Taser death at Vancouver Airport

Akezys says: "Recently police at the Vancouver airport were attempting to question a recent immigrant that could not speak English. They tasered him after 24 seconds of speaking with him. The man had spent 10 hours stuck in the airport with no-one helping him."
200710261422 The 40-year-old construction worker, who had never left Poland before, was immigrating to Canada to join his mother, 61, who lives in Kamloops, about a five-hour drive from Vancouver.

They had arranged to meet at the baggage carousel in the international terminal at YVR....

Mr. Dziekanski arrived at about 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14.

"He made his way to primary customs in the ordinary fashion … he went through there in the normal time frame … he then proceeded through and was directed to secondary customs, which is normal for someone who doesn't speak English and is immigrating to the country," Mr. Kosteckyj said. His papers were in order and he proceeded without difficulty.

But what happened after that was far from normal. For nearly 10 hours, Mr. Dziekanski stayed in the Arrivals Hall, growing increasingly frustrated and eventually becoming frantic.

Outside, in the public area, his mother spent nearly six hours pacing the corridors and, in broken English, asking airport officials for help in locating her son.

Mr. Kosteckyj said she visited one booth in international arrivals "at least three to four times and conveyed to them that she was concerned about her son being in the area and she wanted to get a message to him and how could she do that? They wrote her name down and said that they would make inquiries."

At about 10 p.m., she was told he wasn't there. She made the long drive home, only to find a phone message waiting, saying her son had been found.

"She called back to immigration when she got in, which would have been around 2 a.m., and spoke to someone there and was advised that her son was somewhere in the area and was fine. And she advised, you know, 'Please take care of him because he can't speak English and I'll get there as soon as I can.' And of course he had died, been killed really, some time on or about 1 or 1:30," Mr. Kosteckyj said.



  1. That’s a heartbreaking story.

    Let’s see how long until someone implies that those poor police officers were just doing their job and it’s the immigrants fault for not speaking English.

  2. Taser International needs to be investigated for the suppression of research that shows the lethality of Tasers as a tool of compliance. Police policies should treat Tasers nearly the same way as they treat guns. (I say “nearly” because Tasers should be used before guns in several situations.)

  3. This story is horrible. I can barely stand to look at the guy’s face and then read about what happened.

    That being said, I was away while they changed all the rules and when I came home my family was supposed to be there waiting. I got off the plane and sat down for about 10 minutes before realizing I was in a “secure area” and found my family outside.

    It can be confusing if you don’t know what is going on. What I don’t understand is why the guy didn’t walk around a bit or try to figure out what was going on.

  4. I’m going to be the guy who implies the police did their job

    Some of the relevant details that the above article fails to mention was that he was extremely violent when the police arrived (which is why they called the police). The police showed up to find someone who was throwing furniture, computers and banging on glass windows. He was either unable or unwilling to respond to police (language or state of mind).

    What would you have the police do? Sounds like the perfect situation for a taser to me. Only one of the offers there had a taser. The taser automatically records every time it was used. The guy was tasered once. He than got up and continued being violent. he was tasered once more, then went into shock and died.

    Now, the airports actions need some real review, but the police seem like they acted appropriately.

    For better reporting, see the CBC here

  5. RyanH: Tasers should not be used as a compliance tool. In this situation, using a taser was about equivalent as using a gun, and that’s inappropriate. Unless the police were at physical risk of grave injury, they should’ve subdued him with other means.

  6. crazymonk, i’ll agree with that as long as you realize that the other means is a nightstick. We can find plenty of fault with plenty of police officers in various news stories. And many times theres fault to be found.

    But i’m not going to ask a police officer to go in with his bare hands to subdue a man who’s being violent and throwing things. Lawe enforcement is not an honorable contest where equal ground must be maintained.

    The issue is that whether it be pepper spray, or nightsticks, accidental deaths can still happen. But i’d prefer they use pepper spray over tazers.

  7. What means would you rather have them use? Physical force? Then every once in a while we read about how someone, as likely a police officer as a suspect, caught a blow wrong and is either crippled or dead.

    How about Pepper spray? You still get the occasional allergic or shock reaction and deaths, not to mention a far harder weapon to apply selectively.

    The police need some way to deal with violent people who won’t calm down or respond to vocal means. What would you rather have them do? What was the good choice here? What happened was tragic, yes, but what should the police have done differently?

  8. I have to agree with crazymonk as well, tasers are not a compliance tool, and although death by peper sprays happen, there very rare and mostly result from over usage of the spray while a taser can kill on first try on some one with a weak heart. police are getting way to taser happy, what they should have done is just all left the room, from what it sounds like the man was in an investigation room, and if left alone he might have calmed down without anyone getting hurt.

  9. A nightstick is non-lethal, when used correctly.

    “The issue is that whether it be pepper spray, or nightsticks, accidental deaths can still happen. But i’d prefer they use pepper spray over tazers.”

    But it’s happened time and time again with Tasers — this is why even Taser International doesn’t consider it a non-lethal weapon (they call it a less lethal weapon). Unfortunately, police departments don’t train their employees to treat it as such, and I would say that Taser International hasn’t exactly pushed them to reexamine their policies.

  10. They also said it took 3 people to handcuff him. It seems more likely to me that the cause of death will end up being related to someone having a knee in his ribcage during the act of trying to physically subdue him. It won’t be the taser that killed him, it will be the physical componet.

    And the physical componet was necessary since he was throwing furniture.

  11. Now THAT was a one sided article. There was nothing in the article about the fellow throwing chairs and computers. Just that he was “frantic” . Well, once my son got lost in another city when he was about 5 and I was “frantic” but I didnt destroy property or threaten anyone with violence. The taser wasnt used for mere “compliance” It was used to subdue a violent criminal. Unless you decide that destruction of other peoples property isnt criminal. In that case tell me where you live and Ill come by and destroy some of your things.

    And regarding the “suppression” of research by Taser Intl. give me facts. not an insinuation. If the research was suppressed then it was done and can be found and publicised.

  12. @RyanH:

    I don’t see how you can tout those CBC articles as better reporting.

    Airport security called the Mounties for assistance after an unidentified man began pounding on windows and throwing chairs and computer equipment in the customs area shortly after arriving on an international flight at 1:30 a.m

    Shortly after arriving? He’d been there 10 hours already. As to the crucial facts, the reports differ, so it’s difficult to judge which is more accurate. Even so it’s hard to see how tasering is suitable in any but the most exceptional circumstances. The more widely these methods are used, the more frequent these stories are likely to become.

  13. #1

    One thing is for sure, if he had spoken some level of English, he’d still be alive today and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The most important phrase he could’ve learned was “please help me”.

  14. Holy crap! Are you guys drunk? This has to be the most one-side article since that piece on Richard Gere’s legitimate use of gerbals….

    wtf?… No, realy… WTF?? I know its TGIF and 4:20 but come on!!

  15. The staff in the secure area of an international airport and three police officers couldn’t subdue a man without a Taser? That has to mean something is very wrong with airport security AND police training or procedures. Unless this guy is some sort of combat expert or had a weapon, there’s no reason 3 officers couldn’t subdue him by hand.

  16. @OSOMAN: “This has to be the most one-side article since that piece on Richard Gere’s legitimate use of gerbals….”

    While I have no use for Taser-happy cops and DHS brownshirts on power trips, I actually am inclined to agree.

    It seems that ever since the comment section was restored to BoingBoing, we’ve been treated to one article after another that’s nothing but a simplistic one-sided presentation of one controversial issue or another. Pure flamebait.

    Is this basically just an ad-revenue play, or what? I know the BB editors, TNH, and others associated with the site are smarter than this.

  17. @20, Mn,
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  18. So, who’s to blame?

    1. Airport Personnel
    I’m sorry, but when you leave someone — someone who doesn’t speak English and is in completely foreign surroundings and who may have completely different acceptable behaviours in their home country — in an airport for nearly half a day, how the heck do you expect them to react? Could those pointless, minimum-wage paid, xenophobic morons masquerading as airport “security” personnel not be bothered to find someone else who could translate from Polish? Perhaps, I dunno, his own mother?

    2. Police Officers
    A taser death is NEVER acceptable any more than a gun death is. Period. Tasers are meant to be used in place of guns when possible. If deadly force is necessary, use a taser if there is little or no danger to the officer as compared to using a gun.

    I will NOT blame the man for not knowing English. This is Canada. I thought we were “multicultural”. I thought we accepted immigrants looking for opportunity. I thought wrong.

  19. Crazymonk…this was also part of your link…

    UPDATE – TASER’s Mark W. Kroll [BIO] responds in an email:

    The infamous Ruggieri clearly does not count as he is a high-school
    dropout fired by the Coast Guard where he had been hired by falsely
    claiming to be an engineer. His junk science manuscript, “Lethality of
    TASERs” was rejected by the reviewers for the Journal of Forensic
    Science so he has never had a peer-reviewed article. Ruggieiri got a
    friend to do a photocopy “publication” of an amusing piece which
    claimed, among other things, that cardiomyopathy patients could die
    from the static shock of walking across carpet or combing their hair.
    He also apparently solved the energy problem by getting 704 watts out
    of a TASER device powered by a 30 watt pack of 8 AA cells. One glance
    at this piece will disabuse anyone of the fantasy that it was ever peer

    Kroll also asserts that TASER has never sued a peer-reviewed researcher.

  20. @ #12 jack w

    as regards the question of him being a “violent criminal” by engaging in property destruction and that as such the police were justified in their use of force i have to try to shut that down.

    even though property destruction is criminalized in our society, it does not justify the use of deadly force, or really even force at all… for example, if i was to go into circuit city right now and started smashing computers into each other, that would not justify the use of any force that MIGHT KILL ME. that would be like saying that my life was worth less than the tech…

    in this case i think the officers should have waited it out… he had to sleep eventually, or maybe a translator could have been contacted. the use of (even lesser) force is justified only if only if the case that person is going to harm another person. fuck the overhead, THAT GUY IS DEAD NOW. a long-term solution would be to require police officers to be black belts in aikido. that would weed out the over-eager.

    i’ll never forget the headline from boston after the sports riot (the only way to get the average american to riot) that read:

    “woman killed by non-lethal weapon”

  21. You know, another thing about posts like this is that many people say how they want tolerance and acceptance and all but when they talk about the police they use terms like “brownshirts” “taser happy cops” and numerous other derogotory names. They talk about how the cops should have been able to use different tools or subdue a violent person in a different manner. The plain fact is that many times they have about one second to assess danger and react. Sometimes people get hurt. If you dont like law enforcement, fine. But just remember that they are human beings with families and most of them will give their lives to protect you. What they do is usually at the best of times ugly and in every single situation, someone is going to be unhappy with the outcome. Sure there are bad cops. Ive dealt with them myself but give the rest of them a chance.

  22. Apparently this is an intensely emotional subject, as critical thinking seems to have been slightly misplaced. If we momentarily set aside, training/procedure issues, and non lethal/less lethal ones as well, then we can ask, “O.K. this doesn’t work that well. What mihgt work better?”
    For example what about projectile nets, complete isolation, MILD sedatives (dart gun style), heck did anyone think of a translator? My point is that mindfulness should be a prerequisite for any use of force.

  23. oops, in #24 above, that should have read “the use of (even lesser) force is justified only in the case that the person is going to harm another person.

    and about the cop-hating… i don’t cops, i hate the fact that if you want to protect people, the only way you are legally permitted to do that is by enforcing a bunch of insane laws. be that as it is, most cops aren’t evil, just too stupid to realize that it is made VERY HARD for them to do any real, lasting good in society. there are some intelligent cops, and i wager that they are split between the ones who do make a real positive difference despite the largely corrupt “justice” system and those who do great harm at great personal gain because of the largely corrupt “justice” system.

  24. Jack W:

    Really classy that most of Taser Int.’s argument is made up of ad hominem attacks. They make no attempt to refute their aggressiveness in intimidating independent Taser research.

  25. Did anyone on scene even consider that maybe this man was having a diabetic event? He had been wandering about for 10 hours after a trans Atlantic flight , distressed and probably not eating and if he had blood sugar issues, this is what might have happened. I’m an EMT and I can tell you that sometimes diabetics appear drunk or crazy. Give them a shot of orange juice or some other source of glucose and, literally seconds later, it’s as if a different person emerges. A sober rational person.

    Some of our cops are entirely too taser happy and really need to start going to JAIL.

    “They were just doing their job” my ass.

  26. Intensity, rage, & aggressive reactionary comments do not promote a rational discursive. Maybe it this very flaw, the inability to curb emotion to allow logic, that nurtures the things we abhor.

  27. He was throwing chairs and equipment. As such, he had to be subdued from a distance. That leaves exactly two options: taser or gun. One is less likely to cause permanent injury or death than the other.

    Pick one.

    This is the choice the cops had, and it was the only choice. There is a system that Canadian cops follow, and it’s laid out in print, in black and white. Whether the guy has a knife or a paperweight or a piece of furniture, if he cannot or will not respond to orders to desist, he is to be subdued at range.

    It’s unfortunate that the guy is dead, yes. But the cops did exactly the right thing and I predict that even if there is an independent inquiry, this will be borne out.

  28. How about instead of tasers and guns, they use a net? The netee gets tangled up, so we achieve the goal of immobilization. And, a net wouldn’t cause much trauma.

  29. Isn’t interesting that a random group of “unspecialized” individuals can come up with a wider range of “less lethal” options, in such a short time, than a committee of trained law enforcement officials, who surely deliberate at length the appropriate use of their coercive powers. Psyche! People manipulate things in their favor, and the more powerful they are the wider the spread of any eventual inconveniences.

  30. The purpose of repression is repression.

    That is what you are all missing here. No single person is guilty, the authorities were doing their job, the man was panicked and out of control and Tasers are so and so and blah blah blah. The big picture is that there is a system of repression in place that gradually forces good people into more and more extreme situations. You’ve noticed that haven’t you?

    That is how police states come into being. Gradually over time ordinary people are forced to compromise their values bit by bit. A little bit of heavy handedness here… he was “out of control”, perhaps some brutality there.. but that was just one “bad apple”.

    It is the system in place that forces people to behave the way they do. I don’t fly but I guess we now have special “secure” holding areas. Can you guess what comes after that? I can.

    Events like these will continue to grow in frequency as they become more and more extreme. You will get used to it, even come to accept it. The next one will be even more extreme just as this one is worse than any before it. And yet again rationalizations will be made and they will be right in the details and given whatever the circumstances may be. And yet they will all be wrong.

    Sooner or later you will all have to choose. That is what repressive military regimes are all about. They are engines for crushing dissent and nonconformity. That is the only reason they even exist.

  31. Again, we’re so fearful. . .no translator, no report of any attempt to de-escalate (ordering a man to calm down is patently ineffective, like screaming at someone to be quiet. As is trying to get someone who is hysterical to “put his hands down on the desk) the situation, just up, up, up.

    Until a man whose worst (reported) crime was throwing some furniture, wrecking a computer or two, and not knowing English, is dead.

    God forbid someone show some compassion, maybe attempt to understand the situation try to figure out what was actually going on.

    But then that’s what happens when one views the world through the eyes of fear.

    Fact or no fact, it certainly seems as though police of all stripes are relying on tasers for situations that perhaps wouldn’t require their use. Seems like they’re being used more and more as a crutch, when it should be used as a final step before deadly force. I’d like to see some statistics on this.

    Note that, in every jurisdiction I’ve ever lived in, destruction of property is never a reason for force-escalation. Not to mention that there are plenty of methods for gaining compliance, not just the baton, taser, or sidearm. Or that the guy had come off of a plane, and the chances of the guy having an honest-to-God weapon are slim to none.

    In the end it wasn’t a taser that killed this man, it was fear, lack of proper training and regulation.

    A sandwich, maybe a cup of coffee, or a soda if offered, could well have saved a life here. Hell, even not meeting hysterics with anger and the threat of violence would have been a step in the right direction. But since all that was attempted was the quickest, most expedient path to the end, we’ll never know.

    Flame on.

  32. Oh! He was throwing chairs! And making life hard for police!

    Well, obviously we can’t have that. Clearly he had to be killed.

    It’s good that so many people are eager to explain this. I understand completely now.

    Don’t miss our next episode: “Look What You Made Me Do, You Stupid Bitch.” As performed by 5,271,009 drive-by blog commenters, all of whom are completely rational in the preternatural consistency with which they defend the right of the powerful to dominate and destroy the powerless. Hope that gig keeps working out for y’all!

  33. Whn r ppl gng t lrn y cn’t ct t t rprts nd n rplns? <-- rhtrcl. Th nswr s nvr. Th mn s n dt, nd nw h's dd dt. Lt ths b lssn th nxt tm y fl th mpls t rg n frgn rprt whr y'r t lss wth th lngg. 'v fnd rprt mplys mst hlpfl, hnstly, lngg s nt tht mch f brrr, srsly rtrdd df-mt cld hv dn bttr. Flyng hs bcm ttl drg bcs f trvlrs lk ths.

  34. Unless this man was attacking people, there was no cause for using “less lethal” weapons against him.

  35. Um, there has been a lot of coverage of this locally, far more that appears above or in links, and what’s clear is that 1)the news accounts differ on details, and 2) witnesses’ accounts directly contradict the police. For example, the police have claimed that they resorted to tasers and not pepper spray because the airport was too crowded – when in fact the event took place around 1 AM and witnesses describe the scene as not crowded at all.

    And if I think about it, the image of a man going on an incredible hulk style rampage is incompatible with him being in the middle of a crowd. Video will tell.

    But it is not, in fact, clearly established that the man actually was throwing chairs or breaking computers–it is not clear who is making that claim or what is meant by that. Is it knocking over a single chair? Or is it throwing a bench through a window?

    The facts are not in, here. Other than that a man is dead, and in all likelihood the BC police will be investigating themselves after a man has died under suspicious circumstances in their custody.

    Yet again.

  36. I find it more than a little depressing that anyone is defending the police. This story made me feel physically ill. If only ONE of the worthless automatons had listened to the mother this horrible tragedy might have been averted. What a waste, and shame on anyone for defending the police state mentality that resulted in this needless death.

  37. Why the rush to judgement to say the staff and then the police didn’t try to handle the situation peacefully and only resorted to force when left with no other choice?

    Oh right, because we read too many blogs and comic books, so rational analysis isn’t really our strongpoint anymore. Innocent until proven what? Oh, that only applies to college students, not people who wear uniforms. Uniforms mean they’re guilty and if they somehow prove they’re innocent, it’s only because of a government coverup operation.

  38. So…is anyone actually going to investigate what are probably completely inadequate systems for dealing with incoming passengers being directed to secondary screening?

    This is ‘normal procedure’ for an immigrating person who doesn’t speak English, yet they didn’t set him up with someone to work with and give him a Polish translator; they didn’t have any material in Polish they could give him to explain that it might take a while to get a translator? Maybe give him some food if it was going to take a long time? How did he get through primary screening and yet yet totally stopped at secondary?

    Whether or not the police are directly responsible, the clearly inadequate customs procedure would seem to be the real culprit here.

  39. @Nonesuch #45

    Now, that’s being simplistic. Here’s the facts that seem undisputed:

    1) The guy was being held for 10 hours before the incident, after which he started become beligerent and violent (albeit towards inanimate objects).

    2) The guy didn’t speak English.

    3) His mother was outside, being fobbed off by airport personnel.

    4) When the guy became unruly, the police tased him.

    Now, there may have been some other details or incident between #1 and #4 of the timeline above that we’re not aware of, but there were plenty of ways in which the situation could have been avoided. The guy didn’t speak English, and none of the articles mention him talking to a translator. In that case, he had absolutely no idea what was happening to him after nearly half a day. Of course he started to become unruly, and as a commentator above noted, he could have been suffering from some kind of diabetic or psychologic condition that triggered his behaviour.

    Since his mother was outside, she could have translated if an official translator was unavailable. There would surely have been some preamble to the guy becoming violent, so even if her translations would be unsuitable for the official screening process, she could have been asked to talk to him and calm him down before he became such a problem.

    Once the guy became violent, it was clearly as a result of him being frustrated at being held for 10 hours without any clue as to what was happening. This means he was lashing out, not attacking personnel but inanimate objects. he was frustrated. He couldn’t exactly express this frustration through words as he wouldn’t be understood, so he expressed it through violence instead. He would have been easily detained by trained officers without the necessity for potentially lethal force, as his intention was not to attack personnel.

    At the end of the day, this is the story of a guy who, despite having valid documentation, was held against his will for hours without any information. When he became frustrated, the response to his show of said frustration was a show of force that could, and did, kill him.

    It’s disgusting, and I’m sure everyone on this site defending the police would be up in arms if it was, say, an American killed in China under the same circumstances.

  40. @PaulT: Who says he was held against his will for 10 hours? According to the article there was no-one stopping him from leaving the secure area of the Arrivals Hall, he just chose to stay there, presumably because he thought his mother could go there and meet him.

  41. This is an unfortunate situation. I’m going to fess up and admit that i don’t have all of the answers; there seems to be a good amount of anger here directed toward the police, which i understand and tend to agree with, but what is the alternative? In order to fix something there needs to be an answer, and so far no one has provided one, including myself.

    Having said that, and understand that i feel for the man and his family, this is a link to lighten the mood. A proposed answer.

  42. On September 28, 2007, Carol Anne Gotbaum died while in police custody at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Have we forgotten her already?

    In addition to guns and Tasers, airport security personnel need training in how to peacefully deal with disturbed persons. There are far more frightened and angry people at airports than there are terrorists!

  43. If he was threatening to throw chairs at the cops,

    maybe the cops should have picked up chairs to throw at him.

  44. To a large extent, I feel that a large percentage of the factors in this tragedy could have been avoided by designing international termini as just THAT – international. Having traveled through a number of countries, I have found that some international airports have a well thought out design, signage, traffic flow, etc., which allows new arrivals to actually navigate their way through customs, security, arriving passenger greeting without feeling like they’ve been cast out into an alien world.

    If you are in a country who’s language and customs are alien to your experience, it can be VERY overwhelming. Organizations such as Travelers Aid are invaluable at such times, as well as having KIND and COURTEOUS staff in the disembarkation and customs areas.

    Rather than focusing on the Taser part, which is merely the coda to an already insane series of events, we all might do well to look at how WE interact with strangers in places such as airports, train stations and well… hell… anywhere.

  45. This is the second taser-death story I’ve read today.

    It’s perfectly clear by now that tasers are unsafe in the hands of many law-enforcement officers. Trigger-happy, taser-happy, the results are the same: completely avoidable human tragedies.

    Cruel and unusual tragedies.

  46. I think some good will eventually come of this. Since it has been discovered that he had no drugs or alcohol in his system (latest autopsy report) which contradicts one of the first claims by the cops (but how were they to know???). There have now been calls to have front line officers to be trained in ‘psychological assessment’…a basic checklist to see if the subject is ‘disturbed’ in some way. This is also echoed with ‘basic’ medical training (like what the EMT said earlier) to determine if it’s related to diabetes, or alcohol withdrawl (as is likely in the Gautbaum case in Phoenix) or something else. Will this work 100%…of course not, nothing ever does.

    Police also need to learn a few other things. I think the person who said they should learn Aikaido is partially on track. They really need to get away from coming in like they HAVE to attack the person (attack being the wrong word, but used for clarity). Notice when you see cops walking toward a group of people, they’re arm is almost always slightly elevated above their gun holster. This is an aggressive posture, and most recognise it as that. Also needed is a way to determine if the subject isn’t following orders, why they are not. Do they have something to hide or do they not understand (ie, not speak english).
    The easiest thing to do, though not in all cases certainly, is to approach the subject in a non-confrontational or passive demeanor. IE…walk towards them with your hands off to the sides, like how cops have subjects walk towards them. It’s passive, and can easily have a calming effect on a subject, versus running in yelling and holding weapons. Of course, this only works if the person is not harming OTHERS (others being humans or live beings, innanimate object do not count). If the officers LIFE is in danger, they can escalate force, if they might get HURT (non-lethal) then they cannot escalate force. Getting hurt on the job is part of life, and if you take a few bruises, but save someones LIFE, I think it’s worth it. Don’t you?

  47. I am seriously unimpressed by all the complaints about “one-sided reporting” in this thread. You want a one-sided story? The guy winds up in a holding area. He clearly doesn’t know he’s free to leave it. If wasn’t free to leave an area and he tried to walk out anyway, I suspect that many of the complainers would be saying “He obviously had it coming;” so I think we can stop blaming him for making the prudent choice in a situation where he had insufficient information.

    Next point: His mother spends six hours in the airport corridors, trying to get in touch with him, speaking to one person after another. She repeatedly leaves messages with people in one of the booths, and they say they’ll make inquiries. Nobody does anything. Nobody notices that it’s a problem.

    That’s a failure of airport security all on its own. They’ve got an anomalous situation, and a clearly distressed passenger who’s trying to get someone’s attention, and she’s in that situation for six hours. What kind of security operation doesn’t notice that? Does it not occur to anyone in this conversation that she’s one of the people airport security is there to serve?

    And now to the part where the story gets seriously one-sided: The guy sits there in the Arrivals Hall … for ten hours … and then suddenly, out of nowhere, he “gets violent”?

    Do you really think that’s how it happened? He sat there peacefully and contentedly for ten hours, and then between one moment and the next he went berserk? I don’t believe that for a moment.

    This is another complete screwup by immigration and airport personnel. You have a tired, unfed, confused passenger who’s been sitting for hours in a room where he shouldn’t have been waiting at all. Did no one think that was suspicious, and investigate? They should; and he’d have been a lot better off if they had.

    To report the incident simply in terms of “Gosh, he became violent” is to deny the responsibility of the immigration and airport employees for keeping an eye on the people who pass through their system. When you have increased security, more barriers, less ease of communication with people outside those barriers, and hugely increased penalties for infracting airport security regulations, you’re going to have people getting confused, and not moving through the system when it isn’t obvious to them that they’re free to do so. A competent security system has to be mindful of that. A competent security system also has to notice glaring anomalies in the normal flow of passengers.

    We don’t yet have a satisfactory account of what happened. The version Mark Frauenfelder posted was no more one-sided than any of the versions tendered by those who’ve been criticizing him.

  48. I completely agree with Teresa — there must be something ridiculously wrong with the airport security system in Vancouver to allow for such a mess to occur.

    As for the one-sidedness of the article, the Globe & Mail here in Canada tends to be quite fair and relatively unbiased (compared to many other national papers). When I originally suggested the link, it was one of the better articles currently online. As more information became available, the story would be revised. At the time not everything was known, however.

  49. I totally agree with Teresa; I was starting to get pissed off with some of your comments talking about one sided report.

    I really wonder if you ppl had ever travelled foreign countries before, otherwise, I wish you guys just kept quiet.

    Some of you said it’s unclear whether the guy had shown any agressive motion or not, but think about it for just 10 sec. Do you think the guy, who had waited patiently for nearly 10 hrs(with airplain, almost 20 hr) had gone agressive as soon as he saw 3 police officers pointing a gun at him?

    As one of international student living in Vancouver, I know how slowly and loosly Canadian works at their job.

    Try to fit yourself in his mom’s shoes. YOu requested to locate your son, and then they tell you that your son ‘seems’ not to be here after frieking 7 hours(Are all officiers in airport crippled or what? I would have found him myself within 1hr. it’s obvious they didn’t make any attempts to find the son, and probably had made a stupid anouncement in ‘ENGLISH’ for the son who ‘does not speak English at all’). Further more, they tell you that your son is shot to death 3 hours later.

    What would you do in that situation if you were him? In my eyes you ppl just seem like you are justifying and finding excuses for those retarded Canadian apeared in the article.

    Fine, it’s your country, and it’s your people.

    But plz remember this. As much as you think about this article being unfair, there are plenty(more then you can possibly immagine) of things you ppl never understand about immigrants and foreign ppl as Canadians.

  50. WTF? Hw th hll r y rtrdd gys dcssng whthr thy shld hv sd tsr gn r nt?

    Sht th F.. Plz! Y r gnn kll m by hdk!!

    H ws nvr vlnt, y stpd mrns. H wtd pcflly fr 20 hrs!(ncldng rpln.) nd y tthnk h wnt r f hs mnd ll f sddnt?

    xctly, wht th h. s tht thng hngng bv yr sldr? s tht brn r rck?

    Thnk bfr y pst yr cmmnts!

    knw ‘m wrng t wrt ths knd f mtnl pc, bt y ppl rlly mk m sck.

    ‘m frd(srsly, m.) y ppl wll ltr gv plc prmssn t sht dwn ny mmgrnts n mttr wht thy dd.

    Wht btfl cntry, hh?

  51. Honestly police have way to much power! The poor man (first time outside of Poland!!) was stuck in that airport for hours on end..worried about where his mother was and not being able to eat or drink. Obviously looking lost but no one took ten minutes out of there day to help this poor man.
    Ive been in a airport where I didnt know the language and I was lost, my flight was delayed for three hours and it was SO frustrating. There is nothing you can say, and when you do say something you just look silly.
    Now imagine being on a long flight from poland to vancouver (at least 14 hours) and then waiting in the aiport for TEN hours, with no one to help you. What would you do smile and grin through it?? no I dont think so.
    The Police took action way to soon! Three men on one poor guy, o dear he had a stapler!! The police are ignorant fools and should be charged to the fullest extent. The police KNEW the man did not speak english and they told him two english commands then decided to attack him! RyanH Im guessing you havnt travelled much and havnt experianced what it is like to be the foreginer. You are ignorant and shouldn’t speak on a topic you dont know about.

  52. This is horrible and heartbreaking. The man had just gotten off a 15 hour flight to be detained for another 10 hrs alone with no clue what was going on. Wouldn’t you be throwing stuff around too if you saw cops coming in after how long and could not understand what is going on. Those cops should be locked up for what they did. A Canadian witness said she saw them taser him 4 TIMES. The last two at the same time and had offered to be a witness to what she just witnessed. Of course the cops ignored her after telling her to hold on a minute. What a bunch of crooked cops.

  53. Richmond BC RCMP – there will be no justice. Because the guy was polish, it will be swept under the rug. That’s how it’s done here in Canada, when a poor person is killed. If the person was rich, it would be a different story. they would hire a lawyer, and the police would be punished.

    In Canada, if you can’t afford a lawyer, you can go tohell. If you can afford a lawyer, you can get away with murder.

  54. Ok, I think many institutions throughout the world have forgotten the principles and purposes they were created for. As in:

    We have police departments to provide US, the citizens, with the service of keeping us safe from whatever situations can arise at certain moments in certain places, be it preventing such situations or solving them and ultimately if things do go wrong then investigating them.

    We have airports to provide US, the citizens, the users, the travelers with the way to enter other countries (that actually want us to go and spend out money there). IN SUM, WE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT PAY BIG AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO TRAVEL TO OTHER PLACES AS A RESPONSE TO, AND MOTIVATED BY, ADVERTISEMENTS AND PROMOTIONAL OFFERS, TELLING US TO DO SO TO ENJOY A VACATION OR OTHER.


    So, they tell us we are all going global and that it is supposed to be good. Nice! All that means is that you will never know exactly at what airport of which city you might end up spread out face down to the ground and breathing hard (if at all) just because you did not understand a question in an unknown language to us and had an anxiety attack (it was obvious this man was hyperventilating) after only 10 hours of holding you in an investigation room for no apparent reason.

    Since going global will generate more travelers and the direct benefits would go to the government’s, airports and airlines of the visited countries, I suggest that THE AIRPORT SERVICE FEE SHOULD INCLUDE AND COMPLY WITH THE ABILITY AND OBLIGATION TO PROMPTLY PRODUCE AN INTERPRETER TO ASSIST US “THE CITIZENS” IN SITUATIONS LIKE THIS IN ORDER TO AVOID MORE TRAGEDIES. This is what this is a tragedy by the negligence of airport personnel in interested or involved enough to try to understand and be understood by this person.

    It seems like everyone is so busy trying to play Rambo that they are all “creating their own imaginary bad guy that will provide them with the instant gratification of earning a hero medal and become the world’s saver”.

    Ignorance, egos and total disregard for human life are involved here.

    If we are going global, if you want us to travel and to spend our money in your countries whichever these may be, if the airports want us to pay their service fees, etc. etc. etc., make sure the services and facilities are in compliance with the kind of consideration, respect and good service we should be giving to the people of the rest of the world.


    As a matter of fact, did anyone wonder if this man, after being held for 10 hours or more, was hungry, thirsty, tired, needed a medication, or any of those things we HUMAN BEINGS sometimes feel and need? Maybe not…after all he was just that…another foreign traveler.

  55. – just adding to Traveler’s cogent comments:
    The late Mr,D’s timeline:

    5hrs [bus ride in Poland to airport]
    + 10hrs [flight]+ 10hrs [stuck in airport holding
    area sans water/food]
    = dehydration
    – – –


    Delirium is a state of mental confusion that develops
    quickly and usually fluctuates in intensity.


    Delirium is a syndrome, or group of symptoms, caused
    by a disturbance in the normal functioning of the
    brain. The delirious patient has a reduced awareness
    of and responsiveness to the environment, which may be
    manifested as disorientation, incoherence, and memory
    disturbance. Delirium is often marked by
    hallucinations, delusions, and a dream-like state.


    There are a large number of possible causes of
    delirium. Metabolic disorders are the single most
    common cause, accounting for 20-40% of all cases.

    This type of delirium, termed “metabolic
    encephalopathy,” may result from organ failure,
    including liver or kidney failure. Other metabolic
    causes include diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism and
    hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiencies, and imbalances
    of fluids and electrolytes in the blood.

    Severe dehydration can also cause delirium…

  56. “Thou shall not kill”.

    How can I emphasize this phrase more? What the police did, was very wrong. Communication was something they were lacking. They could of brought in an interpreter.

    I am Croatian but born in Canada. My parents immigrated here many years ago and I know what it was like for them. Coming to a new country and not knowing anyone, just imagine this and with little money but they worked so hard all their lives to build a life for their family and do you want to know something? My parents gave us everything we ever wanted and taught us good morals and values that we will carry for the rest of our lives.

    This Polish man will never be able to start a family or make a living in Canada because he is vanished from this earth because of a wrong decision by 4 police officers.

    What image of Canada will other immigrants have of our Country now?

    Violence is not the answer!

  57. This is just Heartbreaking. No more tasering! Give a valium shot, give them something to calm them, do not kill with restranting them, or shackeling them, or tasering. Too dangerous.This is so so So tragic. He didn’t Speak English! He was scared to death. Seeing the video of him spinning around in pain is just flat out heart wrenching! Please- Pray for his Mother! So Sad.

  58. NOEN #37 Thanks for making a good point.

    BOUR3 #40: Let’s evaluate what that statement might look like a few years from now:
    When are people going to learn you can’t act out at [insert location here] and in [insert vehicle/building here]?

    Where does it stop?

  59. You know I’ve read most of your comments and I’m saddened to see that all you people are very accomplished at articulating the symptoms of the problem. “What the police did was very,very wrong!”
    “They didn’t have to taser him!”, “Could they see he didn’t speak English!”
    When are you going to start articulating the “roots” of the problem.
    As I see it, the root of the problem is that a growing percentage of police are out of control.
    A lot of cops go out “wanting” to taser somebody. That’s no bull. Why didn’t they use their Mace?
    When they didn’t have tasers they used their mace regardless if it was necessary or not. Now!, they’ve got another “non-lethal” (apparently not) weapon in their arsenal. They figure they’ve been tased in training and it didn’t kill them but the seem to be ignorant of the fact that they weren’t under mental, emotional and physical duress to begin with.
    These morons think they are “Judge Dread” (see the movie). They make turns without using their signals. They blow through red lights even though we can see they are not “rushing” to an emergency. They’ll pull us over and give us a ticket for having a light out when they have a light out on their vehicle they very same time they’re giving the ticket.
    If you question them they consider you a threat and will go as far as killing you if you don’t cooperate fully “in their perception”. Most cops lift weights regularly and in the weight lifting world steroids are common place. I know I’ve been there.

    Now I don’t want to hear that Cops jobs are more dangerous or tougher than other jobs because there are jobs more dangerous and tougher. I know of several jobs that are more dangerous and tougher to do. A couple of them I have even engaged that were extremely dangerous and ladden with emotional a mental stress as well.

    The following facts are increasingly evident.

    Over the last 3 decades we’ve seen an increase in angry violent males most under the age of 40. This is primarily do to fatherless homes. In the last decade alone and for the first time in history we’ve seen children going crazy and perpetrating mass murders and please don’t respond by saying “It’s the guns!”. Automatic (pull trigger and a lot of bullets fire) and Semi-Automatic (need to repeatedly pull trigger for bullets to fire) guns weren’t just invented a decade ago. Guns don’t decide that they’re going to drive themselves to a school and kill people.
    Guns are inanimate objects.
    Over the last decade we’ve seen individuals with our Governmental structure take more of “our” money for their own purposes and in the same fell swoop of a pen take more of our God given rights without any input from us and when we try to have input we are ignored. Why is this happening?
    That is a question we should all be asking ourselves and reflecting on, “where in our country’s history this started”.

    One key factor is that a “Godless Country” is a tyrannical country! This is caused when men and woman who don’t belive in the priciples of God think themselves better in some manner than others.
    Whether or not people want to believe this…there are people in our governmental offices and agencies that want “power”
    and will do and say and sacrifice anybody to get it. They are the the definition of evil. Those people will prosper if nobody shines a light on them. How do we do that. By having our Printed Press(Newspaper Reporters), radio talk shows and Tv news people tell us “who” the person or persons are that instituted/implemented a “rule” or “regulation” or what Legislator put forth a Resolution or Bill or, who put them up to doing it.
    It’s the only way to stop this slide into an abyss of Tyranny and Governmental Brutality.

    The Police are just one small example if you will, and symptom of the decay of our society.

    Those people in any position of power “that we’ve given them!”, and that have no belief system and that don’t embrace truth and honesty or don’t believe in the sanctity (holiness of life) of life or have any no real Moral Values and, that will lie to us during Election time or, if they’ve been caught doing something scandalous or illegal that, with the cooperation of allies usually blame others and, destroy those lives of those they’ve blamed to maintain their power.
    That’s a very good example of an evil individual.
    I’ve said enough for now but I would like to end with saying one last thing

    People “WAKE UP!”

  60. A few questions here, for the police. When did they feel threatened by him? Was it after he dropped the stapler he was carrying and approached them? Perhaps it was when he threw his arms in the air, as in a SURRENDERING gesture? Or, of all the gutless and cowardly moves of all, was it when he TURNED HIS BACK TO THEM? I’m pretty sure it was when he turned his back to them, because approximately 5 seconds later, he had 50,000 volts running through his body. I’m sorry for the mans family, friends, and loved ones that 4 of our RCMP “officers” could not subdue an unarmed man WITH HIS FUCKING BACK TO THEM!!!!! They could have easily tackled him, or if they were feeling really lazy, take his knee out with the club. I’m sure his family and friends would rather have this man limping around Kamloops than dead!

  61. While tasering him ONCE seemed ok, according to the video, I wonder why they did it a 2nd time, when the guy looked like he was complying?
    Regardless, he was clearly out of control before police arrived, and without English, obviously very difficult to communicate with.
    Having said that, why would he travel here from Europe UNACCOMPANIED when he 1} had current mental health problems; 2} never travelled internationally before, and 3}didn’t understand English enough to travel alone?
    It’s unfortunate and it’s tragic, and while it will never be over for his family and friends, it is indeed OVER, as far as justification.
    Let it, and the particpants, rest.

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