Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Perjury Trial of Officer in Taser-Related Robert Dziekanski Death Begins

The first of four trials to be held in connection with the taser-related death of would-be immigrant Robert Dziekanski began in Vancouver, Canada, on June 10, 2013. Constable Bill Bentley is one of four officers charged with perjuring themselves during an inquiry into the October 2007 death.

Robert Dziekanski tasing death video. Sources: Youtube.com, inset: Memorial photo

Robert Dziekanski tasing death video. Sources: Youtube.com, inset: Memorial photo

On the first day of the trial Bentley reportedly described the incident for the court, saying, “I describe it as basically the most traumatic thing in my life.” He then broke down in tears on the stand as he recounted the events, and was given a break by the judge to recompose himself.

The day of his death, Polish national Robert Dziekanski landed at the Vancouver International Airport and tried to go through the immigration process. He started but did not complete the process, got lost and spoke not a word of English. After wandering the airport for nine hours in search of his mother, the Canadian resident who was to meet him, he started throwing and breaking things in the airport.

Several people called 911, and Dziekanski was soon confronted by Constables Bill Bentley, Kwesi Millington, Gerry Rundell and Cpl. Benjamin Robinson. In fairly short order the officers started tasing Dziekanski — repeatedly — who died on the spot. A cell-phone video of his tasing and death was released to the public via Youtube.com by witness Paul Pritchard. The ensuing outrage led in 2008 to a special inquiry into Dziekanski’s death. It was at this inquiry that all four Constables testified that Dziekanski had a stapler in his hand with which he was approaching them in a threatening manner. They said they used their tasers out of fear for their own safety. The video, however, showed that Dziekanski’s hands were empty.

As a result, the special prosecutor in the case recommended that all four be tried on one count of perjury each. All four have pleaded not guilty.

See the video:

B.C. Coroner Rules Dziekanski Taser Death a Homicide

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