September 24, 2009
By Suzanne Fournier, Vancouver Province
VANCOUVER — The four RCMP officers who Tasered and restrained Robert Dziekanski kept working together for weeks after the Polish immigrant died in their custody at the Vancouver International Airport.
Yet the four officers previously told the inquiry probing his October 2007 death that they never had the opportunity to discuss the case, either at work, at a debriefing session or in phone calls or e-mails.
But on its 61st and final day of hearings, the Braidwood inquiry into Dziekanski's death heard Wednesday from RCMP Sgt. Doug Wright — the immediate supervisor of the four Mounties involved in the Tasering — that the four kept working together "for two or three weeks."
Then, Wright admitted, three of the four were sent on a training course together in Chilliwack, B.C.
Outside the courtroom, Polish government lawyer Don Rosenbloom called Wright's evidence "just beyond belief."
Walter Kosteckyj, lawyer for Dziekanski's mother, Zofia Cisowski, agreed. "You've got four people that work together, they go through what is obviously a traumatic experience, and then they continue to work together for three weeks — and then three of them get sent to do a training course together. What would common sense dictate? Of course they would discuss this incident."
Wright, who was first told of the Tasering and Dziekanski's death by Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson at 2 a.m. on Oct. 14, 2007, also said that he warned Robinson to take "excellent" notes as the death would be investigated by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.
Wright — whose own extensive notes, released by the inquiry Wednesday, show that he discussed the incident with all cops on his team — admitted Robinson's notes fell far short of excellence. He denied he gave the four officers ample opportunity to corroborate their version of events.
Wright also noted that a police officer involved "in a major incident, any notes he writes at the time may be subject to production or search warrants to address what he did at the time."
Thomas Braidwood, the retired judge in charge of the inquiry, demanded Wright describe Robinson's notes: "Were they excellent?"
Wright replied: "No sir, they were very short. The officers have a duty to report . . . I would have expected there would have been more notes."
Outside the courtroom, Kosteckyj and Rosenbloom said that the four Mounties were never investigated as persons of interest in a homicide.
None of them was ever given a police caution or read his charter rights, the inquiry was told.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Thursday, September 24, 2009
September 24, 2009