Edmonton

Edmonton police officer fined $500 for assaults

An Edmonton police officer pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of assault in connection with a fight on Whyte Avenue that took place when he was off duty.
Edmonton police Const. Mike Wasylyshen speaks to reporters Thursday outside the Edmonton courthouse. ((CBC))
An Edmonton police officer pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of assault and was fined $500 in connection with a fight on Whyte Avenue that took place when he was off duty.

Const. Mike Wasylyshen, 33, had originally been charged with three counts of assault and two of uttering threats in connection with the incident, which occurred in December 2005.

Provincial court judge M.J. Burch gave Waslyshen a $500 fine — $250 for each conviction — but she refused a defence request to grant Wasylyshen a conditional discharge.

"I am not convinced granting a discharge is the right thing to do," she told the court. 

"He should be treated no more or no less than any other member of this community. This is a crime altogether too prevalent in our community.… It is in the public's best interest that fights like this should be denounced."

Outside court, Wasylyshen was emotional and expressed his remorse, telling reporters he quit drinking after that night and has completed an addictions treatment program.

"I would just like to apologize to the community and to the fellows I was in the fight with," he said.

Devin Stacey, shown here on Thursday, was struck by Edmonton police Const. Mike Wasylyshen in Dec. 2005. ((CBC))
"It's been a public embarrassment. It was tough to go away for alcohol treatment, leave my home for 30 days. I've lost friends because of it.

"I did let the community down, and I hope I can regain that trust," he said as his voice broke.

The court heard that Wasylyshen had been out drinking with some other officers at a bar on Whyte Avenue in December 2005 and had become very drunk. 

At about 2:30 in the morning, he left the club and spotted Devin Stacey, who was hailing a cab across the street. Stacey had just had knee surgery and was using crutches to get around.

Crown prosecutor Marta Juzwiak told the court Wasylyshen started yelling and berating the 22-year-old man, and called him a "cripple".

He then ran across the street and punched Stacey in the ear, and moments later struck a security guard who was trying to stop the altercation that had broken out.

Wasylyshen now faces an internal police disciplinary hearing.

In an interview with CBC News on Thursday afternoon, Stacey said he thinks Wasylyshen should no longer be a member of the force. 

"If you're a cop and you assault someone, especially on Whyte Avenue, you shouldn't be able to be a cop anymore," he said.

Wasylyshen is the son of former Edmonton police chief Bob Wasylyshen and has been a member of the force since 1999.

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