Friday, June 18, 2010

The Braidwood Chronicles: conclusion

Thomas Braidwood's report has been released.

"I concluded that [RCMP Constable Kwesi Millington] was not justified in deploying the weapon, and that neither that constable nor the corporal honestly perceived that Mr. Dziekanski was intending to attack any of the officers.

"I concluded that the other two constables, during their testimony before me, offered patently unbelievable after-the-fact rationalizations of their police notes and their statements to [Integrated Homicicde Investigation Team] investigators."

"Shameful conduct." "[D]eliberate misrepresentations made for the purpose of justifying their actions."

And if it hadn't been for a man with a cellphone video, they would have gotten away with it. Perhaps they still will.

Full report here.

UPDATE: The report makes grim reading. One thing in particular stands out: the officers were unmitigated liars. Braidwood refers to their

desperate attempts to explain away important inaccuracies in their police notes and statements to homicide investigators. I think the public is entitled to expect that officers involved in a serious investigation, especially a police related death, will apply care and professional judgement in how they record their recollection of important events, especially when giving a statement to a homicide investigator. These two officers failed that test miserably. The public is equally entitled to expect that when officers testify under oath, they will be candid and forthright, and if their earlier notes or statements are shown to be inaccurate (as the Pritchard video showed in this case), they acknowledge the inaccuracy. These two officers did just the opposite by offering revisionist interpretations of their previous statements that were unbelievable. (p.243)


The initial claims by all four officers in their police notes and statements to IHIT investigators that they wrestled Mr. Dziekanski to the ground has been shown, by the Pritchard video, to be untrue. These were either innocent inaccuracies by the four officers or deliberate misrepresentations of what had happened. In my view, they were the latter, and they were made for the purpose of justifying their actions. But for the Pritchard video, we would likely never have learned what really happened, and these officers’ revisionist accounts would have lived on. (p.256)

Lots more about the Four Horsemen in this section of the report.

UPPERDATE: This sounds hopeful. BC is appointing a Special Prosecutor to review the testimony of the Four Horsemen.

For his part, Braidwood released this statement today:

“We strongly believe that the findings of the Braidwood Commission should have a follow-up. We therefore expect that the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch will reassess its decision from 12 December 2008 and reopen the criminal investigation or the Special Prosecutor will be appointed by the Attorney General.”

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