Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City cop pleads not guilty in alleged assault on suspect

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A Winnipeg police officer has denied any wrongdoing in an alleged assault on a car-theft suspect that left the man suffering serious injuries.

Const. Ryan Law began his week-long trial Monday by pleading not guilty to aggravated assault. He was arrested in 2009 after an internal investigation into an incident several months earlier.

Henry Lavallee claims Law kicked him in the stomach and sent him to hospital for emergency care. He has filed a civil lawsuit against the officer, which remains before the courts.

Lavallee, 48, is expected to take the witness stand as early as today. His doctor will also testify. Lavallee has an extensive criminal record, which will likely lead to his credibility being challenged by defence lawyers Richard Wolson and Saul Simmonds.

In his civil court affidavit, Lavallee alleged an "unprovoked and brutal" assault by police after he and a friend were arrested for breaking into a vehicle. Lavallee claims he was attacked as he was pulled out of a police cruiser to be led into the Public Safety Building. He said he was placed in a lockup room, where he lay on the floor until Law entered and allegedly kicked him in the abdomen.

Lavallee alleges he requested medical care but was refused until he arrived at the Remand Centre and began vomiting blood. The statement of claim said Lavallee was rushed to St. Boniface Hospital, where he received emergency surgery. It said police used "an excessive amount of physical force in restraining" him, and the alleged assault has caused pain and disability.

The claim also names former police chief Keith McCaskill as a defendant. Law, who joined the police service in 2006, is McCaskill's nephew.

-- Mike McIntyre


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 27, 2012 B2

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