Fri, Nov 16, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Video shows Canadian police killing man with Taser


A video released on Wednesday shows the dramatic last moments of a Polish immigrant who died after police shocked him with a Taser and restrained him at Vancouver's airport last month.

Robert Dziekanski, 40, of Pieszyce, Poland, was shocked and restrained by police on Oct. 14 after going on a rampage out of frustration for waiting 10 hours for his mother. He spoke no English and died minutes later while being attended by a medical team.

The incident is under investigation by local police, by Canada's national police complaints commission and by an independent coroner's service. The Polish embassy has filed a formal diplomatic note asking Canada for full disclosure of the incident.

Walter Kosteckyj, the victim's family lawyer, said he was disturbed by the footage because Dziekanski was not violent. "I was expecting to see a confrontation" with police, he said.

The video of Dziekanski's death was released to the media by Paul Pritchard, a Canadian traveler who was at the airport at the time of the incident.

Police had originally taken the recording from Pritchard promising to give it back, but then refused to return it until after Pritchard filed a lawsuit in court.

In the video Dziekanski appears frightened, sweating and exhausted, and speaks to himself in Polish. Looking agitated, he paces back and forth through an automatic door, which he jams open with chairs and a table.

At one point, he takes a computer off a counter and throws it to the ground as airport security guards stand close by.

"He's speaking Russian ... we need a Russian interpreter," one guard is heard saying in the video.

Four policemen then walk into view. One says, "How are you sir," as they all surround Dziekanski, who appears to turn his back on them, trying to move away.

At that point, a policeman hits Dziekanski with a Taser, making him scream. The immigrant falls, then writhes on the ground with his knees pulled to his chest as all four police officers pin him down.

Seconds later, Dziekanski is seen lying still.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association said that it has filed two formal complaints against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police "for misrepresenting the facts of Robert Dziekanski's death and unreasonably seizing and actively suppressing a video recording of the incident."

Dziekanski, a construction worker who wanted to emigrate to Canada to join his mother lives, boarded a plane for the first time in his life in Frankfurt, Germany, Kosteckyj said.

Because of a mixup, he waited for 10 hours for his mother in a secure area of the airport, while she waited on the other side of a wall in the public area, the family lawyer said.

No airport, customs or security employees at the airport apparently tried to help either of them, he added.

Eventually Dziekanski found his way into the public area, but his mother had already left and Dziekanski apparently panicked, the lawyer said.

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