VANCOUVER, B.C. – She feels justice has not been done in Canada, so the mother of a man killed after being shocked by a police Taser wants Poland to take on the case, her lawyer says.
Poland suspended its investigation in Robert Dziekanski’s death last year because it said it wasn’t getting information or evidence from Canadian authorities.
Zofia Cisowski has hired lawyers in Canada and Poland to convince Polish prosecutors to continue its investigation into the death of her son.
Dziekanski died at Vancouver’s airport in October 2007 after being confronted by four RCMP officers.
Bystander’s video later showed police interacting with Dziekanski for just a few seconds before the Taser was deployed. He screamed and writhed on the floor while being shocked four more times.
Crown prosecutors announced last December that the officers wouldn’t be charged in connection with the death, saying they acted with reasonable force in the circumstances.
The four officers each told the inquiry they tried to calm the man, but he came at them with a stapler. They repeatedly stunned him on the ground because, they said, he was fighting back.
Dziekanski came to Canada hoping to start a new life, instead he died on the floor of the arrivals area at Vancouver International Airport, 10 hours after he arrived from Poland.
Bill Sundhu, Cisowski’s Canadian lawyer, said Sunday she wants Polish prosecutors to re-open the case to determine if charges are warranted.
“The objective here is to ensure that, from our perspective, that there’s accountability and justice done in what we believe is a wrongful death at the hands of the RCMP at (Vancouver airport).”
Sundhu said if Polish officials have the statements, the files and complete disclosure from Canadian authorities, then they could determine if they should proceed with charges.
“Under Polish law there is an obligation to protect the interest of Polish citizens, which is what Mr. Dziekanski was the day he died,” said Sundhu.
He wasn’t sure what the RCMP officers might be charged with in Poland, “but clearly there’s an element of wrongful death.”
Cisowski believes Canadian justice has failed her and her son, Sundhu said.
“And of course she’s not alone. I think there has been a significant erosion of public confidence in the nature of the investigation. The investigation in Canada appears to lack impartiality. We do believe that police should not be investigating themselves.”
Sundhu isn’t sure if Polish prosecutors would be able to use the information presented at the Thomas Braidwood inquiry looking into both the death of Dziekanski and Taser use in the province.
The inquiry has heard from dozens of witnesses over the past several months, including the four RCMP officers who were involved in the confrontation with Dziekanski.
All four officers testified that Dziekanski was yelling and waving the stapler just before he was stunned.
After the inquiry, retired judge Thomas Braidwood will issue a report with recommendations to avoid similar deaths in the future, and he could also make findings of misconduct.
Sundhu said his client would like to see the investigation re-opened by Canadian authorities and the appointment of an independent prosecutor to look into the death.
“The video, in and of itself, is compelling evidence and support of a criminal prosecution,” said Sundhu.
An RCMP spokesman was unavailable for comment.