Mute man ejected from court seeks charges against sheriffs
The hard of hearing, mute man who was thrown out of a Red Deer, Alta., courthouse wants to see more action against all the sheriffs who restrained him.
Billy Berry, 52, requested an investigation into the five sheriffs who stopped him after he accidentally entered the wrong door of the courthouse in February when he tried to pay a ticket.
One investigation by the solicitor general's office found the sheriff that first approached him, Thomas Bounds, used "excessive" and "unjustified" force against Berry.
However, a recent investigation by the office of the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General ruled the other four sheriffs used an appropriate amount of force.
A courthouse struggle
Surveillance footage shows Bounds grabbing and dragging Berry back to the exit.
Berry, a throat cancer survivor who breathes through a tube in his neck, fell to the ground as Bounds manhandled him.
Four more sheriffs then arrived to assist Bounds, holding Berry down on the ground.
During the altercation Berry’s breathing tube became dislodged, putting him in medical distress. Another sheriff replaced it.
Berry tried to communicate through hand signals as he lay convulsing on the floor.
"He expects justice," his wife said for Berry. "That’s what he wants. That’s what he needs."
Alberta Justice ruling
Don McDermid, a sheriff appeals delegate, said in a report he doesn't believe the four other sheriffs caused Berry’s breathing tube to be dislodged.
"I do not conclude that by placing his knee on your left thigh, whether instinctively to gain a measure of control of you in your considerable medical distress or inadvertently, would have caused you to go into convulsions," McDermid wrote in the report.
Berry said he’d like to see all five sheriffs admit they were wrong – and each face a charges of aggravated assault.
None of the five sheriffs were ever charged by police.
The 52-year-old said he’s exhausted his legal options and now he's not sure what he'll do next.