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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Braidwood Inquiry report into death of Robert Dziekanski to be released Friday

June 16, 2010
Ian Bailey, Globe and Mail

The long-awaited final Braidwood report will be released Friday, ending the work of a probe into the death of Robert Dziekanski in a widely broadcast 2007 confrontation with RCMP at Vancouver International Airport that raised enduring questions about the police use of tasers.

Confirmation of the release at 10 a.m. Friday came Wednesday in a statement from Mr. Braidwood’s office. Mike de Jong, the B.C. solicitor-general and attorney-general, says he plans to comment on the report soon after its release.

Friday’s final report, based on about 70 days of hearings before the retired BC Supreme Court justice, covers events leading to the death of the 40-year-old Mr. Dziekanski on Oct. 14, 2007.

An earlier report assessed the police use of tasers.

The Vancouver-based lawyer for the Polish government said he and his clients are looking forward to the release of the document.

“The Polish government remains very concerned about the incident, and I do not believe their concern has been, in the slightest bit, diminished especially after hearing the evidence tendered during the 70 days of hearings,” said Don Rosenbloom.

Four Mounties responding to a 911 call confronted Mr. Dziekanski at the airport after he began acting erratically. Mr. Dziekanski, 40, was agitated after being lost in the airport for 11 hours and spending 20 hours in transit from Poland to begin a new life in Canada with his mother, a resident of Kamloops who was waiting for him outside the airports arrival area.

Mr. Dziekanski was tasered five times by the police, who also tackled him. Mr. Dziekanski subsequently died of cardiac arrest. The incident was recorded on video by a bystander and broadcast around the world.

The Crown ruled out criminal charges against the four officers. Late last year, a three-member panel of the B.C. Court of Appeal rejected an appeal of a lower-court decision that Mr. Braidwood had jurisdiction to reach conclusions about allegations of misconduct, clearing him to draw such conclusions.

Mr. Dziekanski, 40, lost and disoriented at Vancouver International Airport after arriving from Poland to begin a new life in Canada with his mother, drew the attention of four RCMP officers responding to a 911 call prompted by his conduct.

The RCMP apologized to Zofia Cisowski, Mr. Dziekanski’s mother, and have funded a scholarship in her son’s name. They also agreed to an undisclosed out-of-court settlement.

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