An Edmonton officer has been found not guilty of assaulting an Oilers fan while her hands were cuffed behind her back during 2006 Stanley Cup playoff celebrations.
Const. Shane Connor was internally charged with discreditable conduct and unlawful or unnecessary use of authority stemming from an arrest he made on June 18, 2006 on Whyte Avenue.
The discreditable conduct charge was withdrawn last month and Connor was cleared of the other charge yesterday as there “was no circumstantial evidence that proved he used unnecessary force” that went above and beyond police policy, read the disciplinary judge yesterday.
“He just wants the matter to be put behind him and he just wants to get back to work,” defence lawyer Alex Pringle told reporters while Connor was standing behind him. Connor did not comment on the case.
“He’s obviously very pleased with the decision,” said Pringle.
Twenty-one witnesses were called, including the Oilers fan, Kristen Wilson, who testified she only had a few drinks before she was arrested by Connor.
According to previous testimony, words were exchanged between the two after Wilson briefly got away from Connor while her hands were bound behind her back.
Seconds later, the officer allegedly struck the woman with an open-handed hand-stun before applying a takedown in plain view of Globe and Mail and Edmonton Journal photographers.
Despite Wilson’s testimony about the level of alcohol she consumed, witnesses described her as being a belligerent drunk who was verbally abusive with police.
In his ruling, Halifax-based RCMP assistant Commissioner Ian Atkins says the level of force Connors used was appropriate since Wilson was deemed an active resistor because of her verbal aggressiveness towards police.
Atkins also recommended that the Edmonton Police Service review its use-of-force training policies.
“Standards must be general in nature, but not ambiguous,” read Atkins during his ruling.
Insp. Brad Doucette says the case will make police review all of its training polices.
“This decision speaks for itself,” said Doucette.
Connor has continued to work as a city officer for the last two years.
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