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Robert Dziekanski by Canadian Police
The killing of Robert Dziekanski is
so sad for me that I will not write much about it now.
But I will say it is another example of how the failure
to listen has led to a preventable death. S. Hein
Video 1 | Viideo 2 | Video 3
of fatal Taser incident will be returned to
Richard Watts, Times Colonist
Published: Saturday, November 03, 2007
The Victoria man who
recorded an incident where RCMP Tasered a man at
Vancouver International Airport has been told he
will get his footage back.
Paul Pritchard, who appeared in B.C. Supreme
Court on Friday, had been attempting to compel
the Mounties to return his footage of the
incident, which he said he plans to release to
the media because it shows the man, who died, was
But lawyer Paul Pearson, acting for Pritchard,
said in court a lawyer with the federal
Department of Justice had provided assurances the
digital recording will be returned within six
days. The matter was put over to next Thursday in
case the tape isn't returned.
Pritchard, 25, was in Vancouver International
Airport Oct. 14 when he saw police Taser a man,
and he captured the incident on his digital
Pritchard had only been in Canada a few hours
after returning from China, where he taught
English, and was waiting for a connecting flight
The Tasered man, Robert Dziekanski, 40, spoke no
English and was in the process of immigrating to
Canada from Poland.
His mother, Maria Cisowski of Kamloops, was
apparently having trouble finding Dziekanski at
While still at the scene, a police officer asked
Pritchard to show him his footage and he agreed.
When the officer asked if he could borrow his
camera to make copies, Pritchard said, he
Since then, Pritchard has received the camera
back, but police kept the memory chip with the
footage. He said he's twice been promised it
would be returned but it has failed to appear.
Pritchard has said use of the Taser was
unnecessary because three police officers and
accompanying security guards could easily have
Outside the courtroom, Pritchard said he wants to
be a good citizen by releasing the footage to the
media, but plans to show the tape to Dziekanski's
"Nobody wants to be the guy to sue the RCMP
but I think it's my duty as a Canadian
citizen," said Pritchard. "If I don't
do it then it would probably just get swept under
As a teacher in China, he has said, he often
spoke proudly of rights Canadian citizens enjoy,
such as freedom of the press.
But Pritchard's lawyer noted yesterday the
exercise of those rights can sometimes require
"There is no doubt in my mind that a
combination of public pressure and the court
application caused the police to change their
position," said Pearson outside the
I see that the police will take 10 days to return
this stolen recording. Making a copy would take
less than 10 minutes. Given that, does anyone
really believe that the video will be returned
intact and unedited? I suggest that Mr. Pritchard
not drop the court application just yet.
Dr.DawgSat, Nov 3, 07 at 10:54 AM
Let's hope that the video
isn't doctored, Air India style.
bogusbobSat, Nov 3, 07 at 11:21 AM
about time someone stood up
to the Police
JasonSat, Nov 3, 07 at 02:42 PM
Pritchard is completely correct to have a lawyer
and be pressuring the RCMP. Justice requires
ConcernedCanadianSat, Nov 3, 07 at 02:46 PM
I pray this footage will
reveal the inapropiate behaviour of the police
officers involved. Our prayers are with Maria
Candace JamesSat, Nov 3, 07 at 03:36 PM
No doubt! Good for
Pritchard, but I won't be satisfied until he
actually gets the original, undoctored, tape
back. There are too many government bodies with
no accountability - we are rapidly losing our
freedoms, and more and more people are becoming
afraid to exercise them. The judicial system has
become very cumbersome and expensive, deterring
all but the rich with plenty of time / money from
pursuing their rights. Politicians cater to
whomever will keep them in power (regardless of
what is good for the country), and have become
criminals themselves with no regard for the law
(e.g., how much more criminal can you get than
driving drunk?). Instead of teaching our children
about freedom and the rights of the individual,
we are indoctrinating them with "computer
skills" as soon as they are toilet-trained
(if not before). People are afraid to stand out,
because they are afraid of the hammer that might
beat them down. If we don't shape up, we will
have no freedoms to boast to China about; we'll
be just like them.
Lorne Babcock SrSat, Nov 3, 07 at 05:06 PM
The police need to have
evidence in order to conduct their inquiries but
they also must realize that the people have
rights. The police, whether they realize it or
not, are there at the pleasure of the people. We
would be in a terrible situation if it were not
for the police but if they obtain unfettered
power our situation would be at least as bad if
not worse. This tape should be returned to its
owner while the police are probably within their
rights to retain a copy.
John Sat, Nov 3, 07 at 05:16 PM
I am myself immigrant from one of East European
countries from a dark time of communism. I still
remember how I was afraid of police in that
country in that time. They were above the law and
had power and means to do with anybody what they
want and best was just to be as far away from
them as possible. When I had arrived in Canada
years ago I had that optimism in myself that this
is a mature democratic system and police is a
friend of every citizen and is to protect them
and to serve. I've lost that optimism just
because of too many stories of corrupt police, of
dead bodies found after police interrogation,
because of brutal beatings of protesting
citizens, of powerful police unions dictating
even to their own superiors what is in their own
best interest not in best interest of citizens or
even this country. Police should not have unions
and not at least as powerful as they are here and
they should answer for their actions to justices
and to parliament. Without that police in this
country is more like an armed well organized and
state sponsored mafia looking only after their
own interest and interest of its members (anybody
knows that polce forces in Toronto are costing
this city 45% of total city budget expenses?).
Anytime there is an incident like this when
somebody is injured or dies because of police
action a civilian independent body should
investigate this and not another police
organization. Police investigating police is a
joke made of justice system in this country and I
thought was possible only in some dictatorial
banana republic but it is reality here and I do
not see this to be changed any time soon. Same
old rule applies here, be afraid and stay away
from them and this is probably what they want. I
am in awe of Mr. Pritchard's stand in defense of
truth and for rights of victims of police
brutality. Just because there are stil people
like you Mr. Pritchard there is hope for this
country. We need more people like you to stand
against police becoming a state within a state
and for police beeing really for to protect and
Candace JamesSun, Nov 4, 07 at 01:21 AM
John, your comment, "good or bad (i.e.,
cops' decisions) we need to support them," I
cannot agree with. If cops are making bad
decisions that result in the death of an innocent
person, I am NOT going to support them. Yes, cops
do have a tough job, but they chose their job, no
one forces them to do it, and a LOT of power
comes with it, not to mention the power of the
state that backs them up. Unless we want to
become a police state, we need to carefully
protect the rights of citizens, and ensure that
we aren't, for example, judged guilty because we
are acting out of the ordinary (and tasered and
killed). By the way, this probably would never
have happened if the location was not an airport.
Things have just gotten ridiculous (e.g., women
getting kicked off of airplanes because they
aren't dressed appropriately???!!! - what kind of
Big Brother control freak mentality is that?).
Meanwhile, a recent study shows that bomb
detection at airports in the USA is feeble (and,
no doubt, even worse in Canada). Our fanatical
push catch terrorists is diverting resources from
what really harms and kills people (e.g., drunk
drivers, like our illustrious premier). The cops
would gain a lot of respect if they would get rid
of gangs and drunk drivers, and not focus on
things which seem more glamorous (i.e., taking
down "terrorists"). As public servants,
their job is to serve and protect, not kill
innocent people. Yes, cops have a very tough job,
but I just wish they would have more of a
presence, for example, on the highways, where the
real "terrorism" kills people in the
most brutal, heartwrenching way imaginable.
Joe PublicSun, Nov 4, 07 at 12:00 PM
what did they do before (bear sprays) and (taser
guns)? It appears that since that use to contain
allegded suspects, it is causing people to go to
other extreamities, like mass killings, etc. like
has been occuring in BC lately. I urgently
recomend that the Tasers, and sprays be outlawed
at once. And let University brains discover
something more humaine. emsa
Candace JamesMon, Nov 5, 07 at 01:44 AM
An eyewitness's video recording of
a man dying after being stunned with a Taser by police on
Oct. 14 at Vancouver International Airport has been
released to the public.
Robert Dziekanski is jolted by a shot from an RCMP Taser.
The 10-minute video recording clearly shows four RCMP
officers talking to Robert Dziekanski while he is
standing with his back to a counter and with his arms
lowered by his sides, but his hands are not visible.
About 25 seconds after police enter the secure area where
he is, there is a loud crack that sounds like a Taser
shot, followed by Dziekanski screaming and convulsing as
he stumbles and falls to the floor.
Another loud crack can be heard as an officer appears to
fire one more Taser shot into Dziekanski.
As the officers kneel on top of Dziekanski and handcuff
him, he continues to scream and convulse on the floor.
One officer is heard to say, "Hit him again. Hit him
again," and there is another loud cracking sound.
Police have said only two Taser shots were fired, but a
witness said she heard up to four Taser shots.
Robert Dziekanski falls to the floor as an RCMP officer
A minute and half after the first Taser shot was fired
Dziekanski stops moaning and convulsing and becomes still
Shortly after, the officers appear to be checking his
condition and one officer is heard to say, "code
The video ends shortly after.
Minutes later, ambulance attendants arrived but their
efforts to revive Dziekanski were unsuccessful and he was
RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dale Carr said no one can judge what
happened to Dziekanski by just watching the video.
"It's just one piece of evidence, one person's view.
There are many people that we have spoken to," RCMP
spokesman Cpl. Dale Carr said at a press conference
"What I urge is that those watching the video, take
note of that. Put what they've seen aside for the time
being. And wait to hear the totality of the evidence at
the time of the inquest," Carr said.
But retired superintendent Ron Foyle, a 33-year veteran
of the Vancouver police who saw the video tape, said he
didn't know "why it ever became a police
"It didn't seem that he made any threatening
gestures towards them," Foyle said.
Much of the video was shot through the glass walls that
separate the international arrivals lounge from a secure
area outside the Canada Customs exit.
The video was recorded in three segments. The first
segment shows Dziekanski before police arrive.
Four RCMP officers subdue Robert Dziekanski after
stunning him with a Taser on Oct. 14 at Vancouver
He is clearly agitated, yelling in Polish, and appears to
be sweating. He can be seen taking office chairs and
putting them in front of the security doors. He then
picks up a small table, which he holds, while a woman in
the arrivals lounge calmly speaks to him in apparent
effort to calm him down.
4 officers arrive in lounge
In the second segment, Dziekanski picks up a computer and
throws it to the ground. Three airport personnel arrive
and block the exit from the secure area, but Dziekanski
retreats inside and does not threaten them.
Then four RCMP officers arrive in the lounge. Someone can
be heard mentioning the word Tasers.
Before police arrived, Robert Dziekanski picked up a
small table and put it in the doorway between the customs
exit area and a public lounge.
Someone replies, "Yes," as the officers
approach the security doors.
Police have said repeatedly that there were only three
RCMP officers involved in the incident, but the video
shows four men in RCMP uniforms.
People in the lounge can be heard clearly telling the
police Dziekanski speaks no English, only Russian. His
mother later said he only spoke Polish.
Police enter the secure area with no problems and can be
seen with Dziekanski standing calmly talking with
officers. They appear to direct him to stand against a
wall, which he does.
As he is standing there, one of the officers shoots him
with a Taser.
Paul Pritchard, right, accompanied by his lawyer, Paul
Pearson, at a recent press conference, said that he feels
police are trying to manipulate the truth.
RCMP officers have also said police did not use pepper
spray because of the large number of people at the
airport at the time. But the video shows Dziekanski
standing alone with the four officers in an otherwise
empty area, which is separated from the public area by a
thick glass wall.
Paul Pritchard shot the video with his digital camera,
but afterward he surrendered it to police for their
investigation on a promise that they would return it
within 48 hours.
Pritchard hired lawyer
The next day, police told Pritchard they would not be
returning the recording as promised.
Carr previously stated investigators kept the video
longer than they anticipated in order to protect the
integrity of the police investigation while they
Saying he feared a coverup by police, Pritchard then
engaged a lawyer to start legal proceedings to reclaim
the recording. Police returned the recording to him on
Dziekanski, 40, died on Oct. 14, hours after he arrived
at Vancouver International Airport. He was on his way to
Kamloops to live with his mother in the B.C. Interior.
The Polish immigrant arrived from Europe the previous day
around 4 p.m., but for some unknown reason he did not
clear customs until after midnight.
Robert Dziekanski with his mother Zofia Cisowski in
Poland, before she immigrated to Canada.
Dziekanski's mother had already returned home to Kamloops
after waiting for several hours at the airport. She
claims airport officials offered her no help locating her
The RCMP's integrated homicide investigation team, the
B.C. coroner's service, the Vancouver International
Airport Authority and the Commission for Public
Complaints Against the RCMP are each conducting their own
investigations into the incident.
|'I just felt
sick,' says witness to Taser case Paul Pritchard
says seeing victim's mom weep on television
prompted legal challenge
Eve Edmonds , Richmond News
Published: Friday, November 02, 2007
At first he was amused, then he was sickened, now
Paul Pritchard, 25, recorded police using a Taser
gun on Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at
Vancouver International Airport Oct. 14;
Dziekanski later died.
Immediately following the incident, police
interviewed Pritchard and asked if they could
have the memory card that contained the recording
from Pritchard's Sony digital video camera.
Pritchard gave it to them, under the condition it
be returned within 48 hours.
Three weeks later, the card still hasn't been
returned and Pritchard has been told he might not
get it back for another couple of years, when the
investigation is completed.
Police claim they don't want the recording to be
made public because it may taint the memories of
other witnesses -- a point Pritchard calls
"I don't know how it can influence
others," said Pritchard, who spoke to
reporters in Victoria yesterday. "It's
simply what happened."
Pritchard's lawyer, Paul Pearson, believes the
RCMP's argument is "disingenuous" at
"They certainly made their version of events
Pearson wonders why they would worry about
tainting witnesses when they issued a press
release describing in some detail what they claim
was the sequence of events.
Police are also refusing to release Dziekanski's
toxicology report, which showed that Dziekanski
was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol
at the time of the incident. The lawyer for
Dziekanski's mother made those findings public.
Pearson and his client are also determined to
make Pritchard's recording of the incident
public. They are scheduled in B.C. Supreme Court
in Victoria today (Friday) to make an application
to have the memory card returned.
"They have no legal right to hold on to it
because, at this point, there's no indication
that this is a criminal investigation,"
Perhaps what infuriates Pritchard most is the
sense of betrayal.
"At that time, (the officers) were really
nice, really professional, and I was trying to
co-operate and help out."
Pritchard stayed at the airport for four hours
after the incident to be interviewed and show the
Now Pritchard suspects he was lied to all along.
He notes an officer suggested making a copy of
the card. "I was ready to do that, then they
came back and said the technician wasn't there so
they would have to keep it until they got a copy
Pritchard now thinks they had no intention of
giving him back the recording.
An officer also told Pritchard that his was the
only recording made because the surveillance
cameras in the area are only for monitoring and
don't record, another point Pritchard finds
Police appear like they have something to hide,
said Pritchard. And, indeed, Pritchard's memory
of events doesn't mirror the details in police
For one, Dziekanski had been acting strangely for
a good hour before any security arrived to defuse
"Security was called numerous times. A
couple of people actually went off to try to find
security, nobody came."
I just felt sick,' says witness to Taser case
Paul Pritchard says seeing victim's mom weep on
television prompted legal challenge
Eve Edmonds , Richmond News
Published: Friday, November 02, 2007
Pritchard said at first, he and another man were
amused by Dziekanski's antics.
"We thought maybe he was drunk."
But the 40-year-old's behaviour got increasingly
bizarre. At one point, Dziekanski stacked his
suitcases in front of the glass doors between the
immigration area and the public lobby. A
chauffeur who was there to meet someone told
Dziekanski to get out of the way as a flight was
landing and people would be coming through soon.
An argument ensued. It was clear Dziekanski
didn't speak English.
Email to a friend
Font:****There was a phone nearby to call a
translator, but the phone didn't work," said
At some point, Pritchard remembered he had his
video camera in his luggage. He took it out and
Dziekanski's odd behaviour continued to escalate.
"He would pick up the computer, then put it
down, pick up a keyboard and put it down."
He then began banging on the glass windows and
yelling in a foreign language.
"We started to wonder, maybe he was getting
on a plane, not getting off one. So you've got
this guy with bags, acting weird, yelling in a
foreign language in an airport -- you don't know
what's going to happen."
Finally, two security guards and three officers
"As one of the officers ran past me, I heard
him say 'can I Taser' or 'should I Taser,'
something like that. I hope the recording picked
Within seconds, police surrounded Dziekanski, who
backed up behind a desk on the immigration side
of the glass wall, Pritchard said.
Policed yelled something, then shot him with the
Taser gun, said Pritchard.
"I heard pop, pop, pop, pop."
Dziekanski fell to the ground. There was still a
struggle on the ground as the officers tried to
handcuff him. Then Dziekanski went limp.
"I thought maybe that's just what happens
when people get Tasered."
Suddenly, one of the officers jumped up and
yelled, "code red" and ran off.
"That's when I felt sick." It took
another eight minutes, by Pritchard's reckoning
(others say 12), for paramedics to arrive.
"She (the paramedic) checked for vital signs
and immediately started doing CPR," said
When Pritchard was later asked by an officer if
he had any concerns about how the police handled
the situation, Pritchard said he couldn't
understand why the officers just stood there
waiting for the paramedics to arrive and didn't
perform CPR themselves.
As a lifeguard, Pritchard said even he could have
By the time Pritchard, who had just flown in from
China to YVR, arrived home in Victoria, he hadn't
slept in 52 hours.
"I put it out of my head for a while and
then I was watching the news and seeing his
mother crying and I just felt sick again and
realized I had to do something."
He told the police if he doesn't get the memory
card back, he would go to the media, and if that
doesn't work, he will take them to court.
"I don't really want to be doing this.
Taking the police to court doesn't exactly look
good on the resumé, but I can't just roll
"In China, I teach English and I talk to my
students about human rights. They have no human
rights over there, and I tell them about Canada
where we have rights -- and then this
It might be time to adjust the lesson plan, he
Police did not return calls to the News by press
Just another example of an RCMP execution
excerise. I wonder if the fuck up who zapped this
innocent civilian got a charge out of it.
There is no excuse for it, and I'm glad we got to
hear all of the excuses from the fat-ass RCMP
media mouths BEFORE the tape is released.
All these tests trying to find an escape hatch
and lay the cause of the death on the victim. I
can tell you what killed this guy - the trigger
happy RCMP who were obviously very excited about
finally - FINALLY being able to BLAST some
motherfucker who would DARE fuck with the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police!
Royal Canadian Mounted FUCK-UPS is more like it.
And let's never, ever forget the execution of Ian
Bush. Shot in the back of the head while in
custody. Self-defense and the murdering prick who
executed Ian is still in uniform handing out
tickets somewhere in Canada.
And when the rest of the RCMP don't speak out
they are complicit in the these murders.
In Canada, we are a police state. We need real
Mounties to protect us from the bad ones.
A special fuck you to the guy who killed this
poor, innocent, lost traveller. I hope you take a
couple right in the face someday you piece of
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