Robert Dziekański

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A video released Nov. 14 gave disturbing insight into the case of a 40-year-old Polish immigrant tasered by police at Vancouver International Airport. He was there to meet his mother, who was already living in Canada. Robert Dziekanski waited in the secure baggage area for 10 hours as his mother searched for him elsewhere.
Minutes after arriving on the scene RCMP officers tasered the man who then dropped to the floor writhing in anguish. Dziekanski shortly after. A 15-year-old Victoria resident recorded the incident on his cell phone. The video has since been posted on the Internet and viewed widely.

Robert Dziekański was a construction worker by trade, but had also worked as a miner.[4] He was in the process of emigrating from Gliwice, Poland, to live with his mother, Zofia Cisowski, in Kamloops, British Columbia.[5]

Dziekański’s flight was two hours late, and arrived at about 3:15 pm on October 13, 2007.[6][7][8] According to official sources, Dziekański required language support to complete initial customs formalities. After he completed initial immigration processing, his whereabouts between 4:00 p.m. and about 10:45 p.m. remain unclear, though at various points he was seen around the baggage carrousels.[9] Dziekański’s mother, Zofia Cisowski, had told him to wait for her at the baggage claim area but it was a secured area where she was not allowed to enter.[10] At 10:45 p.m., when he attempted to leave the Customs hall, he was directed again to secondary immigration as his visa had not yet been processed.[6][9] Dziekański’s immigration procedures were completed at about 12:15 a.m. on October 14.[6][9] After 30 minutes in an immigration waiting area, he was taken to the international arrivals reception area.[9] Cisowski had been making enquiries of airport staff since the early afternoon.[11] Airport staff told her Dziekański was not at the airport and she had returned to Kamloops at about 10 p.m., believing her son had missed his flight.[8][10]

When Dziekański left the Customs hall, he became visibly agitated. Bystanders and airport security guards were unable to communicate with him because he did not speak English.He used chairs to prop open the one-way doors between a Customs clearing area and a public lounge and at one point threw a computer and a small table to the floor before the police arrived.[12]

Four RCMP officers, Constables Gerry Rundel, Bill Bently, Kwesi Millington, and supervisor Corporal Benjamin Robinson, arrived and entered the Customs room where Dziekański was pacing about. They apparently directed him to stand near a counter, to which Dziekański complied but picked up a stapler sometime after being told to place his hands on a counter.[13][14][15]

Shortly thereafter, about 25 seconds after arriving at the scene, Corporal Robinson ordered the Taser to be used. Constable Millington tasered Dziekański. He began to convulse and was tasered several more times after falling to the ground, where the four officers pinned, handcuffed and continued to taser him. One eyewitness, who recorded the incident on her cellphone, told CBC News that Dziekański had been tasered four times.

“The third and fourth ones were at the same time” delivered by the officers at Dziekanski’s right and left, just before Dziekański fell.[12][16] According to B.C. Crown counsel spokesman Stan Lowe, Dziekański was tasered a total of five times.[3] Constable Millington testified that he deployed the Taser four times, but he believed that in some of those instances the probes may not have contacted Dziekański’s body.[17]Dziekanski writhed and screamed before he stopped moving.

Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson stated he then checked for a pulse, but his heart had stopped. Testimony from the other RCMP officers state they never saw anyone including Robinson check for a pulse.[18] Dziekański did not receive CPR until paramedics arrived on the scene approximately 15 minutes later. They were unable to revive him and pronounced him dead at the scene.[12]


The entire event was recorded by Paul Pritchard, another traveler who was at the airport. Pritchard handed his camera and the video to police who told him that they would return the video within 48 hours. Instead, they returned the camera with a new memory card and kept the original with the video, saying they needed it to preserve the integrity of the investigation. They claimed witness statements would be tainted if they viewed the video before being interviewed by police.[19] Pritchard went to court to obtain the video, which he then released to the media on November 14, 2007; three television outlets paid fees to Pritchard for the right to broadcast the video.[20][21][22] After the video was made available, an RCMP spokesperson cautioned the public to reserve judgment against the police because the video represents “just one small piece of evidence, one person’s view.”[12]

Before the video was released to the public, the RCMP repeatedly claimed that only three officers were at the scene. There were actually four officers at the scene.[12] The RCMP also said that they did not use pepper spray because of the risk it would have posed to bystanders. The video, however, suggests the incident occurred in an area separated from bystanders by a glass wall. The actual location of the incident was inside the international arrivals area, which is separated by glass. Those waiting to greet arriving international passengers can view the area from the waiting lounge on the other side of the glass.[12] An RCMP spokesperson also stated that batons were not used,[16] which was also contradicted by the video.[23]

Criticism of the officers and the RCMP…….

The RCMP officers involved in the Dziekański death, Constables Gerry Rundel, Bill Bently, Kwesi Millington, and supervisor Corporal Benjamin Robinson, have been widely criticized for their handling of the incident. A retired Vancouver Police superintendent commented after viewing the video that Dziekański did not appear to be making “any threatening gestures” towards the police and he did not see why it became a police incident.[12] Particularly contentious is that the RCMP officers made no attempt to defuse or gain control of the situation before resorting to the Taser.[24]

It is noteworthy that in August 2007, before Dziekański’s death, RCMP changed its protocol on Taser use, suggesting that multiple Taser shocks may be recommendable under certain circumstances.[25]

The RCMP’s handling of the incident led to charges that they misrepresented the facts to portray the RCMP in a favourable light. The BC Civil Liberties Association has filed a complaint arguing that the evidence shows that the Taser was not used as a last resort and condemning the RCMP for its attempt to suppress the video and for casting aspersions on the character of Dziekański.[26] An RCMP spokesman, Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre, was heavily criticized for providing a false version of events prior to the public release of the video. He stated that Dziekański “continued to throw things around and yell and scream”, after the arrival of the police officers, which was later revealed by the video to be false.[27]

On December 12, 2008, the Criminal Justice Branch of British Columbia issued a statement, finding that although the RCMP officers’ efforts to restrain Dziekański were a contributing cause of his death, the force they used to subdue and restrain him was reasonable and necessary in all the circumstances; thus there would not be a substantial likelihood of conviction of the officers in connection with the incident and accordingly criminal charges were not approved.[28] Three of the officers remain on duty elsewhere in Canada, while the supervisor, Corporal Benjamin Monty Robinson, is suspended with pay awaiting trial on charges of impaired driving causing death, stemming from the death of a Orion Hutchinson.[29][30][31]

Corporal Benjamin Monty Does It Again

One blogger wrote….

The RCMP’s image here in British Columbia is very bad.

That bad image has been earned each step of the way by the actions of garbage like RCMP Corporal Monty Robinson, who clearly believes he is above the law and can do anything he wants, up to and including killing people.

So far Corporal Monty Robinson is 100% right about that.

He is above the law.

He’s never faced murder charges.

He’s never spent a day behind bars for his crimes.

He’s still on the RCMP payroll, for God’s sake!

Why shouldn’t he think he’s above the law?


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