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Monday, May 25, 2009

Mounties call video analyst to support claim Dziekanski was aggressive

Grant Fredericks is the owner of Forensic Video Solutions and is a lead instructor to LEVA, which is sponsored by Taser International.

May 25, 2009
CBC News

The RCMP have called a surprise witness to defend their version of events at the Braidwood inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski.

Commissioner Thomas Braidwood is heading the public inquiry into the death of Dziekanski in October 2007 after he was shocked with an RCMP stun gun at Vancouver's airport.

On Monday, the inquiry will hear from Grant Fredericks, a forensic video analyst the RCMP have called in at the last minute to testify in support of claims that Dziekanski was violent when police arrived, and brought the first Taser jolt on himself by trying to attack them.

The four officers involved in the incident each told the inquiry they tried to calm the man, but he came at them with a stapler. They repeatedly stunned him on the ground because, they said, he was fighting back.

Much of that account was apparently contradicted by video recorded by an onlooker and made public, as well as by other witnesses at the hearings, who described a man more scared than violent.

But Fredericks will testify Monday that Dziekanski took three steps toward the Mounties in the moments before they incapacitated him with a Taser.

Fredericks's testimony comes following a series of medical experts who have called into question the Mounties' official theory of why Robert Dziekanski died.

Independent experts have suggested the Taser likely played a role in stopping Dziekanski's heart, adding to the man's stress and triggering a fatal heart arrhythmia.

Experts paid by the weapon's manufacturer, however, insist there's no way the weapon could have played any part in the man's death.

The police said he died of a bad heart because he was an alcoholic, but experts have argued that he died because of what the Mounties did to him — shocking him repeatedly with a Taser while they pinned him to the ground.

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