Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Constable admits wisecrack, not assault

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Henry  Lavallee underwent emergency surgery for a bowel tear the day after his arrest.  He alleges Winnipeg police Const. Brian Law  assaulted him, but  the officer  denies it.

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Henry Lavallee underwent emergency surgery for a bowel tear the day after his arrest. He alleges Winnipeg police Const. Brian Law assaulted him, but the officer denies it.

Questioned about his physical movements, the substance of his official notes and his treatment of a suspect he's accused of severely assaulting, Const. Ryan Law stood firm.

"I did not harm Henry Lavallee," the Winnipeg police officer said Thursday under cross-examination at his aggravated-assault trial.

"That didn't happen. That never happened," Law told independent Crown prosecutor Kerry UnRuh when challenged about a suspected "pit stop" to kick Lavallee in the gut on his way to his sergeant's office at the Public Safety Building.

Law, 30, has pleaded not guilty to kicking Lavallee, 49, in the stomach as he lay on the floor of a PSB holding room on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 2008.

Hours after Lavallee left police custody, he was taken to St. Boniface Hospital from the Winnipeg Remand Centre. He underwent emergency surgery for a tear in his bowel.

The surgeon who operated on him testified she believes he was injured within 24 hours of the surgery at 9 a.m. Nov. 23.

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

He described Lavallee as co-operating with police commands, but profane, rude and disparaging toward him and his partner during the approximately 45 to 50 minutes from when he was arrested to when he was dropped off at the remand centre.

Law admitted making a wisecrack to Lavallee when seizing his jacket as evidence at the jail, along the lines of asking him where he stole it.

Law said that comment wasn't meant to agitate Lavallee, nor were any verbal exchanges he had with him meant to start a "war of words."

"It doesn't make any sense when somebody is swearing at you to swear at them back," Law testified.

As he did Wednesday, Law told UnRuh it's a normal part of policing to be sworn at and disparaged by suspects.

He conceded he challenged Lavallee about a false claim Lavallee made that he had done time for murder.

UnRuh questioned why Law only made a note that Lavallee threatened to "have lawyers get us" after the alleged kicking incident. Lavallee made that or similar comments several times during the time Law and his partner dealt with him that day, Law replied.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 6, 2013 A7

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