Anorak News | Mounties Taser To Death Man Armed With An Open Stapler

Mounties Taser To Death Man Armed With An Open Stapler

by | 3rd, March 2009

THE Mounties always get their man. And here is RCMP Constable Kwesi Millington dealing with Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski in Vancouver airport. The man is armed with a stapler. An open stapler.

Constable Millington is one of four attending Mounties. He is the only one with a taser. He draws and fires.

He fires once. He fires four more times over a total of 31 seconds. Officers restrain and handcuff Mr. Dziekanski.

In court:

Constable Millington earlier said he and his three fellow officers, all posted at the RCMP’s airport detachment, responded to a call that a man was acting erratically in the international arrivals area of the airport and throwing luggage around, then were told he was throwing chairs through windows — which turned out to be untrue.

No crime. Then:

They proceeded to the scene without discussing a strategy. A bystander said Mr. Dziekanski, who had spent about 24 hours flying to Canada to start a new life with his Kamloops-based mother, then became lost in the airport for about 10 hours, did not speak English.

Constable Millington said Mr. Dziekanski, 40, was walking back and forth, “seemed very sweaty” and “very agitated.” The officer tried hand signals, he said, to get him to calm down, asked for his “passport” and “identification,” assuming he would understand, and mimed writing on paper with his hand.

Mr. Dziekanski, he said, threw up his hands —”I interpreted that to be defiant” — and turned away, knocking some things off a counter and picking up a stapler.

He went for the stapler!

“He held it up with one hand, fist with the other, and started to approach us with hands up.” Constable Millington said he expected Mr. Dziekanski was going to attack. “So I deployed the taser at that point,” he told the inquiry.

And the reason for the Mounties’ use of violence? Says Millington:

“He had the stapler open, his other fist raised. He was in a combative stance, as we call it, and was approaching the officers, I believe, with the intent to attack so I deployed the taser at that point.”

Attacked with a stapler. Any staples? Fire at will:

He said he could hear “clacking” sounds that suggested, according to his training, that the current was not going through and making connection with Mr. Dziekanski. So he kept firing as the officers struggled on the ground to handcuff Mr. Dziekanski.

He will keep wriggling.

“Can you tell us how four healthy men from the RCMP could not gain control of him when he’s in that position?” commission counsel Art Vertlieb asked.

“I don’t know why he was not under control. He was fighting so that’s why we had to use [the taser].”

Mr. Vertlieb later asked the officer whether he was “scared.”

“Yes,” said Constable Millington, who earlier noted that the fact the stapler was open would make it “more” of a threat.

Beware the propelling pencil?

Within moments, Mr. Vertlieb had the constable take the actual stapler in question and hold it to show the inquiry how Mr. Dziekanski brandished it. Constable Millington, 32, stood in the witness box and complied.

The resulting scoffing sounds, snorts of derision and other noises from the spectators’ gallery grew so obvious that inquiry head Thomas Braidwood, a former B.C. supreme court justice, had to counsel spectators to cut it out.

“It’s necessary, ladies and gentlemen, to not really make any comments by way of different noises,” he said.


“You’re in good physical shape and well trained in the arts of defence and controlling people,” Mr. Vertlieb asked the officer.


“We heard from your [fellow officers] that they were scared. In fairness, I want to ask you the same the question. Were you scared at that moment in time?”

“At that moment when he picked up the stapler, I feared for the safety of the officers.”

Reliving the incident:

There were a number of inconsistencies in Constable Millington’s original notes on the incident, available as evidence. He had written, for example, that officers has to wrestle Mr. Dziekanski to the ground when, in fact, he collapsed after being tasered.

Mr. Dziekanski soon suffered fatal cardiac arrest. The cause of death was listed as “sudden death following restraint.” An autopsy found no sign of drugs or alcohol in his system.

When stationery attacks!



Posted: 3rd, March 2009 | In: Strange But True Comments (5) | TrackBack | Permalink