Officers involved in Taser death to face perjury charges
Perjury charges against four RCMP officers involved in the death of Robert Dziekanski are “very, very significant,” said Walter Kosteckyj.
The lawyer who has represented Dziekanski’s mother, Zofia Cisowski, since the death in 2007 of the Polish immigrant said, however, the knowledge is also “bittersweet.”
“For these four to be charged with perjury is a huge comedown for police generally and particularly for the RCMP,” Kosteckyj said, “but Zofia has always felt they should be charged as a result of the original incident.”
The two were advised some time ago perjury charges would be laid, so the news on Friday, May 6 — acknowledged by the government after it was leaked to the media — came as no surprise.
The charges relate to testimony the officers made at the public hearing into the death of Dziekanski, who was tasered at Vancouver International Airport in October 2007 by officers called to the scene after the distraught man was unable to get assistance from border officials or airport staff and, after hours of not knowing how to leave the secure area, began throwing furniture.
Kosteckyj said Cisowski remains unhappy that at least three of the four officers — constables Kwesi Millington, Gerry Rundel and Bill Bentley and Corp. Benjamin Robinson — involved have continued to be paid by the force.
Two of the constables have been relocated to Toronto and Milton, Ont., while the third works in Nanaimo.
Robinson has been on suspension because he faces charges in a fatal car crash.
Kosteckyj said his client is “satisfied she knows they’re facing some level of responsibility,” but is “resigned to the fact they won’t be facing charges on the original incident.”
Cisowski remains angry the RCMP did not accept responsibility in the death of her only child until after the inquiry, headed by retired justice Thomas Braidwood, issued a scathing denunciation of how police handled the situation at the airport.
And, while she’s glad charges will be laid, Kosteckyj said this move has “churned up everything again for Zofia.
“It’s a difficult emotional time for her.”