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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Calgary man sues police

December 16, 2009

A Calgary man is suing the Calgary Police Service two years after he was Tasered.

In December of 2007, police were called to a disturbance at Shanks Sports Grill.

Nicholas Ashe was attending a staff Christmas party and went outside for a cigarette.

Ashe saw police arrive and says he was approached by a group of people asking him for a light.

Ashe says that's when one officer grabbed him and put him in a headlock. "The other officer grabbed my right arm and tried to twist it around my back. As he was doing that, that's when the Taser went off and I felt a sharp pain in my chest. I went down to the ground."

Ashe tried to communicate that there was some misunderstanding but he says nobody would listen.

Ashe says he was Tasered twice and taken to hospital by ambulance.

Police did lay criminal charges against Nicholas Ashe for assaulting a police officer and obstructing justice but those charges were dismissed in court.

In his ruling, the judge said he believed Ashe's version of events. The judge was also sharply critical of police.

Ashe and his lawyer have now filed a lawsuit seeking $100,000 in damages plus unspecified special damages.

"There's really two main parts to the claim. The first being that a number of things were done that were negligent by police and they didn't carry out the duties that they ought to have done. Beyond that though there's a specific claim that the criminal prosecution that was brought against Mr. Ashe was done maliciously," says Michael Bates, the lawyer for Ashe.

Chief Rick Hanson is also named in the lawsuit. "At the end of the day we'll defend our actions in court. And, as I say, it's a job that requires officers to make a split second decision on the use of force and in the vast, vast majority of circumstances they make the right decision."

The Calgary Police Service has yet to file a statement of defence in the case.

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