William Berry outside the Red Deer Courthouse in 2012 during a one-man protest against his treatment at the courthouse.

Red Deer man receives settlement after courthouse incident with sheriffs

Force used against him was deemed excessive and unjustified

A Red Deer man who launched a lawsuit after he was forcibly pushed toward the exit at the local courthouse has reached a settlement.

William Berry, 57, told The Advocate by email on Monday that he is somewhat satisfied with the settlement, however he remains disappointed in the judicial system and the entire handling of the matter since his ordeal began in 2011.

He cannot reveal the details of the settlement that was reached recently. He had originally sued the Province of Alberta and five people for $1.5 million.

Berry, a throat cancer survivor, is mute, partially deaf and must breathe through a tube in his neck.


– Investigation reveals unjustified force used

– It was a simple mistake to go in wrong door

Assault charges against courthouse sheriff stayed

The lawsuit followed an incident on Dec. 9, 2011, when Berry inadvertently entered the Red Deer Courthouse through an exit door instead of going through the security passage. He had gone to the courthouse to pay a traffic ticket.

Despite his disability, he was pushed, grabbed and placed in a bear hug as sheriffs tried to drag him from the courthouse. His breathing tube was dislodged during the incident.

Later, an investigation by the Solicitor General’s Law Enforcement and Oversight Professional Standards Unit found that excessive and unnecessary force was used by Sheriff Thomas Bounds.

Berry filed a charge of aggravated assault against Bounds — one of the people named in the lawsuit — but the Crown stayed the charge. By 2013, Bounds was no longer employed by the provincial government.


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