British Columbia

Mounties obstructed efforts to save Dziekanski: firefighter

A Richmond firefighter says RCMP officers acted unprofessionally and obstructed their attempts to save Robert Dziekanski, the Polish immigrant who died after being stunned with a Taser several times.

A Richmond firefighter says RCMP officers acted unprofessionally and obstructed their attempts to save Robert Dziekanski, the Polish immigrant who died after being stunned with a Taser several times at Vancouver International Airport.

Capt. Kirby Graeme told the Braidwood inquiry into the death of Dziekanski that firefighters were at the airport within six minutes of getting a call on Oct. 14, 2007.

When they got inside the terminal, an RCMP officer told the firefighters they had stunned Dziekanski with a Taser three times, Graeme testified on Tuesday at the Vancouver probe.

The four Mounties involved were standing several metres away from where Dziekanski was lying on the ground and didn't appear to be monitoring or helping him, he said.

Graeme said he asked a Mountie to remove Dziekanski's handcuffs so firefighters could help him, but the officer refused because Dziekanski had been violent.

"The first thing I did after I had asked him what happened … I said we need to take off the handcuffs so we can properly assess the patient … and the Mountie replied, 'He has been violent we are not going to take the cuffs off.'"      

Given Dziekanski's condition, he should have been uncuffed and on his back to clear his airway and begin CPR, Graeme said.

The officers only removed the handcuffs after the BC Ambulance Service arrived, he testified. By the time paramedics began chest compressions, it was too late to save Dziekanski, he said.

now