Video Raises Questions About Taser Death

Royal Canadian Mounted Police tackle Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski after Tasering him at the Vancouver airport, Oct. 14, 2007. CBC/CBS

A video of a Polish immigrant being jolted with a police Taser at the Vancouver airport shows the man screaming and writhing in pain on the floor shortly before he dies.

The video, taken by another traveler on Oct. 14, shows four Royal Canadian Mounted Police converging on Robert Dziekanski, who could not speak English and who had languished in the airport arrivals area for 10 hours after his flight arrived last month.

"He's holding a folding table at the door to the arrivals area of Vancouver airport. He's exhausted, confused, and breathing heavily," reports Terry Milewski of the CBC.

After arriving from Poland on his first-ever plane ride, Dziekanski had been waiting 10 hours for his mother, who told him to wait in the baggage area. But she couldn't go in there, couldn't get a message to him and finally went home after being told he never arrived.

On the video, a bystander tried to calm Dziekanski down, but he didn't understand. Then, he picked up a computer and threw it, and then a wooden piece of furniture.

The Polish man appears calm when the police arrive.

The video shows him backing up, raising his hands and turning away before the police stun him with the 50,000-volt Taser, sending him to the floor screaming before he's stunned again and the Mounties pin down his head and limbs to handcuff him.

"Probably the most disturbing part is one of the officers using his leg and his knee to pin his head and his neck against the ground," said Paul Pritchard, who made the video.

Dziekanski then became quiet and died soon after.

"I don't know why it ever became a police incident," said retired Vancouver police Supt. Ron Foyle. "It didn't seem that he made any threatening gestures towards them."

"Not a lot goes on in an airport. So, if you're there and there's an incident, sometimes they might overreact. It looks like that's what happened in Vancouver," aviation expert Michael Boyd said on CBS News' The Early Show Thursday.

The RCMP urged the public not to rush to judgment.

"it is only one piece of evidence and it's one person's view, the viewfinder of one individual," said RCMP Cpl. Dale Carr, adding that something made the Mounties take the action they did.

The lawyer for Diekanski's mother, Walter Kosteckyj, said the release of the video has driven the woman into seclusion.

He said Zofia Cisowski of Kamloops saw part of the video and feels her son was frightened, in distress and looking for help which he never got.

"They have to do something with this killing with that Taser weapon. they should do something because that is killer, people killer," Cisowski told the CBC before going into seclusion.

"You've got to question whether one person standing there with three or four officers is a threat," Boyd told Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm. "It doesn't look good for the Canadian police right now."
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