Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tale of a Taser Tragedy

Zofia Cisowski had been looking forward to this day for a long time. It was the day that her only son, Robert Dziekanski, was going to arrive in the country and share in the Canadian dream.

Cisowski had immigrated to Canada from Poland nearly a decade ago. She had eventually settled in Kamloops and was patiently tucking money away for the arrival of her only child. Seven years later, her son would finally be joining her. He was a 40 year-old carpenter with a soft spot for geography. Sadly, his first day in Canada would also be his last.

On October 14th, Dziekanski arrived at the Vancouver International Airport. His flight had been two hours delayed, but his first plane ride had touched down safely. Unfortunately, things were about to get much more complicated for Mr. Dziekanski.

Since he had never flown before, Dziekanski was not familiar with airport protocol. He didn't speak any English and there was no translator in sight. Dziekanski had helplessly wandered around the secured customs area unable to find his mother for nine hours. Nine whole hours had went by without airport staff assisting or even approaching this lost man.

Meanwhile, his mother was only 100 metres away waiting for him in the New Arrivals. Cisowski had become concerned when several hours had elapsed without any sign of Robert. Even though she had repeatedly pleaded with the customer service reps to help her locate her son, Cisowski was reassured that airport security would eventually find the lost man and lead him to his mother. Nine hours later, the tearful mother had jumped on a bus back to Kamloops after Immigration Services had wrongfully informed her that her son had never arrived.

But Dziekanski had arrived and the hunger, jet lag, and frustrastion were finally bringing him to his breaking point. He had become angry and irrational. He was screaming and throwing around airport property. Airport security had been called, while the RCMP had arrived shortly after.

The 4 officers had approached Dziekanski and tried to calm him down. Apparently, those 4 officers felt physically threatened by this irrational and disoriented screaming Polish man. This may explain why after only 25 seconds, this potentially "dangerous" man was tasered, not once, not twice, but four separate times. Not shockingly, this 50,000 volts of pure electricity had sent Dziekanski into cardiac arrest. Instead of trying to revive the man, those 4 officers had continued to physically subdue him.
Dziekanski had died on that airport floor shortly after.
Afterwards, I'm sure those RCMP officers were kicking themselves when they realized that an eyewitness had captured the whole tragedy on his camera phone.
You can learn more here


Divinyl said...

Blimey! This reminds me of Jean Charles De Menezes, who was shot at Stockwell tube station in London for 'looking' like a terrorist...the guy was Brazilian!

The world has gone totaly crazy hasn't it?

Don Thieme said...

How tragic! This could have and probably has happened in the United States as well. Tasers are dangerous weapons and seem to always wind up in the hands of the least experienced and most trigger happy police officers.

Bryan said...

Sad story.

Kawidawn said...

As Don says Tasers are dangerous weapons. This is a very sad story. How could this man be able to wander around without being approached earlier especially as his mother had informed the authorities that he should have arrived. I saw on Sky News this morning that the Airport authorities are claiming they only Tasered him twice!!

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

I know, it truly was a PREVENTABLE death...

karloff said...

This is just such a sad story. I know some places are now re-thinking their taser usage, but, er, certain people seem to think these things are just a safe way to put down anyone being a hassle, and that's ridiculous.

Anyhow, thanks for the link, great work you've done here.

black_mamba said...

how depressing. the same people who are meant to protect end up as oppressors. where is the world coming to???

black_mamba said...

ooops, forgot to mention.....

thanks for all the visits and comments :) as a token of my appreciation, I've added you to my blogroll. thanks again :)

Anonymous said...

I cannot watch the footage anymore
it's all too horrible...the world has gone nuts...I'm so very sorry for his Mom..


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