The RCMP officer who was a key spokesperson for the force in the hours after the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski – an incident that raised lingering questions about the RCMP’s use of force – was found dead earlier this week in his home in Abbotsford.
The B.C. Coroners Service confirmed the death of 55-year-old Sergeant Pierre Lemaitre, but is not ready to identify the cause or classification. He died on July 29.
“His death was reported to us on Monday morning, and we are investigating,” said Barb McLintock, media spokesperson for the Coroners Service.
Lemaitre was the public face of the RCMP on Oct. 14, 2007, the day Mr. Dziekanski died after being tasered by officers at the Vancouver International Airport. He testified at the Braidwood Inquiry into the RCMP’s handling of the incident, telling the inquiry he had only been passing on information approved for release by his superiors.
Many of the RCMP’s initial statements were later revealed to be inaccurate after a video taken by a civilian witness became public.
On the afternoon of July 29, the same day Sgt. Lemaitre was found dead, one of the RCMP officers involved in the tasering was acquitted by the B.C. Supreme Court of perjuring himself at the Braidwood Inquiry.
After working in the RCMP’s E-Division communications office, Sgt. Lemaitre was most recently working for the traffic services unit.
“Out of respect for Pierre and his family’s privacy, we are not commenting at this time,” said Sergeant Rob Vermeulen, the RCMP’s senior media relations officer for B.C.