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Monday, July 13, 2009

Officer testifies that Hyde reached for weapon as he struggled with police

July 13, 2009

HALIFAX, N.S. — A Halifax police officer testifying today at a fatality inquiry says a man who died 30 hours after being Tasered reached for a cutting tool as they were booking him.

Const. Jonathan Edwards says Howard Hyde became agitated in the early hours of Nov. 21, 2007, at police headquarters as they were trying to remove a string from his shorts with the device.

Edwards says a four-inch serrated blade on the tool was not drawn, a fact disputed by a lawyer for Hyde's family who says the 45-year-old schizophrenic became agitated and struggled with officers when he saw the device.

The inquiry is examining the events surrounding Hyde's death and saw a video last week showing police Tasering him multiple times as he called out that he did nothing wrong and was sorry.

Edwards also says there was an unlocked drawer full of knives and other weapons in the area where officers wrestled with Hyde.

But the officer failed to mention either fact in his police notes or reports, and also claimed that he didn't hear colleagues say over the radio just before he arrested Hyde that he was "very mentally unstable."

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