Const. Luke St. Onge

Const. Luke St. Onge leaves court in Saskatoon on Feb. 24, 2014. (Jen Quesnel/CBC)

A Saskatoon police officer is on trial this week facing assault charges stemming from the arrest of a 14-year-old boy in 2012. 

Const. Luke St. Onge is charged with assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon after a boy was allegedly hit in the face and pepper-sprayed.

On May 27, 2012, the 28-year-old officer was on patrol. He was leaving an apartment in Pleasant Hill when someone sprayed him with bear mace.

St. Onge warned police to watch for an aboriginal teen, wearing a light coloured top and dark pants. 

The chase

Officers spotted two boys in a nearby alley and one matched St. Onge's description.

'I wasn't in any fear that he was going to get away.'- Const. Chad Nolan

The two boys saw a police cruiser go by and hid in a nearby backyard, hoping officers would not see them. The boy who matched the description had run away from his group home earlier in the day after an argument. He said he wanted to show up at the group home on his own rather than having police take him back.

"We were just in the backyard, then the police threw a dog over the fence," the boy told court. "I didn't think about it. I just started running. My body just took over." 

After he jumped the fences in two yards, Const. Chad Nolan chased the boy and tackled him, radioing for help. The boy was on his belly and squirming, but Nolan told court, "I wasn't in any fear that he was going to get away."

"From the run I felt that he was very tired," Nolan told court. "Exhausted,"

Nolan and other officers testified they sat on the boy, telling him to pull out his left arm, which was under his chest. 

"They kept telling me to take my arm out from beneath me but they kept putting more weight on me," the boy told court. "I tried and every time I lifted myself up they told me not to squirm."

Officer felt eyes stinging from pepper spray

The boy told court he was punched in the face "definitely more than 10 and less than 15" times. He said he was also pepper-sprayed.

'My left side of my face was swollen to the point I couldn't see out of my eye for a week.'- 14-year-old boy who was allegedly assaulted by Const. Luke St. Onge

Other officers assisting with the arrest also recalled seeing St. Onge punch the boy in the face, although they could not recall how many times. One officer said, he too, felt his eyes stinging from pepper spray.

The boy was not carrying any weapons, nor was he convicted of anything. He was charged with assault with a weapon and with obstructing justice -- charges that were soon dropped, due to a lack of evidence. 

"My left side of my face was swollen to the point where I couldn't see out of my eye for a week," the boy told court. "And my right ear was black and blue."

Most of Monday's testimony from other police officers focused on the sequence of events that night, and what degree of force was used to restrain the boy. 

St. Onge was suspended with pay.