In the seconds before he was Tasered, Robert Dziekanski was “resistant” when he threw up his hands and stalked away from police at Vancouver’s airport, an RCMP officer said yesterday.
Const. Gerry Rundel, testifying more than 16 months after the death, said Dziekanski understood when commanding officer Cpl. Benjamin Robinson told him “No” as the Polish immigrant bent over his luggage.
Dziekanski stopped, stood up and then with a “quick flash of his arms” signalled that he was leaving.
“It said to me, ‘the hell with you guys, I’m out of here,’” Rundel said.
Dziekanski, who did not speak English, then “disobeyed” Robinson when he began to walk away, his behaviour changing from non-compliant to resisting, Rundel told the Braidwood Inquiry into the death.
Under the RCMP’s use-of-force spectrum at the time, a Taser could be used on someone resisting police.
“I don’t believe the language barrier was an issue,” Rundel said.
Dziekanski then moved toward a desk and turned quickly into what Rundel described as a “combative stance” with both fists in front of his chest and a black stapler in his right hand.
“I recall fearing for my safety to a certain degree,” he said.
One of the officers, Const. Kwesi Millington, fired his Taser at Dziekanski.
Rundel expected him to fall, but Dziekanski remained standing still clenching the stapler.
Cpl. Robinson then told Millington to “hit him again.”
The Taser fired for a second time dropping Dziekanski.
Rundel’s testimony is expected to continue today and be followed by that of the other three