Canada police slammed over fatal Taser case

Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:51pm EDT
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - "Shameful conduct" by Canadian police officers led to the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski in a stun gun incident at Vancouver's airport that drew world attention, an inquiry said on Friday.

The officers acted as if they were responding to a "barroom brawl" and were too aggressive when it was clear they were only dealing with a man who was distraught and confused on arriving in a new homeland, the inquiry said.

"This case is, at its heart, the story of shameful conduct by a few officers," inquiry head Thomas Braidwood wrote in his report, which also accuses the officers of making misleading statements to justify their actions.

"Mister Dziekanski in no way brought this upon himself," Braidwood, a retired provincial judge, told reporters in Vancouver. "He was not aggressive in any manner."

The Polish government, which participated in the provincial inquiry, asked Canadian prosecutors on Friday to reconsider their earlier decision not to file criminal charges against the four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers.

British Columbia later said that a special prosecutor would be named to review the matter, and RCMP Commissioner William Elliot said the police force acknowledged "its handling of the incident failed at many levels."

Poland also asked Canada to co-operate with a inquiry by Polish prosecutors.

Braidwood said he was not criticizing the RCMP as a whole, but his report comes a day after the iconic police force was sharply criticized by another inquiry over its handling of the 1985 Air India bombing case.   Continued...