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Edmonton police officer acquitted of assault with a weapon during arrest

Edmonton police officer acquitted of assault with a weapon during arrest
Edmonton police officer acquitted of assault with a weapon during arrest

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الثلاثاء 23 أبريل 2024 06:10 مساءً

An Edmonton police officer who shot a man with a stun gun during an arrest was found not guilty of assault with a weapon Tuesday.

Court of King's Bench Justice Kent Davidson acquitted Const. Dustin Adsett, 37, for his role in a 2021 arrest in an alleyway in the Ritchie neighbourhood, despite finding that the victim was co-operating with police when he was injured.

"In hindsight, the accused was mistaken. But police are entitled to be wrong when they act reasonably," Davidson said.

During the trial that began earlier this year, Lee Van Beaver testified that he was walking near Ritchie Market on March 23, 2021, when he became concerned that he was being followed by a black vehicle with tinted windows.

Beaver told court he was worried about being attacked, and took a canister of bear spray out of his bag and showed it to the vehicle and then headed down an alley beside the market, near 96th Street.

Court heard the vehicle was an unmarked Edmonton police vehicle, driven by officers who then pursued Beaver in the alley.

Adsett arrived after the initial encounter between Beaver and the first responding officers. Video surveillance showed Beaver surrendered, but was nevertheless arrested in a way that left him with injuries.

At the time, Beaver was wanted on warrants and had a criminal record, but none of the police involved in his arrest knew about his record.

Relying in part on video surveillance footage that captured the arrest, Davidson found that Beaver was generally a reliable witness, and that he believes Beaver surrendered to police and got down on the ground willingly.

The judge found that given the scene Adsett was presented with when he arrived after the arrest was underway, it was reasonable for him to deploy the stun gun.

"I accept that the accused sensed danger and urgency because of the actions of the other officers," the judge said.

A publication ban issued Tuesday restricts what details of the arrest can be reported. A trial for another officer alleged to have been involved in the arrest is scheduled for next year.

Davidson found that while Beaver deserved "more compassion, dignity, respect and empathy" than he was treated with, Adsett shouldn't be the one held responsible for what happened.

Adsett sat next to his defence lawyer Mona Duckett during the decision, and had supporters in the courtroom gallery.

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