Chair-Initiated Public Complaint: In-custody death of Mr. Robert DZIEKANSKI, October 14, 2007, involving the use of a conducted energy weapon at the Vancouver International Airport
November 8, 2007
File No. 2007-2305
As Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, I am initiating a complaint into the conduct of those unidentified RCMP members present at, or engaged in, the arrest of Mr. Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver International Airport on October 14, 2007, and the adequacy of the subsequent criminal investigation.
I am initiating this complaint with the full appreciation that: the RCMP has deployed an Integrated Homicide Investigation Team to investigate the incident; the RCMP has initiated an Independent Officer Review to assess the conduct of involved members, related policies, procedures and training; and that no decision has been taken in respect of the laying of criminal charges. It is not my intention to prejudice any of the above RCMP investigations. However, I will be closely monitoring RCMP progress as it relates to the investigations underway so that I can ensure, at their completion, a timely response to this complaint. As the Coroner's inquest is often an invaluable source of information, a Commission representative will be in attendance at the inquest once the date and location are announced.
It is of note that the CPC Independent Observer was engaged to assess the impartiality of the RCMP members assigned to investigate this incident and will, as circumstances dictate, continue to monitor the investigative team to ensure that required impartiality is maintained.
Given the ongoing expressions of public concern as they relate to: the degree and type of force required by police officers when effecting an arrest and, as in this case, the specific concerns raised in respect of the use of a conducted energy weapon; and the propriety of the police investigating the police, I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to investigate the conduct of all members involved in this incident and the adequacy of the investigation conducted by the team tasked with the subsequent investigation. In addition, I will be assessing RCMP policy, procedures and guidelines as they relate to the deployment of the conducted energy weapon. Accordingly, pursuant to subsection 45.37(1) of the RCMP Act, I am today initiating a complaint into this incident, specifically:
- Whether the RCMP officers involved in the events of October 14, 2007, from the moment of initial contact until Mr. Robert Dziekanski's subsequent death, complied with all appropriate policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements for the arrest and treatment of persons taken into custody, including any RCMP directives or guidance related to the handling of persons who cannot communicate in either of Canada's official languages, and whether such policies, procedures and guidelines are adequate.
- Whether the RCMP officers involved in the criminal investigation of the members involved in the events of October 14, 2007 complied with the RCMP policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements for the conduct of such an investigation and whether such policies, procedures and guidelines are adequate, and, further, whether such investigation was carried out in an adequate and timely fashion.
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