Victim of alleged police assault speaks out

A man allegedly assaulted by a Winnipeg police officer last fall says he nearly died from the unprovoked attack.

A man allegedly assaulted by a Winnipeg police officer last fall says he nearly died from the unprovoked attack.

Henry Lavallee, 45, held a press conference Wednesday with Southern Chiefs Organization, an advocacy group for First Nations people in southern Manitoba. It's the first time he has spoken about the incident, which is alleged to have occurred Nov. 22 while Lavallee was held at the Public Safety Building.

Const. Ryan Law, 25, was arrested in June after a police investigation and charged with an assault.

He has been released from custody, with conditions, and is under orders to appear in court at a future date, likely late August. Law is on administrative leave, pending an internal hearing to determine his job status with the police service.

Lavallee, who lifted his shirt to show the news media his surgery scars, said he was in a holding cell and lying on the floor when an officer came in and kicked him hard in the stomach. Lavallee said he started bleeding from his mouth, nose and rectum and was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.

"This is the outcome of what he did — I got 21 staples," he said Wednesday.

He suffered a ruptured colon and spent several weeks recovering in hospital and then serving a jail sentence.

Lavallee had been arrested for mischief after he and another man tried to steal a case of beer out of a car.

He admitted he is a chronic thief who has been charged about 45 times, but said he did not deserve to be treated the way he was.

"I never said nothing 'cause I remember every time I got arrested, 'Don't say nothing, don't kick nothing, don't do nothing. Just lay there and let them do their job, what they got to do,'" he said.

The injuries have left Lavallee unable to tie his shoes because he has trouble bending over.

Lavallee said he'll have a hard time ever trusting police again. However, he also expressed appreciation at how other officers took the alleged assault seriously.

"As long as they got one bad apple out of the crew, that's good," he said, adding that he plans to file a civil suit against the police and Law.