this gives a new meaning to being shot in the back. russ
Canada reassigns police over Taser death Sat Nov 17, 8:34 PM ET
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Four police officers involved in the death of a Polish immigrant
from a Taser stun gun have been reassigned, officials said Saturday.
Federal police commissioner William Elliott would not say how long the officers would be
assigned to other duties. He acknowledged that images of Robert Dziekanski's death in a
videotape shot by a bystander are "disturbing for anyone who sees them."
The 40-year-old Dziekanski, of Gliwice, Poland, was shot by officers using a Taser stun gun a
month ago at Vancouver International Airport.
Elliott said, however, it would be inappropriate for anyone "to draw conclusions based on these
images alone." He defended the use of Tasers by the force, saying they are safe and effective in
most cases, but called for a thorough review of the incident.
"This serious event deserves a comprehensive and complete examination," said Elliott, whose
comments were prompted by the public outrage that ensued after video footage of the incident was
released this week.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said they are reviewing Taser use. Eighteen people have
died in Canada after being hit with a Taser in the last four years.
The man who shot the videotape, Paul Pritchard, said he initially thought that police acted
appropriately. But he said he has changed his mind after watching the videotape, which he lent
to police and was returned to him a month later.
The video showed officers zapping a distressed Dziekanski twice, 46 seconds after arriving on
scene, and then physically subduing him on the floor. Dziekanski died at the scene.
"He wasn't acting violent in any way. That's what is most disturbing," Pritchard said.
It was Dziekanski's first flight, and was to be the start of a new life with his mother in
Dziekanski, who spoke only Polish, had begun acting erratically at the airport. He apparently
became upset when he did not see his mother after waiting for about 10 hours in the secure
baggage area which she was not allowed to enter.
Police used the stun gun as Dziekanski was walking away from them, with his back to them.
Elliott said several investigations would be conducted, including those by a homicide unit and
the coroner's office in British Columbia and an independent commission that looks into
complaints against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.