Osoyoos First Nation Mountie still trying to clear his name 12 years after the Robert Dziekanski died - APTN NewsAPTN News

Osoyoos First Nation Mountie still trying to clear his name 12 years after the Robert Dziekanski died

John Murray
APTN Investigates
It was a moment captured on video that shocked an entire nation. The video shows four police officers confronting a man at the Vancouver airport.

Moments later the man is tasered – and died before our eyes.

That confrontation between the four Mounties and Robert Dziekanski led to public outrage.

A dozen years later, after two officers went to jail, one of them says much remains to be known.

Monty Robinson, a member of the Osoyoos First Nation and three fellow RCMP officers, Kwesi Millington, Bill Bentley, and Gerry Rundel, responded to a call about a distraught and disoriented passenger on October 14, 2007 at 1:25 a.m.

(Former Mountie Monty Robinson has been on a campaign to clear is name after being convicted of perjury. Photo: APTN Investigates)

They had received reports that a suspect was agitated and damaging property.

Dziekanski had travelled from Poland to Canada to reunite with his mother, Zofia Cisowski, who had been living in British Columbia since 1999.

He never got to see her.

After a brief back and forth with officers, a Taser was used and within minutes Dziekanski lay on the floor dying.

The public thought the truth was revealed in the inquiry, trials and appeals that followed.

But even after two cops went to jail, the public is still learning more.

Two police officers are still fighting to defend their choices and actions that night at the Vancouver International Airport.

The other two settled civil lawsuits out of court.

The inquiry, led by Justice Thomas Braidwood, found that the four Mounties lied about getting together to get their stories straight.

That led to charges of perjury and in a twist of absurdity, only two officers were convicted on the basis that all four of them conspired.

Curt Petrovich, investigative journalist and author, covered Dziekanski’s death and the events that followed. He wrote Blamed and Broken, a book-length examination of each step in the process.

He concluded the RCMP didn’t do right by the four Mounties.

“Most people think to this day that the officers were convicted based on something they said or did that night,” he said. “That’s not the case. It never was.”

(Curt Petrovich, investigative reporter and author, has followed the events following Dziekanski’s death and found them so complex he needed to write a book. Photo: APTN Investigates)

Robinson has been both a cop and a con.

He says his time in jail was rough.

“They hate cops” Robinson said. “That’s a member’s worst fear, going in to jail with people that just hate your guts.”

The former Mountie went to jail for perjury.

But most of the public believes he went to jail for causing the death of Robert Dziekanski.

He was also convicted of obstruction of justice for his role in a crash between his vehicle and a motorcycle that killed 21-year-old Orion Hutchinson.

Robinson, who had his kids in the backseat, left the scene of the accident to take his kids home and had two shots of vodka before returning to the accident.

His decision to drink alcohol after driving muddled any proof he was an impaired driver. He was charged with obstruction because of that choice. He was convicted in 2012 and given a suspended sentence.

He didn’t go to jail for that either but went to jail because of what he said at the Braidwood Inquiry.

Within months of Dziekanski’s, death a two part inquiry was called.

Part one examined the use of conducted energy weapons, or Tasers as they’re known, in British Columbia.

Part two examined the circumstances of Dziekanski’s death.

(The drill hall at RCMP Depot in Regina, Saskatchewan is among the first experiences for RCMP cadets. Photo: John Murray/APTN Investigates)

The lawyers for the Mounties argued the officers followed protocol and training that day, but by the end of the inquiry, they stood accused of lying to the inquiry about what happened the day Dziekanski died.

“Which is kind of hard for some people to wrap their heads around,” said Petrovich. “Especially people who’ve already made up their minds that these four are just bad cops and they were lying from day one.”

Two officers, Robinson and his Black colleague, Kwesi Millington went to jail and are no longer Mounties.

Gerry Rundel and Bill Bentley were acquitted of the charges and are still active RCMP members.

“You can’t change the facts that there’s two convictions and two acquittals on the same fact pattern,” said Robinson. “And the fact that the white officers are acquitted and the First Nations and Black members went to jail, right. You can’t change that.”

Robinson continues to fight to clear his name. He says he is still uncovering evidence through both access to information and leaks by former colleagues that support the four officer’s claim that they were simply doing their job.

“The fortunate part for myself is I had members willing to give me the material that vindicated me at personal risk to themselves,” said Robinson.

Using this new information Robinson is using every avenue still available to him such as the RCMP Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, email campaigns, and even requesting the RCMP to investigate themselves.

This is Part 1 of a two-part series on policing. In Part 2 APTN Investigates goes to Saskatoon to meet people who have a lot of mistrust of the police and believe they might be labeled bad guys.

jmurray@aptn.ca

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