Alberta RCMP officers found not guilty of assault in arrest of man carrying a root beer
'It doesn't seem right what they did to me. I know that for sure,' says man who charged officers
A man who alleged three RCMP officers assaulted him at Sylvan Lake nearly five years ago is frustrated the policemen were found not guilty in a Red Deer court Wednesday.
Cpl. Kevin Halwa, Cpl. Dean Purcka and Const. Drew Burchett were charged following the incident in Sylvan Lake on Aug. 20, 2011.
Levi Desjarlais, the complainant who charged the police, told court he was walking around in Sylvan Lake when he was approached by Burchett in a police van. Desjarlais testified he was tackled to the ground, choked and pepper-sprayed.
Burchett testified Tuesday that Desjarlais was carrying an open bottle that he believed was a beer. Burchett admitted that he realized later it was a bottle of root beer.
All three officers denied the charges and the judge cleared them.
"Not only did the judge find them not guilty based on reasonable doubt, he exonerated them," said a statement read by an RCMP spokesman on Wednesday.
Desjarlais still can't believe the policemen were acquitted.
"It doesn't seem right what they did to me," Desjarlais told CBC News. "I know that for sure.
"I was just talking to my mother and she was trying to calm me down. They know what they did wrong."
Furthermore, Desjarlais said the police did use excessive force, and questioned how they got away with it.
"[How did they] get away with something like this? What has to happen?
"Would I have to get beat up more? Would I have to have more injuries? Did I have to be dead?"
When asked if he would take any further action, Desjarlais declined to comment.
With files from The Canadian Press