Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lawyer challenges credibility of man who accuses police of assault

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THE credibility of a Winnipeg man who says he was viciously assaulted by a police officer has been challenged in court.

Henry Lavallee says he thought he was going to die after he was kicked in the stomach and then underwent emergency surgery following a 2008 arrest.

But Lavallee, 48, was forced to admit Wednesday he is unable to identify his attacker, hates for police and has regularly engaged in name-calling and even spitting in the faces of officers while being arrested and convicted of 57 prior offences.

"Do you call police officers little b --s?" asked defence lawyer Richard Wolson during intense cross-examination. He was referring to notes of his client, Const. Ryan Law, that indicated Lavallee went on a profane tirade at the time of the alleged incident.

"Maybe he is. Maybe you are," Lavallee replied.

"Are you calling me a little b h?" said Wolson.

"Maybe you are," Lavallee answered.

It was just one example of numerous confrontations as Wolson tried to paint Lavallee as a foul-mouthed, cop-hating liar who would say anything to protect himself. At one point, Lavallee began yawning, and Wolson asked, "Am I boring you?"

Law has pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault. He was arrested in 2009 after an internal investigation.

In direct examination Wednesday morning, Lavallee described how he needed surgery to stop the internal bleeding he suffered as a result of the alleged attack. But he was unable to say with certainty that Law was the officer who injured him.

"I didn't know if I was passing out or I was dead," Lavallee told court. "I never felt like that in my life, I was so sore."

Lavallee has alleged an "unprovoked and brutal" assault by police after he and a friend were arrested for breaking into a vehicle while trying to steal beer.

Lavallee said 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 said he requested medical care but was refused until he arrived at the Winnipeg Remand Centre and began vomiting blood.

The trial continues.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 29, 2012 A9

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