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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

RCMP actions 'gratuitous, 'violent,' lawyer tells inquiry

October 6, 2009
CBC News

Final arguments began Monday at the public inquiry in Vancouver into the death of a man who was stunned several times by an RCMP Taser at the Vancouver airport almost two years ago.

The inquiry, led by retired justice Thomas Braidwood, is examining how Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski succumbed after being shot with an electronic stun gun five times by RCMP officers and left handcuffed face down on the floor of the arrivals lounge of the airport.

In his final submission to the inquiry Monday, the lawyer for Dziekanski's mother, Walter Kosteckyj, said the police failed to take the time to do their job properly. He said it took the RCMP officers less than 30 seconds after first meeting Dziekanski before they fired the Taser at him.

"The tasering of Mr. Dziekanski, at its best, would be characterized as premature, hurried and panicked response. And at the worst was a premeditated and planned attack," Kosteckyj said.

It was clear that Dziekanski went down, writhing in pain, after being hit by the stun gun just once. Using the weapon on the man repeatedly after that initial shot was stepping over the line, Kosteckyj said.

"The third, fourth and fifth deployments were gratuitous, unnecessary and were violent," the lawyer said.

Kostekyj also told the inquiry the RCMP in B.C. should be replaced with a provincial police force.

He said the RCMP already act as the provincial police force in B.C., but doesn't want to be held accountable to the provincial legislature.

The RCMP officers involved in Dziekanski's death, Const. Bill Bentley, Const. Gerry Rundel, Const. Kwesi Millington and Cpl. Benjamin Robinson, have already claimed the provincial inquiry has no jurisdiction over them, and Kosteckyj expects the federal government will make the same argument in its final submissions.

Final statements were expected to continue through Thursday.

The final report by commissioner Thomas Braidwood is expected early next year.

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