Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Braidwood Chronicles: an officer's story changes

Constable Bill Bentley is the second of the four RCMP officers implicated in the death of Robert Dziekanski. Like his colleague Gerry Rundel, Bentley misspoke himself in his formal statement, before the existence of the video was known.

Dziekanski, he said then, was running at the officers, screaming. Now, with the video plainly refuting that nonsense, he has revised his position (as reported here): Dziekanski "actually appeared calm and cooperative and wasn't doing anything as the officers approached." Quite a revision.

Bentley testified that he saw Dziekanski's face turn blue after being Tasered. Despite having first aid training, however, he never thought to check his pulse.

One key point about that stapler: despite reports that Dziekanski "brandished" it, justifying a Tasering, the evidence is that he merely picked it up and held it to his body, possibly defensively. His arm swung up--but only after the first 50,000-volt electric shock. Bentley claims that he "waved" it, but this contradicts Rundel's earlier testimony that he was holding it to his chest.

Bentley's lawyer, David Butcher, is worried that tapes and transcripts of the Inquiry might be used by the Polish government to prosecute the four officers. A motion to prevent the materials from leaving the country will be heard later on by Thomas Braidwood. The last thing that these officers want, it would seem, is a criminal trial. And given what we've heard so far, no wonder.


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