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by L.M.

Amateur Video Turns Out to be Embarrassing for the Taser

Translated Saturday 17 November 2007, by Henry Crapo

In!Security: A Polish man dies because of a discharge from an electric pistol

Since last Wednesday, video images displayed in the press show the last instants in the life of Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant who died on October 14 in the Vancouver airport, after having been subdued by the police, who used a Taser, a pistol that emits high voltage electric discharges.

The video images, taken by a passenger with his camera, show the man sweating, and talking to himself in Polish. He wanders about near an automatic door, and bumps into a computer. Four policemen gather around him and ask him to calm down.

Still agitated,
Robert Dziekanski turns his back on them and seems to want to go away. One of the policemen then takes out his Taser and administers a charge of 50,000 volts. Then a second discharge. The man begins to scream, falls to the ground, in contortions of pain. Some seconds later, he stops moving.

A construction worker in Frankfort, Germany, Robert Dziekanski, forty years of age, spoke Polish only. That day, he had taken an airplane trip for the first time in his life, with the intention of settling in Canada, where his mother already lives.

Four different investigations into the death of Robert Dziekanski are under way. The autopsy has not yet permitted an explanation of the cause of death. Toxicological analyses have shown no trace of alcohol or other drug in his bloodstream.

The drama revives the debate over the use of arms introduced as supposedly "non-lethal". Some 3000 French police are already equipped with these arms. And the Ministry of the Interior has just authorized their use by municipal police.

[1Related video report on the psychology of Taser use in the killing of an injured man, Fouad Kaady in Sandy, Oregon, 8/9/2005. In five parts:
— part 1,
— part 2,
— part 3,
— part 4,
— part 5,

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