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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Poles seek mysterious OPP report into fatal Tasering

Apr 15, 2009
Petti Fong
Toronto Star

VANCOUVER – The Polish government is calling for the release of a mysterious report prepared by the Ontario Provincial Police into the RCMP's conduct in the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski.

Don Rosenbloom, the lawyer representing the Republic of Poland at a public inquiry, said he didn't learn about the report's existence until this past weekend.

Dziekanski died Oct. 14, 2007, after an RCMP officer jolted him several times with a Taser during a confrontation with four Mounties at the Vancouver airport. The inquiry into the Polish man's death began on Jan. 19.

Rosenbloom said he doesn't know if the OPP report is a review of the investigation conducted by the RCMP or a separate report into the incident. He first learned about the existence of the OPP's involvement after looking at transcripts and seeing a senior RCMP officer in B.C. mention that the outside police force was involved.

"I don't know what it is until we all see it and it can be presented to us," said Rosenbloom.

The Delta municipal police force, a suburban unit not related to the RCMP, was brought in to prepare a report on the Taser weapon used and the Vancouver police was also consulted for a report on use of force. But the RCMP has never released the OPP report.

"Here's another report that has been sought after by the RCMP by a third party and we haven't seen it," said Rosenbloom. It's the first time the involvement of the OPP has been raised at the inquiry.

The Polish man died after a 911 call was made by bystanders at the Vancouver International Airport complaining that a distraught man unable to speak English was throwing furniture and computers around at the international arrivals lounge. Four RCMP officers arrived at the scene and within 30 seconds, Dziekanski was shot with a Taser gun. He fell to the ground and was hit with four more shots.

Commission chair Thomas Braidwood, a retired judge, did not make a decision yesterday on whether the report from the OPP can be released.

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