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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Inquest to be held into death of man tasered by RCMP at Vancouver airport

October 24, 2007
The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - A coroner's inquest will be held into the death of a Polish immigrant after being Tasered by RCMP at Vancouver International Airport. Jeff Dolan, B.C.'s assistant deputy chief coroner, says inquests are automatic when in-custody deaths are involved but no date has yet been set for the inquest.

Dolan said officials of the B.C. Coroner's Service met Tuesday with Zofia Cisowski of Kamloops, B.C., the grieving mother of Robert Dziekanski who worked two jobs for seven years to save up money for son to join her in Canada. "The purpose of the meeting was to ensure that the family is aware of what the role of the coroner is, the fact that it's an independent, fact-finding investigation," he said. "And what they can expect as the investigation progresses (and) they ultimately go to inquest."

The 40-year-old man died Oct. 14 after being zapped by a Taser wielded by police officers trying to subdue him. A preliminary autopsy report showed there were no signs of trauma, disease or any other obvious cause of death, and officials are waiting for results of toxicology and other tests.

Cisowski said Monday that RCMP have not told her any details about her son's death. A spokesman said they have tried to contact her but have only been in touch with her lawyer. Dolan said representatives of the coroner's office had met with the mother in the past but Tuesday's meeting was "an opportunity for her to sit down with the coroner of jurisdiction."

They were unable to tell the woman how her son died but because "she is the legal next of kin, she will be provided with any information" the coroner's office receives, he said. RCMP said Dziekanski was acting aggressively and out of control when police arrived. They said he was yelling, throwing things, banging on the windows and sweating heavily. A witness said police used the Taser on the man four times but police said the weapon's log shows only two jolts were used.

Cisowski has been been getting support from members of the Polish community who driving her back and forth between Kamloops and Vancouver for the meetings.

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