Perjury in Dziekanski Tasering Begins Monday

In October 2007 Robert Dziekanski was stuck in a Vancouver airport for 10 hours. An immigrant from Poland, Dziekanski did not speak English and started to get agitated, even throwing furniture.

The police used a taser on Dziekanski within seconds of their arrival, resulting in his death. The incident was captured on video by others in the airport, and raised questions nationwide over the use of police force. This lead to the Braidwood Inquiry, which concluded that tasers can cause death in people with heart irregularities.

The officers claimed that Dziekanski had acted violently, requiring the use of the taser. They stated he was swinging a stapler in an attempt to hit them, and came at the police screaming.

But the video of the incident demonstrated an entirely different type of confrontation, with Dziekanski being provided minimal time to respond to police instruction at all. An e-mail discovered in 2011 also suggested that the officers had planned to taser Dziekanski before even arriving on the scene.

Charges for perjury were laid in 2011. A media statement by the Criminal Justice Branch on May 12, 2011 said,

After a comprehensive review of the officers’ testimony, and taking into account all of the other independent evidence, he concluded that there is sufficient evidence to support a charge of perjury
against each of the Four Officers.

The perjury trial for the first officer begins tomorrow, with the other officers facing separate trials some time next year.

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