Braidwood Commission: Watching amateur video until eyes glaze
It's probably the most watched 10 minutes ever videotaped on the RCMP, with the possible exception of training videos. But this is no training video.
It's amateur video taken by bystander Paul Pritchard at the Vancouver International Airport in the early morning of October 14, 2007 and shows events in which four Mounties confronted Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski. Shortly, thereafter, Dziekanski was dead, having been jolted five times by an RCMP Taser.
Again today, Commissioner Thomas Braidwood, lawyers, spectators and witness RCMP Cpl. Benjamin "Monty" Robinson pored over details in the video at the public Braidwood Commission inquiry examining the events of Dziekanski's death. Every lawyer uses it in an attempt to show how statements from RCMP officers differs from scenes in the video. This morning's challenge was to pick out Dziekanski's hand movements before he moved to an airport counter and picked up a stapler. Were they threatening towards the four officers or, as suggested by lawyer Don Rosebloom, a mere fluttering of hands essentially at his sides?
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Whenever the video differed greatly from today's testimony from Cpl. Benjamin "Monty" Robinson, he would remark: "I saw it."
At one instance, however, he gave a long description of how there were "small little movements" of Dziekanski's hands, but "you're not going to see that."
Asked Don Rosenbloom, lawyer for the Polish republic: "Can you see that?"
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Robinson also seemed to have trouble understanding Rosenbloom's vocabulary.
"Important?" he asked, as if hearing a strange word for the first time. He was considering a question about RCMP Taser use.
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Retired B.C. justice Thomas Braidwood certainly has a problem with names. Yesterday, he called Walter Kosteckyj, lawyer for Dziekanski's mother, Zofia Cisowski, "Dziekanski" a couple of times.
Today, he keeps calling Rosenbloom, "Rosenberg."