November 1, 2007
SUNNY DHILLON, Globe and Mail
If the RCMP have nothing to hide, then they must allow Ms. Cisowski, and indeed the public, to see the video footage of their altercation with Mr. Dziekanski. From what I understand, Ms. Cisowski's lawyer is a former RCMP officer himself and he has described the contents of the video as a perfect example of what police officers shouldn't do when handling a man in distress. And he says the time has come for police to release the footage.
VANCOUVER — The mother of a Polish man who was tasered and died at Vancouver International Airport last month is uncertain why the RCMP won't release a video that could help explain what happened that night. Zosia Cisowski is simply looking for answers in Robert Dziekanski's death. "I don't understand why they don't want to give [the video]," said Ms. Cisowski.
The video was shot by Paul Pritchard. Mr. Pritchard says police told him they would return it to him within 48 hours, but that did not happen and he is now suing the RCMP to get it back.
According to court documents, Mr. Pritchard videotaped high-quality footage of "Mr. Dziekanski before the arrival of police, during Mr. Dziekanski's interaction with police, and after Mr. Dziekanski was apparently unconscious or deceased on the ground."
Walter Kosteckyj, Ms. Cisowski's lawyer, has seen the tape and would like for his client to view it. "I would like [Ms. Cisowski] to be able to see it," said Mr. Kosteckyj, adding that he hoped she could do so before it is publicly released.
Mr. Kosteckyj, who has described the contents of the video as a perfect example of what police officers shouldn't do when handling a man in distress, believes the time has come for police to release the footage. "I think it was appropriate for them to seize the tape and make sure it wasn't viewed before they interviewed witnesses," said Mr. Kosteckyj. "But I believe that most people that were at the scene were already interviewed. I'm fairly convinced that they've interviewed everyone who saw what occurred."
In a prepared statement, Corporal Dale Carr said, "This video evidence is vital to the investigation and its release to the public at this time could clearly compromise the investigators' goal of conducting a fair and unbiased investigation" because it could influence witnesses if they see it before making a statement.