Montreal Community Magazine: 2 SOLITUDES : Revue de la Communauté de Montréal -
Tasered to Death by the RCMP! - The Story of Robert Dziekanski
Bobby Zimalis
"Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper."
~ George Orwell
by/par Bobby Zimalis
Published/Publié 11/15/2007
On Oct 14, Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant flying on a plane for the very first time in his life, landed at Vancouver International Airport. Roughly 10 hours later, he lay dead on the floor of the airport lounge.

Welcome to Canada Mr Dziekanski!
On Oct 14, Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant flying on a plane for the very first time in his life, landed at Vancouver International Airport.

Roughly 10 hours later, he lay dead on the floor of the airport lounge.

What happened during that fateful 10 hour period?

Initial reports would reveal that Mr. Dziekanski had died of massive heart failure after being tasered and then restrained by the RCMP who were called in to investigate a disturbance at the airport.

Witnesses on the scene claimed that the RCMP had over-reacted to the threat posed by Mr. Dziekanski and that tasering him was not really necessary.

Paul Pritchard, waiting for his bus back to Vancouver was also in that airport lounge that day and after viewing this agitated, disconsolate, confused man yelling in a foreign language and throwing furniture around, decided to turn his camera to video mode and begin to record.

Through the plane-glasss window that separated the international arrivals lounge from the secure area outside the Canada Customs exit, Pritchard's camera captured the entire event.

The camera and the 10 minute video file was later confiscated by the RCMP with a promise that it would be returned back to Pritchard within 48 hours.

When he was informed by the RCMP the next day that he would not be getting his camera back, Pritchard had a sneaking suspicion that something was up.

He hired a lawyer.

The lawyer informed the media and the RCMP quickly responded with a confirmation that Mr. Pritchard would receive his camera back (video intact) within a couple of weeks.

The video was finally released yesterday.

What the Video Shows

The video sadly depicts the last few minutes of a frightnened man in an obviously confused, tired, agitated and foreign state. He can be seen and heard yelling for 'Help!' in Polish, pacing back and forth, sweating profusely, re-arranging and throwing furniture around...

A woman tries to talk to him and console him but the language barrier seems too wide...

The video also shows that only 45 seconds had elapsed from the moment that the RCMP officers entered the scene and Mr. Dziekanski lay unconscious on the floor. They simply walked up to him, exchanged a couple of words (even though they had been warned that the man spoke 'NO ENGLISH') and then began to taser him. After the second taser shot, Mr. Dziekanski can be seen collapsing to the floor and writhing in agony when 4 RCMP officers jump on top of Mr. Dziekanski's body to try to cuff him. One officer can be seen resting his knee on the back of Mr. Dziekanski's head, pinning it to the ground.

The video clearly shows that NO alternative measures to constrain Mr. Dziekanski were taken or even considered by the RCMP officers that responded to the scene.

Most sad of all, the video shows that after Mr. Dziekanski lay unconscious on the floor, no members of the RCMP tried to revive him. They simply called out a "code red" and then waited for the ambulance to arrive...

Full 10 minute video:

What the Video Doesn't Show

Robert Dziekanski, 41, was emigrating to Canada to join his mother Zofia in the B.C. Interior city of Kamloops.

She had decided to book him a ticket from Frankfurt to Vancouver cause their bus ride back to Kamploops would allow her a chance to show him how beautiful Canada was.

He had given up smoking the day before the flight, was scared to death of the prospect of boarding a plane for the very first time but was eager and excited to begin his new life in Canada.

At about 4 p.m. that afternoon, Air Condor Flight 6070 from Frankfurt landed at the Vancouver International Airport - 2 hours late but with Dziekanski on board.

Zofia had told her son (who didn't speak a word of English) to wait for her at the baggage terminal unaware that after 9/11 that area of the airport was now restricted from the public.

She spent nine hours at the airport on that Sunday waiting for her son to arrive, scared that something terrible had happened.

She tried soliciting help from the airport staff but their efforts couldn't help her locate her son.

Only 100 meters away, hidden from view and not connected to the public announce system that twice called out his name, was the area that Robert Dziekanski was anxiously waiting for his mother, himself growing ever restless and feeling completely helpless in his new found country.

After a final plea at the information desk Zofia was told that her son wasn't in the airport!

Reluctantly, around 10:30 that Sunday night, she decided to start the drive back to Kamploops without him.

A few hours later she received a call to head back to the airport. No mention of the condition of her son but just to get back to the airport.

Upon arrival she was told that her son was dead....


Robert Dziekanski is the 18th person to die in Canada from the direct result of being tasered in the last 4 years!