Judge denies police officer's appeal, upholds excessive force decision
Published Monday, October 14, 2013 4:25PM MDT
Sgt. Aubrey Zalaski, left, and Const. Pat Tracy speak to CTV News on October 28, 2010.
A judge has denied the appeal of an Edmonton police officer accused of using excessive force during an arrest.
Sgt. Aubrey Zalaski was charged with unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority after a complaint from Timothy Ferguson.
The charge stems from an incident on December 24, 2003 when officers found Ferguson upset, violent and intoxicated.
According to documents from the provincial Court of Appeal, Ferguson was so distraught that he had thrown a full-sized propane barbecue off the 10th floor balcony and attempted to fight off the officers who wrestled him down and handcuffed him.
It was at that time that Sgt. Zalaski arrived to assist the officers.
He indicated he found Ferguson kicking and thrashing on the ground.
Police placed a spit mask over Ferguson’s head and it was at that point, with Ferguson still fighting, that Sgt. Zalaski said he used his Taser four times in two minutes.
It was after the fourth stun that Ferguson stopped kicking.
He was then taken to a hospital where he was verbally abuse to the staff.
Originally, an internal police investigation found there wasn’t enough evidence to convict any officers involved in the case.
Following that decision, Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board (LERB) directed charges be laid against Sgt. Zalaski.
Zalaski appealed the decision.
Justice Jack Watson denied Zalaski’s appeal and upheld the decision of the LERB that concluded Zalaski did use excessive force against Ferguson.
In the report, Justice Watson said he found the board acted within the range of options open to it and the points raised by Zalaski in his appeal did not “raise an extricable or discrete question of law”.