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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Senior: Cop 'enraged' during Taser incident

April 26, 2011
Toronto Sun

CALGARY - In often animated testimony, a Calgary senior told court Tuesday how he feared for his life at the hands of a city cop before being felled by the officer's Taser.

Aitchley Ferguson, now 76, said he had no idea why Const. Daryn Swanson attempted to arrest him two years ago after pulling him over for not wearing a seatbelt.

"He kicked my gut out of me," the septuagenarian told Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon of the April 17, 2009, attack near Ferguson's northeast Calgary home.

"Boom, boom, boom, boom, like that," Ferguson said, after stepping from the witness box and showing four consecutive kicking motions.

"He was enraged."

Swanson faces charges of assault with a weapon and causing bodily harm.

Ferguson said his problems began when he exited his vehicle after Swanson seized his driver's licence, but left him holding his registration and insurance.

He said he approached the officer's cruiser to hand over the documents and ask to go to the washroom when Swanson ordered him back to his car and then assaulted him.

"He grabbed me by my left arm ... there was nothing I could do," the native of Jamaica said.

After he repeatedly kicked Ferguson the officer radioed for backup, the witness said.

"I said, 'good God man, you're going to kill me,' ... then he called for a backup -- that saved my life."

Before additional officers arrived Swanson had knocked Ferguson to his knees.

"After that he (drew) the Taser ... and he shot me twice," Ferguson said.

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Willie deWit, Ferguson denied resisting the officer.

Meanwhile, a neighbour of Ferguson said he witnessed most of the altercation, including seeing the man shocked to the ground.

While his version of events often contradicted Ferguson's, Glenn Schmidt was certain of one thing -- Swanson never explained why he was arresting the senior.

Schmidt said Swanson twice knocked Ferguson to the ground, cuffing him on the second occasion, but his neighbour got up each time.

"There was no commands to stay down, to stop moving ... all that was said was 'you're under arrest,'" he told deWit.

When Ferguson got up a second time and was flailing his arms, Swanson fired twice with his Taser, felling him with the second shot.

"I thought (he'd) killed him an I was like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe what I just saw," Schmidt said.

The trial, set for three days, continues.

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