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Monday, April 13, 2009

B.C. minister hints Mounties could face charges in Taser death

April 13, 2009
CBC News

British Columbia's attorney general suggested Monday that criminal charges could be laid against the four Mounties involved in the Taser-related death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski.

Last December, Crown prosecutors decided that RCMP Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson, Const. Kwesi Millington, Const. Bill Bentley and Const. Gerry Rundel wouldn't face criminal charges, although the final report from the Braidwood inquiry looking into Dziekanski's death could include findings of misconduct.

But in an interview, Wally Oppal told the CBC's Terry Milewski, "Well, nothing is final, Terry, particularly where we're getting more and more evidence being elicited on a daily basis. So it may well be, at the end of the day, the people in the Criminal Justice Branch could re-examine this."

Oppal made the comments before the inquiry has concluded. The Vancouver hearing, which resumes Tuesday, is looking into the death of Dziekanski, who was hit multiple times with a police stun gun and died on Oct. 14, 2007, at Vancouver International Airport.

Robert Dziekanski was jolted up to five times with a Taser by the RCMP at the international arrivals area of Vancouver International Airport. (Paul Pritchard)
Robinson was the officer in charge of a team of four when Dziekanski died. At the inquiry last month, he admitted after viewing a tape of the incident that his police statement was wrong.

His three fellow officers testified earlier at the inquiry that Dziekanski was throwing things, yelling and had to be stunned twice with a Taser before being "wrestled" to the ground. Those three testified that Dziekanski, who had been at the airport for nearly 10 hours and didn't speak English, resisted and ignored police commands.

The officers' recollections conflict with what appears on video shot by eyewitness Paul Pritchard.

"The fact that a lot of this evidence is now being tested in a different light may result in something different happening," Oppal said.

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