RCMP apology accepted in Dziekanski affair

April 05, 2010
VANCOUVER-The RCMP is giving a $20,000 scholarship in Robert Dziekanski’s name and an undisclosed settlement to the Polish man’s mother in hopes of restoring public confidence in the troubled force two and a half years after officers Tasered the unarmed immigrant.

VANCOUVER-The RCMP is giving a $20,000 scholarship in Robert Dziekanski’s name and an undisclosed settlement to the Polish man’s mother in hopes of restoring public confidence in the troubled force two and a half years after officers Tasered the unarmed immigrant.

Zofia Cisowski, Dziekanski’s mother, said at a press conference today that she accepts the RCMP’s apology for its role in her son’s death.

"I have to look forward," said Cisowski. "I’m not angry now that it’s over and I feel much better today."

On Oct. 14, 2007, Dziekanski, coming off a flight from Poland, was left at the Vancouver International Airport for nearly 10 hours without any assistance. His mother, who had travelled from Kamloops to pick him up, couldn’t find him after hours of searching and asking for help and returned home. Around midnight, Dziekanski began tossing furniture in the international arrivals lounge and the RCMP was called.

Within 30 seconds of four RCMP officers arriving, Dziekanski was shot five times with a Taser gun. He died within minutes of a cardiac arrest.

Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass said the RCMP hopes to begin the healing process for the force.

"I want to apologize for our role in the tragic death of your son," Bass said to Cisowski as she wiped tears from her eyes. "Your son arrived from Poland eager to begin a new life and we’re deeply sorry he didn’t have that opportunity."

The RCMP Commissioner William Elliott has apologized before to Dziekanski’s mother but Cisowski said the apology today from the head of the force in B.C. was more personal and more meaningful.

A lengthy public inquiry was held in which the four RCMP officers testified that they believed their lives were threatened by Dziekanski.

That report will be made public later this spring.

(Toronto Star)

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