May 9, 2009
By NADIA MOHARIB, SUN MEDIA
CALGARY -- As officials try to determine whether a Mountie's actions were justified, the family of a man who died during an arrest in Brooks this week are coming to grips with their loss.
Yesterday, Brooks Mayor Martin Shields - who knew Grant William Prentice, the 40-year-old who died after police tried to use a Taser to subdue him - said it's difficult for the entire community of 14,000, about 170 km southeast of Calgary.
Prentice's father, Bill, is a member of city council.
"The family is in a state of dealing with the tragedy," Shields said. "You feel for the people closest to him and you also feel for police attempting to do their job.
"They're part of the community, too."
The Alberta Serious Response Team, an independent body, is investigating the circumstances of Prentice's death, which happened Wednesday evening shortly after he was found knocking on the homes of strangers in a quiet cul-de-sac.
Witnesses said he was obviously in need of medical help.
A woman left Prentice, with blood on his face, at her front door while she went to summon aid and a neighbour tried to help. Witnesses said he appeared disoriented and became agitated when police arrived.
Witnesses said Prentice was aggressive with police and, despite repeated warnings, did not surrender and was eventually thrown to the ground and overpowered.
Ultimately, witnesses said, it took five officers to subdue Prentice, who was pronounced dead a short time later.
ASIRT executive director Clifton Purvis said part of the investigation will determine if bids to use the Taser worked and if officers' actions were justified.
Prentice had convictions dating back to the late '80s and early 1990s for drug trafficking, possession and resisting arrest but friends said he was not a violent man.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Saturday, May 09, 2009
May 9, 2009