Alleges excessive force was after routine stop
An Edmonton man claims he was needlessly pepper sprayed, clubbed and punched by police five years ago when he believed he was already free to drive away after being pulled over.
Richard Eichhorn testified during a provincial law enforcement review hearing yesterday morning that he was pulled over by police after picking up a friend for an indoor game of flag football March 1, 2003.
Eichhorn, who was a group home worker at the time, was pulled over at 101 Street near 106 Avenue, and claims the officer was rude after she accused him of running a red light.
Eichhorn, who is now a teacher, says an argument ensued after he explained he was trying to get around a white van that had remained stopped on a green light.
The man says the officer threatened to give him a stunting ticket for "being rude to a police officer" and accused Eichhorn of ignoring a patrol vehicle that followed him for 16 blocks with its lights flashing, which he denies.
"I asked if it was OK for me to go, then she said, ‘I will get a nice gift in the mail,’ and that was it," he said.
Eichhorn said he drove away down 109 Street, and was swarmed by police vehicles north of Jasper Avenue where he was arrested.
Eichhorn, who is also a former prison guard, says he was pepper sprayed as another officer asked him to leave the vehicle while he was taking off his seat belt.
"I said to him that we were complying and then he took a club to my face," said Eichhorn.
"He jumped on my back and then he punched me, and then he handcuffed me. He then asked other officers if it was a good takedown."
The hearing is scheduled to continue through Friday.