Al Comeaux, member of RCMP ERT during Oct 17, 2013 raid. [Photo: Miles Howe]
More contradictory police testimony as the trial of Germaine Breau and Aaron Francis continues
MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK – The Crown continued it’s veritable parade of RCMP witnesses today on this, the sixth scheduled day of trial for Germaine ‘Junior’ Breau and Aaron Francis, the two members of the Mi’kmaq Warriors Society who have been incarcerated since the vicious police raid of the anti-shale gas encampment on October 17th, along highway 134 near Rexton, New Brunswick.
Breau and Francis have now spent over half a year in the Southeastern Regional Correctional Centre in Shediac, New Brunswick, much of that time has been spent without access to traditional spiritual services.
Today the Crown brought forward Corporal Al Comeaux, a member of the RCMP for over 24 years, as well as a member of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) for over 14 years.
Readers will remember that it was the ERT – many of them armed with M-16 assault rifles – who assumed lethal oversight of the ill-planned October 17th raid after the raid itself was met with the apparent potential of ‘grievous bodily harm’ from those encamped along the highway. To recap, what this meant was that the ERT essentially had a license to kill after someone – allegedly Aaron Francis – threw Molotov cocktails at RCMP and someone allegedly pointed a firearm at police.
Comeaux, in what has now become a common occurrence at ‘Courtroom 8’ in the Moncton provincial courthouse, contradicted the testimony of four earlier officers who claimed that they had seen Germaine Breau point a firearm at them – one of them twice.
On April 4th, four members of ‘C Division’ testified that they had seen Breau point a rifle directly at them as they attempted to arrest Peter ‘Seven’ Bernard. This happened twice, despite the fact that when Corporel Lacroix – the only fluently English member of C Division to testify that day – first attempted to arrest Bernard on his own, he alleges Breau pointed a rifle at him. In their inherent wisdom, Lacroix was then instructed to arrest Bernard again, this time bringing along three cohorts, despite the fact that when he first tried it a gun was allegedly pointed in his direction.
Comeaux, upon watching a police video of the events of October 17th today in court, stopped the video at the attempted second arrest, saying: “That would have been an occasion where the rifle might have been raised to 45 degrees or so.”
This is important, because there were not any number of occasions where “the rifle might have been raised to 45 degrees or so”, suggesting that the rifle itself might still have been raised and pointed directly at a police officer. Indeed it is only alleged to have happened twice, and the occasion that Comeaux suggests it “might have been raised to 45 degrees or so” accounts for four out of the five charges Breau is facing in relation to pointing a firearm.
In fact Comeaux, with an M-16 trained on Breau and with the license to kill him if he so desired (read: if he felt members of the Tactical Teams he was charged with protecting were in jeopardy), corroborates earlier testimony of another ERT member – Constable Frenette. Frenette earlier testified that he also had an M-16 trained on Breau, this one on his backside, and came very close to shooting Breau as he shouldered the rifle – but did not point it.
We now have two ERT members, with two different angles of fire trained on Breau, testifying that he raised the rifle to 45 degrees. Comeaux, in noting that Breau raised the rifle to 45 degrees in the second attempt of C Division to arrest Bernard, would seemingly negate four of the five charges of pointing a rifle at a peace officer.
It also brings into doubt Corporel Lacroix’s ability to determine if a rifle was indeed pointed at him at all in an understandably tense and high energy stand-off situation.