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Victim seemed ‘disturbed’

The first RCMP officer to encounter Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport had a “gut” feeling that the Polish immigrant meant to start a fight with police despite his calm demeanour.

The first RCMP officer to encounter Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport had a “gut” feeling that the Polish immigrant meant to start a fight with police despite his calm demeanour.

Const. Bill Bentley told the Braidwood Inquiry yesterday that as Dziekanski stared at the approaching officers, his eyes were “wide” and his hands were at his side.

Bentley said he felt the man’s behaviour was not that of a rational person and that he might be “emotionally disturbed and unpredictable.”

“When we initially engaged him he was co-operative,” said Bentley, who had been assigned to the RCMP airport sub-detachment a month and a half before the incident.

“(The gut feeling) was just a thought that I kept in the back of my head, just to be prepared.”

The feeling, Bentley said, prompted him to ask the other Mounties whether anyone was armed with a Taser.

Dziekanski, 40, died in the early morning of Oct. 14 after he was Tasered in a confrontation with the RCMP. Records show that the Taser was fired five times and for a total of 31 seconds.

As the doors leading into the airport’s secured area opened, it was Bentley who first made contact with Dziekanski, asking him how he was doing.

Bentley also radioed for an ambulance after Dziekanski was in handcuffs and radioed again when he noticed Dziekanski was turning blue.

Bentley said yesterday he felt sorry for Dziekanski’s mother, and that his heart went out to her and her family.

 
 
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