Canada police apologize for Polish immigrant's death

Thu Apr 1, 2010 4:53pm EDT
 
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By Allan Dowd

RICHMOND, British Columbia (Reuters) - The Royal Canadian Mounted Police apologized on Thursday for the death of a Polish man in a stun-gun incident that drew world attention and shook public confidence in the iconic police force.

The apology came as part of an out-of-court settlement with the mother of Robert Dziekanski, who died in an October 2007 confrontation at Vancouver International Airport hours after he had arrived in Canada as a new immigrant.

"Your son arrived from Poland eager to begin a new life here in Canada. We are deeply sorry he did not have that opportunity," RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass told Zofia Cisowski, who sat beside him at a news conference.

Financial terms of the settlement were not released.

Cisowski, who wiped away tears, said she still mourns her son but it was time to move on with her life. She said she was pleased the Mounties were reexamining their policies on using the weapons, which disable a target with an electric jolt.

"We will have to make sure that what happened to my son, Robert, will not be repeated," she told reporters in a soft voice that was at times difficult to hear over aircraft taking off at the nearby Vancouver airport.

Dziekanski died shortly after he was repeatedly shocked with a Taser stun gun and subdued by RCMP officers who had responded to reports of a disruptive man at the airport. The exact cause of death has never been determined.

A bystander's video of Dziekanski screaming on the floor as he died was broadcast around the world, drawing public outrage and contradicting initial police statements that they shot him after having had to wrestle him to the ground.   Continued...

 
<p>Zophia Cisowski (R) listens as Royal Canadian Mounted Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass apologizes for the death of her son Robert Dziekanski in Richmond, British Columbia, April 1, 2010. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>