RCMP officer sued by brain-injured man for jail cell takedown faces new allegations
2 other aboriginal men subject to similar violent treatment, court documents say
By Eric Rankin, Yvette Brend, CBC News, Dec 16, 2015
An RCMP officer who was involved in a 2012 jail cell takedown that left a B.C. man with permanent brain damage, is now facing allegations of using excessive force in the arrests of two other First Nations men.
Documents filed in a civil suit against Const. Brian Heideman allege the incidents took place in April and May 2012 — weeks after his confrontation with Robert Wright, who is also aboriginal.
None of the three cases resulted in criminal charges against Heideman.
The court documents also say Heideman admitted he lost a bag of cocaine, a crucial part of a separate drug investigation, and used steroids on the job.
“Most Canadians, if they found out a member of the RCMP had lost a bag of cocaine, had been using steroids illegally, and had used excessive force on three First Nations persons — and those allegations were all true, and I don’t know if they are — probably wouldn’t want that person remaining as a member of the RCMP,” Wright’s lawyer, J. Scott Stanley told CBC News.
Wright is suing for damages in civil court.
The new information about Heideman emerged in affidavits filed by Stanley on Dec. 9 in B.C. Supreme Court.
The documents quote testimony, given under oath, by both the constable and his former supervisor, Terrace RCMP Inspector John Dana Hart, during their examinations for discovery — a disclosure of facts to Wright’s lawyer before the civil case is heard.
Stanley has asked the court to force Heideman to answer additional questions he refused to answer during the closed-door examination for discovery earlier this year.
There were two internal police hearings into claims of excessive force against Heideman in the cases of Wright and a second First Nations man, but the outcomes are unknown as information about internal discipline is protected under the Privacy Act, according to the RCMP.
CBC News obtained a video of the incident between Wright and Heideman in 2014.
The video shows then 48-year-old Wright being taken to the ground in a concrete jail cell. Wright was thrown backwards as he knelt on a bench in a cell. Heideman was accused of taking steroids around the same time in 2012.
Heideman was censured for involvement with steroids and docked eight days pay in 2014. He is now stationed in Vernon, B.C. The RCMP said it was inappropriate for them to comment on Heideman’s status since the matter is before the courts.
Heideman has been cleared of other complaints in the past, including one from Edmonton where he was involved in a high-speed car chase that left two teens, who fled police, dead.
Neither Heideman, nor his lawyer, have responded to the new allegations, which have yet to be proven in court.