Coroner’s inquest called into death of B.C. RCMP officer in Taser case
Human Resources british columbia Mental Health occupational health and safety PTSD RCMP suicide
VICTORIA – A coroner’s inquest will be held into the suicide of an RCMP officer who was in charge of media relations in British Columbia when Robert Dziekanski was fatally stunned with a Taser at Vancouver’s airport.
Pierre Lemaitre was 55 years old and a sergeant with the Mounties when he died by suicide at his home in Abbotsford in July 2013.
At the time, Lemaitre was posted to the RCMP’s traffic services division but he had been the officer in charge of RCMP media relations when Dziekanski was shocked with a Taser in October 2007.
Lemaitre’s initial accounts described Dziekanski as being distraught and behaving irrationally, adding that RCMP officers used two bursts of the Taser to immobilize him.
Video later surfaced that appeared to contradict those accounts and an inquiry into Dziekanski’s death was told that Lemaitre had watched portions of the video before issuing the first news release about the incident.
The B.C. Coroners Service said the inquest into Lemaitre’s death will begin Nov. 19 in Burnaby.
Coroners Service spokesman Andy Watson said the issues of post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health in the workplace have been the subject of public discussion lately.
“I think in this case after reviewing the information from the coroner’s investigation, the chief coroner directed this inquest so there is an opportunity to review the circumstances of Mr. Lemaitre’s death and to explore whether there are opportunities for a fact finding jury to make recommendations that might prevent deaths in similar circumstances,” he said.