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Friday, May 13, 2011

Cop sues CBC over Tasered teen story

May 13, 2011
Tony Blais, QMI Agency - Edmonton Sun

EDMONTON - Edmonton police officer Mike Wasylyshen has filed a $100,000 defamation lawsuit against the CBC regarding a TV broadcast about him repeatedly Tasering a city teen.

According to a statement of claim filed in Court of Queen¹s Bench on April 28, Wasylyshen alleges the 2009 broadcast falsely stated he admitted to committing a number of violent and potentially criminal acts.

In particular, Wasylyshen claims the story stated he is a cop with a record for assault who is "admitting to once again crossing the line," which he says implies he has admitted to having committed an assault or other crime.

The 12-year veteran also alleges the April 29, 2009 item on the 6 p.m. TV news stated he had admitted to both having "repeatedly Tasered a passed out teenager then beat him" and having hit the teen so hard on the back of the head with the butt of the Taser that he "snapped off a tooth when he landed face first on the ground."

According to the statement of claim, the broadcast, when taken as a whole, is defamatory because it falsely states Wasylyshen has admitted to having used unreasonable and excessive force towards a defenseless teenager when carrying out his duties as a police officer.

A statement of defence has not yet been filed. Statements of claim and statements of defence contain allegations which have not been proven in court.

Wasylyshen is currently before a police disciplinary hearing regarding the 2002 Tasering incident on internal charges of unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority and insubordination, and is awaiting a decision.

According to agreed facts, Wasylyshen and four other officers were dispatched to a complaint of a group trying to steal a parked car on Oct. 5, 2002, near Abbottsfield Road.

The cops ordered the people out of the car and three of four people inside exited, but Randy Fryingpan, then 16, was passed out in the back seat from drinking and did not respond to the order to get out of the car.

Wasylyshen then deployed his Taser on Fryingpan eight times in 68 seconds "in what appeared to be an effort to remove the passed-out youth from the vehicle," according to the Law Enforcement Review Board decision.

At the disciplinary hearing, Wasylyshen testified he Tasered Fryingpan six times, not eight, and maintained it was an appropriate use of force.

Wasylyshen, 35, was fined $500 and given a criminal record on April 16, 2009 for a Dec, 18, 2005 off-duty incident on Whyte Avenue where he drunkenly punched a man on crutches he called a "cripple," and threatened to burn down the home of a security guard who helped him.

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