Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Victim' apologizes to police for story

Says he lied about being dumped on city's outskirts

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More than two years after two Winnipeg police officers were accused of taking an aboriginal man on a so-called "starlight" tour, they have been vindicated.

Evan Maud, 22, announced publicly on Thursday he lied when he told the story of the two officers driving him to the city's outskirts, taking his coat, and dumping him to walk back into the city on a cold December 2010 night.

"I feel bad for what I put them through," the slight Maud said quietly reading a brief written statement.

"I never wanted this to happen... I did not intend for this to happen.

"I'm sorry for jeopardizing the reputation of the Winnipeg Police Service... I'm also deeply sorry to their friends and colleagues for having them doubt and question them.

"I want to say sorry and thank you for listening."

Maud also hoped his actions wouldn't discourage people with legitimate concerns about the police from coming forward.

Maud then was escorted from the room at Onashowewin, an agency that runs an aboriginal restorative justice program, without taking any questions from reporters.

Maud made national headlines when he came forward to announce what two police officers had allegedly done to him. As well, Maud alleged he was kicked off a Winnipeg Transit bus when he got to the city.

But Maud's allegations quickly came into question -- and he was charged with mischief -- when it was determined the GPS unit in the officers' cruiser showed it had never left the city. As well, video recordings on two transit buses showed Maud as a passenger when he claimed to be walking back into the city.

The apology was given as part of a mediation process in which the mischief charge would be dropped in return.

While apologizing, Maud did not explain why he made up the story.

Maud's uncle, Josaph, said he didn't know why his nephew lied about what happened to him, while acting Supt. Bill Fogg of the Winnipeg Police Service said he wouldn't say if the entire story was made up or if the officers had even met Maud that night.

"It's between him and the Creator," Josaph Maud said. "I don't know what happened to him that night. It was his birthday."

"In deference to Evan, I am hesitant to speak about the allegations," Fogg said. "He made a mistake and very quickly it spun out of control."

But Josaph Maud said his nephew has advanced himself since December 2010, by finishing Grade 12 and getting his welding certifications.

George Van Mackehlbergh, vice-president of the Winnipeg Police Association, said the two officers and his membership accept the apology.

"We are very happy with this outcome," Van Mackehlbergh said. "Sometimes you just make a bad decision. I congratulate Evan on his bravery."

Ron Evans, former grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and now chief of the Norway House House First Nation, said "I wish Evan a good future.

"Hopefully, he will become a role model for a lot of people."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 22, 2013 A4

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