Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

End of lawsuit against an RCMP officer

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An image taken from a video taken by the father of the arrested man shows a RCMP officer placing his knee on his neck during his arrest, August 1, 2019. (File photo)


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The assault charge against a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer who put his knee on a man's neck for more than three minutes during an arrest in Winnipeg has been stayed.

Crown prosecutor Rustyn Ullrich said prosecutors made the decision after a thorough review of the case during a hearing before Provincial Court Judge Brent Stewart on November 3.

The charge stems from an incident captured on cellphone video on August 1, 2019, outside Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg, where a police officer is seen kneeling on the neck of a man on the ground during an arrest, as he begs him to let him breathe.

The RCMP officer was charged with assault in 2022, following an assessment by the Manitoba Independent Investigation Unit.

The Crown is no longer convinced that there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction – and that is why we will stay the proceedings, Mr. Ullrich said.

By email, a spokesperson for the province notes that the prosecution was compromised by the fact that Judge Brent Stewart raised credibility issues surrounding the testimony of the arrested man as well as the fact that surveillance images show that the latter was aggressive before his arrest.

The Crown's examination of the video, the fact that [the man] did not was not considered credible during his testimony and that he was considered the aggressor supports the Crown's conclusion that there is no reasonable probability of conviction against the police officer.

Explanation behind stay of charge fails to convince former director of Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, Ian Scott, who has reviewed details of the case .

He deplores that this decision sends a very disturbing message. If I were a citizen of Manitoba, I would wonder if there isn't a double standard when it comes to police pursuits.

This is a case that could be judged almost exclusively on the basis of the video, which is pretty indisputable evidence. There are plenty of cases that go to trial where there are problems with the victims or the complainants, argues Ian Scott.

Just because someone is initially aggressive does not mean police are allowed to use disproportionate force in response.

At the arrested man's trial, Provincial Court Judge Dave Mann found him guilty of assaulting a man at the airport and the two officers who responded to the arrest. incident, but acknowledged that his right to personal safety was violated during his arrest due to the length of time the officer's knee remained on his neck.

For former head of Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, video of arrest demands explanation.

I think this could erode public trust in the province.

A quote from Ian Scott, former director of the Ontario Special Investigations Unit

There is no good reason to withdraw this charge and with this video , it will be very difficult for a member of the public to understand why this case has not gone to trial, he believes.

With information from Caitlyn Gowriluk


By admin

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