Monday, March 02, 2009

Braidwood Inquiry - A third officer is forced to recant

Another very bad day for RCMP credibility as a third RCMP officer, the one who applied the TASER™ to Robert Dziekanski five times, is forced to reconcile Paul Pritchard's video with his own completely different version of events.

In his statement immediately after the incident and before seeing the video, Constable Kwesi Millington claimed that Dziekanski assumed a "combative stance" and came at the four RCMP officers in a "threatening manner" while "swinging the stapler wildly". Millington further testified that Dziekanski didn't go down even after three rounds of TASER™ and continued to fight even on the ground.

Justice Thomas Braidwood asked Millington how he could possibly insist the man was still standing after the first TASER™ "when he was on the ground howling with his legs in the air."
"I was wrong about that," says Millington.
So why did he hit him a second time? Because he was "resisting".
Video is shown of Robert Dziekanski spinning around in circles on the floor like a bug all by himself. Who exactly is he resisting?
"I was wrong about that", admitted Milligan again.
And the third time? Because he was still resisting.
And the fourth time? Seems he wasn't sure the TASER™ was working properly so he tried it in push-stun mode, applying it directly to Dziekanski for what he called "pain compliance".
He could not remember having done this a second time as the TASER™ record shows, for a total of five times over 30 seconds.

The stapler defence.
Millington : "I formed the impression he wanted to attack one of the officers or all of the officers."
Asked to demonstrate the stapler threat, Millington holds the open stapler close to his body just above waist height. Jeers break out in the gallery. The video shows Dziekanski surrounded by four officers backed up against the counter and making no movement towards them.

BC Local News :
"Asked what could have gone wrong if officers had waited another second or two, Millington maintained the stapler-wielding Dziekanski posed a threat.
"We feared for our safety and we felt he was going to escape."

Vancouver Sun :

"After Dziekanski was handcuffed behind his back, face-down, Millington said he recalled Const. Bentley pointing out "within a minute or two" that Dziekanski's "ears were starting to turn blue."
Millington agreed that he did not check Dziekanski's pulse or breathing, but thought that Cpl. Benjamin Robinson, might have done so, although he agreed with Vertlieb all officers wore gloves, making medical checks difficult.

Richmond Fire Capt. Kirby Graeme has testified that as the first paramedic on the scene, he was shocked to see Mounties "standing around" not monitoring Dziekanski, who was lying motionless and blue, "not in anything remotely resembling a recovery position."

Millington faces cross-examination and then we'll hear from the fourth and last RCMP officer, Corporal Benjamin Robinson.

Still no transcripts up at the Braidwood Inquiry website since Feb. 19.
RCMP Const. Bentley's lawyer has asked that official inquiry transcripts, video, audiotapes and exhibits at the inquiry not be released without a court order because they fear Poland may bring charges against the officers. Poland has denied they intend to do so.
Braidwood Inquiry - Dziekanski may have shot staples
Braidwood Inquiry : First RCMP testimony today
Braidwood Inquiry : A second RCMP officer recants
Braidwood Inquiry : Dziekanski compliant after all
Live coverage of the inquiry can be found at the CBC :
Mon to Fri from 10am to 11:50am and 2pm to 4:30pm


David Wilson said...

where did you get the line <<"I was wrong about that," says Millington.>> I have not seen it anywhere else - not being critical you understand, just wondering

and I do appreciate your efforts here - especially noting that the flow of transcripts has slowed down or possibly stopped - the lawyer for Bill Bentley, David Butcher, is a smart cookie, he was involved in the Ian Bush case as well where he discredited key evidence on the blood spatters - it seems to me that this transcript business is (yet another) RCMP strategy to stifle the flow of information

whatever happens these men cannot be allowed to get away with what they did, cannot be!!!

be well.

David Wilson said...

ok, found the comment in Gary Mason's article in the Globe, no worries.

Anonymous said...

Ian Mulgrew, Sun : Appalling testimony draws guffaws from the gallery

The public gallery now is laughing in disbelief at the RCMP version of events the night Robert Dziekanski was Tasered and died at Vancouver International Airport.

Millington is the third of the four RCMP officers who confronted Dziekanski to testify and each has recited a near identical story using similar language that has been shown to be misleading on the same key points.

Const. Bill Bentley, Const. Gerry Rundel and Millington, who were all junior cops with little experience, exaggerated the threat posed by Dziekanski and described him as more volatile and menacing than he was.

After the incident, the three were sent to the detachment office where they spent time together without any other officer present before being questioned by investigators looking into Dziekanski’s death.

They also got together for a critical incident debriefing Oct. 27, about a fortnight before the video was made public.

Millington, though, said he and the others have not discussed what happened nor did they compare stories before testifying.

It is most alarming that each officer in turn continues with this identical already discredited story. They've seen the video, they know everyone else has seen the video, and still they lie in the face of evidence to the contrary. Robinson will undoubtedly also lie.
This behavior is insane.
Who from now on will be willing to give any RCMP the benefit of the doubt.


Anonymous said...

Walter Kosteckyj, the lawyer for RD's mom, is a former Mountie himself.

Paul said...

Why in the world are these officers avoiding criminal charges? The BC Crown stated that, while the officers contributed to Dziekanski's death, their use of force was reasonable under the circumstances. After all of the discredited testimony, can the Crown still legitimately hold this position? I know nothing about the law, so please, someone enlighten me. Obviously, the officers didn't intend to kill Dziekanski, but is there not enough evidence of gross misconduct or negligence or something?

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