The RCMP officer in charge the night Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver's airport says he gave the order to fire a Taser at the Polish immigrant after the man allegedly began to move towards police.
Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson, the senior officer on duty the night Dziekanski died, is the fourth RCMP officer to testify at the Braidwood inquiry, which resumed on Monday in Vancouver.
Robinson told inquiry lawyer Art Vertlieb that at first Dziekanski was peaceful, but after he ordered Dziekanski to a nearby counter, he picked up a stapler and turned to face the officers, squeezing staples onto the floor.
That’s when Robinson gave fellow RCMP officer Const. Kwesi Millington the order to use the Taser.
Robinson’s claim that he gave the initial order to fire the Taser was in contradiction to Millington’s earlier testimony, in which he stated he fired the weapon on his own. Millington had testified earlier that the only time Robinson told him to use the Taser was before the third deployment, when Dziekanski was already on the ground.
Robinson testified that once Dziekanski was down, he gave what would have been an order to stun Dziekanski a third time because he was continuing to struggle and push himself up.
"Did it occur to you he was pushing himself up in an attempt to breath?" asked Vertlieb.
"No," replied Robinson.
Officer's Taser training expired
Robinson, an RCMP officer since 1996, had been trained in Taser use, but that training had expired seven months before the confrontation at the airport.
Robinson told the inquiry that Dziekanski didn't fall to the floor until after the second jolt, although a bystander's video played numerous times at the inquiry shows the second stun occurred when the Polish immigrant was on the ground.
Dziekanski died shortly after he was stunned up to five times by police and left handcuffed on the floor of the international arrivals area of the airport.
Robinson, however, contends that he continually monitored Dziekanski’s breathing and pulse, but could not recall how many times, or how closely, he did it.
And although Robinson testified he saw Dziekanski’s ears turning blue, he assumed it was bruising from Dziekanski’s fall to the ground, not because it indicated there was a medical emergency, as another officer earlier testified.