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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

RCMP brass give clashing testimony at inquiry into Tasering

September 23, 2009
Petti Fong, Western Canada Bureau Chief
Toronto Star

VANCOUVER–A senior RCMP officer disputed his supervisor's testimony at an inquiry probing the death of Robert Dziekanski, saying he never told him the officers involved in the incident discussed using a Taser on the Polish immigrant beforehand.

The inquiry was halted in June when an email emerged from Chief Supt. Dick Bent indicating the four officers talked about using the Taser even before they arrived at Vancouver International Airport, where the fatal confrontation occurred on Oct. 14, 2007.

Bent stood by the email in testimony yesterday, but Supt. Wayne Rideout, named in the email as the source of the information, flatly denied having made the statements to his superior.

The four officers involved in the incident have testified none of them discussed a plan of action as they left the lunchroom to head to Vancouver's airport.

"Finally spoke to Wayne and he indicated that the members did not articulate that they saw the symptoms of excited delirium," Bent wrote in the email to assistant commissioner Al MacIntyre after talking to Rideout, who was in charge of the probe into the officers' actions.

"[I]nstead had discussed the response en route and decided that if he did not comply that they would go to CEW" – shorthand for a conducted energy weapon, or Taser.

Dziekanski, who spent more than 10 hours lost at the Vancouver airport, was hit five times with a Taser by RCMP responding to a 911 call. The inquiry was scheduled to wrap up in June when Bent's email appeared. An adjournment was called over the summer to investigate. It resumed sitting yesterday.

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