperly from the moment they entered the airport, not taking time to assess the situation or communicate with Dziekanski, and resorting to the Taser within seconds of approaching the man.

Despite the officers’ claims to the contrary, Kosteckyj said the swiftness of their response suggests they approached Dziekanski already planning to use the stun gun.

“You can make conclusions based upon the length of time it took to get from zero to 60,” Kosteckyj told inquiry commissioner Thomas Braidwood.

“There is at least evidence that there had been some premeditation, some discussion, some determination made.”

All four officers insisted they never talked about their response before arriving and only used the Taser once Dziekanski picked up a stapler.

Their testimony and their earlier statements to investigators were marked with inconsistencies about what happened when compared with an eyewitness video of the confrontation, and they were accused of lying at the inquiry to justify their response.

Kosteckyj spent more than 10 minutes listing discrepancies, including the Mounties’ repeated assertions that Dziekanski stood through the Taser jolts, had to be tackled to the ground, and was coming at the officers yelling with his hands above his head when the Taser was fired.

The video shows none of that.

Kosteckyj said the similarities of their accounts suggest the officers worked to get their stories straight and cover up their mistakes.

“You’re left with the inescapable conclusion that these four officers, knowing they had to justify the use and the amount of force, made statements to meet the legal threshold they knew they had to cross,” said Kosteckyj.

Braidwood will have to assess the officers’ conduct, and has already told the Mounties that he’s considering whether to make findings of misconduct.

The officers, however, have argued that a provincial inquiry has no jurisdiction to make such findings over officers on the federal force.

Kosteckyj said that attitude shows the need for the B.C. government to cut its contracts with the RCMP for local and provincial policing and instead set up a provincial force.

“It is a principal of democracy that . . . the police must answer to the legislature,” he told the commissioner.

“In the event that they do not, and the RCMP are not prepared to do that while acting as a provincial police force, the result remains that there must be a recommendation that a provincial police force has to be put into place.”

Just Posted

City of Red Deer gets ball rolling on annexing more land

”It’s important we look ahead,” says Mayor Veer

Walmart melding online and in-store shopping

South Red Deer Walmart recently underwent six months of renovations

Updated: Nature trail unveiled at RDC

Trail unveiling and tree planting honours Nova Chemicals $2 million donation

Video: Windows smashed at three Red Deer businesses

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vandalism spree

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

OTTAWA — More than one million jobs could be lost to the… Continue reading

McGill research finds significant driving impairment 5 hours after cannabis use

MONTREAL — Driving under the influence of cannabis remains dangerous even five… Continue reading

Family: Remembering the important things

It seems so much of life is work and routine and then… Continue reading

Canada gets into Women’s World Cup with 7-0 win over Panama

FRISCO, Texas — Christine Sinclair isn’t concerned about chasing records. She’s set… Continue reading

Baldwin urges ‘overthrow’ of Trump government via voting

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Actor Alec Baldwin followed up his latest parody portrayal… Continue reading

Prince Harry and Meghan expecting their 1st child in spring

CANBERRA, Australia — Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex,… Continue reading

Sears files for Chapter 11 amid plunging sales, massive debt

NEW YORK — Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, buckling… Continue reading

Doctors to debate medical pot as more patients expected to ask for prescriptions

VANCOUVER — Doctors with opposing views on whether medical marijuana should be… Continue reading

Most Read