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'That never happened,' testifies cop accused of assault

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TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES
Const. Ryan Law is on trial for allegedly kicking Henry Lavallee (above) in the stomach.

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TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Const. Ryan Law is on trial for allegedly kicking Henry Lavallee (above) in the stomach.

Questioned about his movements, the content of his notes and his conduct towards the prisoner he's accused of severely assaulting, Winnipeg police Const. Ryan Law is remaining firm: he did not harm Henry Lavallee.

"That didn't happen. That never happened," Law told independent prosecutor Kerry UnRuh Thursday under cross-examination at his aggravated assault trial when asked if he made a "pitstop" to kick Lavallee in the gut on his way to his sergeant's office.

Law has pleaded not guilty to kicking Lavallee, 49, as he lay on the floor of a Public Safety Building holding room on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 2008.

Hours after Lavallee left police custody, around 7:30 p.m., he had to be rushed from the Winnipeg Remand Centre to undergo emergency surgery for a tear in his bowel.

The surgeon who operated on Lavallee has testified for the Crown that she believes Lavalle had to have been injured within 24 hours of the time he went under the knife at 9 a.m. Nov. 23.

Law took the witness stand in his own defence Wednesday and repeatedly denied assaulting Lavallee, whom Law and his partner had arrested in the Exchange District for breaking into a car.

He described Lavallee as being cooperative with specific police commands but otherwise profane, rude and demeaning towards he and his partner throughout their entire dealings — a period of about 45-50 minutes from time of arrest to the time he was dropped off at the remand centre.

Law admitted making a wisecrack towards Lavallee when seizing his jacket at the jail, something along the lines of asking where he stole it from. Law said, however, the comment wasn't meant to agitate the prisoner.

Neither were any verbal exchanges with Lavallee meant to set off a "war of words," Law said. He did concede he challenged Lavallee over his false claim he had served time for murder.

"It doesn't make any sense when somebody is swearing at you to swear at them back," Law testified. As he did Wednesday, he described how being sworn at and disparaged by virtue of being a police officer is just part of the job.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

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