Monday, February 23, 2009

Braidwood Inquiry : First RCMP testimony today

Today the Braidwood Inquiry heard from the first of the four RCMP officers involved in the Vancouver airport death of Robert Dziekanski in 2007. The transcripts will not be available for a couple of days yet so here's what the media have reported. It is the first time the officers have spoken in public.

Constable Gerry Rundel, who was not carrying a TASER™ that night, testified that he feared "for my safety to a certain degree" although he was not clear why.
Dziekanski did not appear to shoot any staples at the officers, Rundel agreed.

Global :
"Rundel said he knew from the police radio that a fellow in the international arrivals area was "throwing objects" and breaking glass and was likely intoxicated.
(In fact, Dziekanski had thrown a small table but did not break glass or threaten other passengers. Toxicology reports after his death showed he had no drugs or alcohol in his system.)"

"Rundel said Const. Bentley first spoke in a "calm, friendly" manner to Dziekanski, but the incident escalated swiftly after that.
Dziekanski gestured toward his luggage but was told "No," by Const. Kwesi Millington.
Dziekanski complied with the request and moved away from his bags.
At that point Dziekanski threw up his hands and turned away from the officers in what Rundel interpreted as a "to hell with you guys, I'm out of here," stance.
"Within split seconds the Taser was deployed," said Rundel.

Pressed repeatedly by commission lawyer Patrick McGowan to say what specific command Dziekanski had disobeyed, Rundel became flustered but insisted that Dziekanski had moved away from his luggage, as he was commanded to do so by Cpl. Robinson, but then became "non-cooperative" or "non-compliant."
"Non-compliance" triggers the Taser deployment in the RCMP's training and use-of-force regulations, Rundel said."

The Star :
"He appeared to not be behaving like a normal person would behave," said Rundel. "It was all part of my observation formed by opinion."

"A criminal investigation conducted by the RCMP into its four members' conduct, which was given to crown counsel late last year, determined that the officers' actions were not criminal.

Dziekanski died Oct. 14, 2007 after getting hit five times with shots from the Taser gun. He fell screaming in anguish to the ground and the officers piled on top of him. Within seconds, he had stopped breathing.

The inquiry had heard earlier testimony from firefighters who later attended the scene that the RCMP officers appeared to do nothing to help the man."

In other news, RCMP in B.C. plan to buy 40 new Taser weapons. The force is budgeting $50,000 for the new model X26E Taser guns.


RossK said...



Jeebuz, why the heckfire don't the Horseman spend $50,000 on staplers at the Office Supply store if they are so deadly?

Paul said...

When I heard Rundel say he felt threatened "to a certain degree", I almost fell out of my chair. Unbelievable. But, the fact that he fudged his story afterward almost made up for it.

Oemissions said...

I watched it all on the CBC live. From the questioning it became obvious that Dzienkanski was going to his luggage to get out his passport for them.They thought he might be getting what? another stapler, a box cutter.? Some pepper spray?
And after all that tasering, what would make him think he needed to go out and get more equipment(hobbles) to restrain this poor man on the floor with 3 other policemen there.
The first time I saw that video it looked to me that when they arrived that Mr. Dziekanski seemed rather relieved to have the cops show up. They might help him.

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