It’s time to put this sordid thing to bed. And the desired outcome isn’t just to sacrifice these four officers – but to ensure there’s deep structural changes in the RCMP. We’ve been down this road before.
Flashback: Judge: B.C. taser probe can rule on Mountie misconduct issue | Mounties want to bar Taser inquiry from finding misconduct | RCMP spokesman told to hold off correcting false details of Dziekanski incident, inquiry hears | RCMP supervising officer contradicts earlier testimony in Dziekanski inquiry | RCMP to face no charges in case of TASERed Polish immigrant: Report | Mountie involved in fatal crash was supervisor at time of airport Taser death | Perjury: Is it different for cops? | Mounties censor Taser report
Petti Fong, Toronto Star
June 19, 2009
Inquiry on hold after explosive email emerges
VANCOUVER — An email from the RCMP’s top officer in B.C. asserting that the four members involved in the Vancouver airport incident with Robert Dziekanski planned to use the Taser even before arriving at the scene has caused a halt to the inquiry into the death of the Polish immigrant.
Commission chair Thomas Braidwood called the disclosure of the email “appalling” and “highly relevant.”
He ordered this morning the public inquiry be shut down until September for more evidence to be presented.
Chief Superintendent Dick Bent of E Division wrote an email Nov. 5, 2007, three weeks after Dziekanski’s death, that said the four officers had discussed using the weapon while en route to the airport after the initial 911 call was reported.
Dziekanski, 40, was left wandering for hours by himself in the international arrivals wing of the Vancouver airport after he could not locate his mother. Ten hours after getting little help and assistance, he began picking up chairs in the lounge and throwing furniture on the ground. A 911 call to Richmond RCMP brought four officers to the airport and within 30 seconds of their arrival, Dziekanski was shot five times.
Commission counsel Art Vertlieb said the email was only received on June 16 and said the correspondence is significant because the four officers testified under oath that they had no discussions with each other and did not develop a plan of action.
“The email appears to tell you a significantly different story,” said Vertlieb and recommended the final submissions be delayed while the officers return to the stand to testify again before commission chair Thomas Braidwood.
Federal government lawyer Helen Roberts broke down in tears as she explained that the email was overlooked.
“I would like to apologize to you, the commission counsel and to sincerely apologize on behalf of the government of Canada,” said Roberts as she choked back tears.
Roberts said however that it appears that the email from the RCMP’s top officer was a misunderstanding.
“It’s entirely possible he misunderstood what was sent to him,” said Roberts.
The email was sent from the chief superintendent to deputy commissioner Al MacIntyre and given to the federal government lawyers in April but not found until earlier this week.
“The members did not articulate that they did not see the symptoms of excited delirium,” wrote Bent. “But had discussed the response en route that if he did not comply that they would go to CEW.”
All four officers insisted that no one discussed during the few minutes drive from the detachment to the airport what action to take after the 911 call of a distraught man in the international arrivals lounge.
Lawyers for the four officers said they had talked to their clients after learning of the email earlier this week and all the four members stand by their testimony
“Chief Superintendent Bent must be mistaken about the conversation that occurred,” said Ravi Hira, the lawyer representing Constable Kwesi Millington, the officer who fired the Taser. “What is happening here is that reputations are being damaged.”
Source | See Also under Tasers: UK Police watchdog to investigate Taser arrest, beating posted on YouTube | Judge: B.C. taser probe can rule on Mountie misconduct issue | New video shows officer shove, then taser 72-year-old great grandmother | Mounties want to bar Taser inquiry from finding misconduct | US: Ruling allowing Taser use to get DNA may be nation’s first | RCMP halts use of malfunctioning Tasers after B.C. decision | Taser inquiry into Dziekanski’s death hears last witness | Dziekanski’s death following Taser jolts no coincidence: expert | Dziekanski ‘would not have died’ if spared Taser, expert tells inquiry | TASER’s medical expert says weapon didn’t cause Dziekanski’s death | RCMP didn’t tell pathologist Dziekanski suffered multiple TASER stuns, inquiry hears | RCMP spokesman told to hold off correcting false details of Dziekanski incident, inquiry hears | RCMP ’sorry’ for errors in taser briefings | MPs grill top Mountie on tasers | RCMP shocked 16 people five times or more last year | RCMP still uses Tasers too often, watchdog finds | RCMP credibility battered by TASER inquiry | Quebec orders police to turn in Tasers | RCMP softened Taser-use restrictions | RCMP supervising officer contradicts earlier testimony in Dziekanski inquiry | Boys, 15, Tasered by police, stats show | Toronto police used Tasers 367 times in 2008: statistics | Stun gun shock to head may cause seizures, doctors warn | TASER launches new headcam for police – with ‘privacy mode’ | TASERed immigrant ‘had the stapler open… he was in a combative stance’ | Dziekanski’s ‘combative behaviour’ justified Taser jolt: Mountie | Witness alters story but maintains Dziekanski attempted to staple RCMP | Airport refused help from Polish-speaking employee before Taser death | Dziekanski didn’t wield stapler before RCMP fired Taser, inquiry hears | Selkirk teen sues RCMP over stun gun allegations | Ban stun gun use on young people, Ontario child advocate urges | Emergency call taken out of context: airport Taser death witness | RCMP destroyed evidence, charges dismissed in second torture case for officers | U.S. study raises more questions about TASER safety | Second phase of Taser inquiry begins in Vancouver | RCMP watchdog launches new Taser probe around deaths | Police forces withhold information on Taser use from public: audit | US police could get ‘pain beam’ weapons | No charges to be laid against RCMP officers in airport Taser death | RCMP to face no charges in case of TASERed Polish immigrant: Report | Taser International disputes CBC/Radio-Canada testing as ‘flawed’ | Red Deer man shot by Taser had pre-existing heart condition: doctor | Cops Taser Drowned Dad’s Distraught Son | Amnesty urges moratorium on Taser use after CBC/Radio-Canada probe | Some tested Tasers fire stronger current than company says: CBC/Radio-Canada probe | RCMP Investigates, Clears Self of Wrongdoing in Case of TASERed Inuvik Girl | US Cops Tase 54 Year Old Woman For Sitting In Wrong Seat At Football Game | Prison service ices TASER pilot project | B.C. man dies after Taser used during Calgary arrest | Mountie involved in fatal crash was supervisor at time of airport Taser death | Drug abuser executed by TASER blasts – TASER toll stands at 25 | Mountie arrested in fatal crash present at airport Taser death | Inquiry into Vancouver airport Taser death put off 2nd time | Tasers being used for pain compliance during interrogation, suit alleges | Family sues police claiming Taser raid on autistic son in own bedroom | Naked Langley, B.C., robbery suspect dies after Taser jolt | Tasering of mom with baby ‘necessary’ in order to take child, police say | Brampton man is 23rd Canadian TASER death; police duly investigate themselves | RCMP didn’t study Taser use enough: Report | Probe into tasering of teenaged girl reopened | Police Taser and abuse suspect, lie on stand, man still convicted | RCMP should end use of Tasers: Zaccardelli | Police delay report on Taser until 2009 | Mounties pinned me down in cell and tasered me, Manitoba girl says | 21st Canadian TASER death occurs in Winnipeg alleyway | RCMP e-mails throw Dziekanski Taser probe into question, critics say | Taser use could put police under fire | Inquiry says ‘insidious’ TASERs being used as tool of convenience, should be reclassified, restricted under criminal code | Man dies in custody after Taser incident involving Ontario police | Ban Tasers if RCMP doesn’t curb use by year’s end: Commons committee | One-third of people shot by Taser need medical attention: probe | RCMP firing Tasers multiple times at subjects, probe reveals | U.S. jury shocks Taser, investors, with rare loss in court | Youth Worker Subjected to Warrantless Raid on Secret Evidence | Tasering violated suspect’s rights, judge rules | RCMP willing to change Taser policy, inquiry told | Tasers pose risk to heart, MDs testify | ‘Peel and Stick’ Tasers Electrify Riot Control | Canadian police have been brainwashed, Taser inquiry told | Mounties censor Taser report | Taser group’s chair to defend stun guns at public inquiry | RCMP release heavily censored incident report about Dziekanski | Inquiry examining Taser use, Dziekanski’s death begins Monday | Chicago study calls Taser’s safety claims into question | Witness blames RCMP, Vancouver airport for death of Tasered man | Officer injured in Taser demonstration