An Edmonton police officer who repeatedly deployed a Taser on Randy Fryingpan in 2002 told a police disciplinary hearing the youth was coherent at the time.
"He was violent, irate, he was rational ... he was coherent," Const. Mike Wasylyshen said of Fryingpan, who was then 16. "He directly hit me."
Wasylyshen recounted his version of what happened that night at his police disciplinary hearing Monday. He faces five charges under the Police Service Regulation of the Police Act, including two counts of unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority and three counts of insubordination.
The constable was animated as he described what happened the night he arrested Fryingpan, now 25, who was drunk and passed out in the back of a car.
Wasylyshen even got out of his chair to show the presiding officer how he used the Taser on the teen. He defended his use of the device, saying that it was a matter of officer safety.
Wasylyshen responded to a call about an auto theft in the Abbotsfield area of Edmonton around 2:48 a.m. on Oct. 5, 2002. He told the hearing he didn't wait for backup when he came upon a vehicle with four people inside.
Three of the four were co-operative and were arrested without incident, Wasylyshen said. The fourth person was Fryingpan, who was passed out in the back seat.
Taser used six times on youth, constable says
Wasylyshen said he called to the youth: "Hey buddy, get up. It's the police."
As soon as the constable leaned in to touch Fryingpan, he said, the youth immediately flung his left hand backward and tried to close the car door on him. Wasylyshen said he was struck by Fryingpan twice before he deployed the Taser.
Wasylyshen stunned the teen in the rib cage in an effort to gain compliance. It didn't work, so he used the stun gun again, negotiating with the teen the whole time.
"He was resisting even when I used the Taser," Wasylyshen said.
Wasylyshen's partner came to help as soon as Fryingpan was out of the car. Fryingpan growled and kicked his legs up and down as the officers tried to get him to the ground, Wasylyshen said.
The Taser was then used on the teen's back. After more struggle, Wasylyshen said, he was able to handcuff Fryingpan.
In total, the stun gun was deployed eight times within 68 seconds both inside and outside the car. But Wasylyshen said he only hit Fryingpan with the device six times. Wasylyshen said he hit himself with the Taser once. The 8th strike is not accounted for.
When he testified last week, Fryingpan said he recalls little about the incident. The only thing he remembered was being handcuffed by police and spitting up blood.
In 2005, a provincial court judge ruled Wasylyshen and his partner had violated Fryingpan's rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Judge Jack Easton called the officers' actions "cruel and unusual" treatment.