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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Guard tried to block filming

February 17, 2009
Suzanne Fournier, The Province

A security guard involved with Robert Dziekanski the night he died at Vancouver International Airport after being Tasered by police was overcome with emotion yesterday as he recalled the events.

Fabian D'Sa, a Securiguard employee the night of Oct. 14, 2007, watched video shown at the Braidwood Inquiry into Dziekanski's death.

D'Sa can be seen on the video trying to block the filming of Dziekanski's final agony by bystander Paul Pritchard.

Closing his eyes and taking lengthy pauses before answering some questions, D'Sa testified that he moved to block Pritchard shooting a video "to have some privacy . . . Mr. Robert's [Dziekanski's] privacy." D'Sa said that he had been told to block the videocamera "by my supervisor Mr. [Trevor] Enchelmaier." Enchelmaier, however, not only denied he told D'Sa to block the filming, he testified he didn't know at the time about the videocamera or that Dziekanski had been Tasered, although he helped the RCMP restrain the man.

Lawyer Walter Kosteckyj, who represents Dziekanski's mother, Zofia Cisowski, said to D'Sa: "I can tell that you're very troubled by seeing this video," as an emotional D'Sa nodded.

"When you were standing in front of him, giving him privacy, that was the last time you saw him move?" asked Kosteckyj.

D'Sa replied: "Correct." As he left the courtroom, D'Sa's eyes were full of tears and he took several minutes to gather himself before entering the media interview room.

"If it was you, I would have done the same thing, give you some privacy . . . you don't want to see yourself a couple of months later on YouTube," said D'Sa.

Outside the inquiry, Kosteckyj remarked: "I believe he [D'Sa] saw himself witnessing somebody dying, and that's the effect it had on him. Previous witnesses have concluded Mr. Dziekanski had very likely died at that point." Enchelmaier said he helped restrain Dziekanski's legs, which were thrashing and hitting the ground as he lay face-down, and then after the man went still, heard an RCMP officer say, "He's out." That was about 1:32 a.m.

Enchelmaier testified that he checked Dziekanski's carotid pulse and breathing three times and that, although the man was "unconscious," he had at first "a fast, strong pulse" and then "a slower pulse," but was still breathing.

On the video, Enchelmaier can be seen checking Dziekanski once, then abruptly standing and moving away.

Enchelmaier said he helped RCMP Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson take the pulse because the police all wore gloves.

"You're not going to go about feeling for a pulse very well with leather gloves on," said Enchelmaier.

But, by 1:42 a.m., according to the first responders at the scene, Dziekanski had no pulse and no one was checking him.

The first Securiguard witness yesterday, Sidharth Arora, had little recall of that night, although he remembered that Dziekanski picked up a stapler.

Kosteckyj noted outside the inquiry that investigators didn't isolate witnesses from each other or treat the airport as a crime scene, so witnesses may have heard the RCMP claim Dziekanski wielded a stapler as a weapon.

"There was clearly an attempt to block filming of the video," said Kosteckyj. "Witnesses may claim Mr. Dziekanski used the stapler as a weapon, but we just know from the video what's true and what isn't."

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