A former RCMP media spokesperson who provided the first public statements following the Taser-related death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver Airport in 2007 died Monday in his Abbotsford home.
The cause of death has not been released for Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre, who most recently was working for the RCMP E division traffic services.
Lemaitre held a press conference on Oct. 14, 2007 to address the incident that had occurred earlier that day in which Dziekanski died after being Tasered by police. Four officers had been deployed to the airport after reports that Dziekanski was causing a disturbance.
As the media spokesperson at the time, Lemaitre was the first officer to address the media about the incident.
Video footage shot by a witness contradicted much of what was relayed to the media. Lemaitre – and the RCMP as a whole – were criticized for inaccuracies in their reports, with some saying they had deliberately misled the public.
Lemaitre testified in April 2009 at the Braidwood public inquiry into Dziekanski’s death.
Inquiry commissioner Thomas Braidwood concluded in his final report that Lemaitre had not intentionally disclosed inaccurate information about Dziekanski’s death and that he was later prevented by a superior from correcting the public record.
The four officers involved in the Dziekanski death were all charged with perjury for their testimony at the inquiry. The first of them to be tried – Const. Bill Bentley – was found not guilty on Monday, the same day that Lemaitre died.
Lemaitre joined the RCMP in 1984. His postings over the years included Kamloops, Cranbrook, Langley and Bella Coola.