Police say they won't return witness's video of airport Taser incident
A Victoria man whorecorded video of a Polish man being jolted with a Taser and dying at Vancouver International Airport has gone to court to get the recording back from police so he can release it to the public.
But Cpl. Dale Carr of the Integrated Homicide Investigation team told CBC News that releasing the video would compromise the case.
"It's clear that he wants to release that to the media and therefore any potential witnesses would view it, and then it would be compromised, and those witness accounts would just be tossed aside," Carr said.
Police don't plan to release the video until they decide it won't compromise the investigation, Carr said.
Paul Pritchard said he used his digital camera to make an excellent quality recording of the incident early on Oct. 14,which attracted countrywide attentionand increaseddebate over the use of the controversial stun guns.
Pritchard told CBC News that he captured Robert Dziekanski's actions in the minutes before police arrived, the moment Dziekanski was jolted with a police Taser and the moment witnesses realized they had just seen a man die.
"There was no attempt to calm him down. The first step they took was to Taser him."
Pritchard said he handed his digital camera and the recording over to police with the understandingthey would be returned within 48 hours.
"They called me the next day and basically told me, 'We are going to give you the camera, but sorry, we are not going to give you the footage, and it's kind of disappeared,'" Pritchard said.
The camera was returned with a new memory stick.
After seeing media interviews with Dziekanski's distraught mother, Zofia Cisowski, Pritchard decided to get the original video recording of the Taser incident returned, so he can make it public.
"I'm watching interviews with the woman and she is crying, and I see all this speculation that this happened and this happened, and I know what happened and I have got it all on videotape and it's right there," Pritchard told CBC News on Tuesday morning.
Pritchard said he does not know how many times police hitDziekanski with a Taser jolt, because everything happened so quickly.
"I was looking through the camera the whole time, so, I mean, that part of it is not that clear to me," he said.
But what he does remember, he said,is that police did not make any attempt to calm Dziekanski down before taking him down with the Taser.
"I sat there watching for at least 25 minutes before police and security arrived. We tried to calm him down.
"The police came. There was no attempt to calm him down. There was no attempt to restrain him. There was no attempt to bring in a translator."
Lawyer says client has right to video
Pritchard'slawyer, Paul Pearson, has filed documents in B.C. Supreme Court demanding that at least a copy of the video be given to his client.
"It's not the subject, as I understand it, currently of a criminal investigation. It's not a court exhibit. There is in fact very old law that says if you have somebody else's property in your possession and they ask for it back, you have to give it back to them."
Pritchard denied suggestions the lawsuit was motivated by a desire tosell the tape to the media.
"No, it has nothing to do with that. I'm just trying to get it out there,"he said.
"It wasn't such a big thing at thebeginning, but now that it's being covered up, it's making me wonder what's on there that they are trying tocover up."