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Monday, February 02, 2009

Dziekanski was confused, says Polish interpreter

February 2, 2009

More details emerged Monday about the final moments of Robert Dziekanski, as a Polish translator took to the stand at the public inquiry probing the tragic death.

Interpreter Kris Barski went through the now infamous witness video line by line and gave the inquiry a detailed report about what Dziekanski said. "I will smash the glass, and the glass here, and you will see," said Dziekanski, who was holding a small table in the video.

Moments later, Dziekanski was Tasered by police at Vancouver International Airport and later died.

From analyzing the tape, Barski said it was clear that Dziekanski was "confused and scared" as he wandered through the airport.

In another section of tape, recorded after Dziekanski landed in Vancouver in October of 2007, the confused traveller warns officials: "Leave me alone everybody. Just go away I said."

During pointed questioning Monday, Helen Roberts, the lawyer who is representing the government in the case, asked Barski if Dziekanski's words were angry. "You don't consider swearing and cursing and threatening to destroy property, anger?" she asked.

"No, not in this case," replied Barski, adding that Dziekanski was confused and scared and that his words were more consistent with fear.

"Leave me alone," shouted Dziekanski at officers and airport staff. "Are you stupid? Are you out of your mind?"

The lawyer for Kwesi Millington, the RCMP officer who fired the Taser at Dziekanski, said that it's clear that the situation was spiraling out of control. "Obviously there's something wrong here," said lawyer Ravi Hira. "That translation is juxtaposed with him throwing chairs ... throwing computers."

Walter Kosteckyj, the Dziekanski's family lawyer, said that the traveller was "trying to communicate" with officials, not aggravate the situation. "He was saying, 'have you lost your minds?' He obviously saw the Taser pulled, and I am speculating, but he thought it was a gun - I think the last moments of life he lived in absolute terror."

According to the interpreter, as police Tasered him, Dziekanski's final word was "why."

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