Canada officers "acted according to training" in fatal TASER case
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Police whose efforts to subdue an unruly traveler with stun-gun shocks left the man dead acted properly at the time, one of the officers involved testified Tuesday.
The death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski - who was shocked by police five times at the Vancouver airport in 2007 - was widely seen around the world after a bystander filmed it.
"Given the fact that we came in without all that prior knowledge and had to deal with the situation with the limited information we had, I can't say I could have done anything differently," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Const. Gerry Rundel said in his second day of testimony at a public inquiry into the incident.
Rundel said he regretted the outcome but when the officers used a stun gun on Dziekanski - who spoke only Polish and apparently had become upset after waiting 10 hours for his mother - they acted according to their training.
Rundel said Monday in the inquiry's opening day that the combative stance by Dziekanski, who spoke only Polish, made him fear for his safety.
All four police officers were cleared of criminal charges in December, with a prosecutor saying their use of force was reasonable. None of the officers had spoken publicly about the death until this week.
The inquiry commissioner can make findings of misconduct against the officers and make recommendations to avoid similar deaths.
Intense criticism of the death helped lead Canada's federal police to announce this month they will no longer use stun guns against suspects who are merely resisting arrest. At least 20 Canadians have died after being shocked by a Taser.