Edmonton police officer thought of his kids as he struggled with attacker

EDMONTON — An Edmonton police officer who was run down by a car before he was stabbed in the street told a jury Thursday that he was thinking of his children as he struggled with his attacker.

Asked what was going through his mind, an emotional Const. Mike Chernyk steadied himself before answering.

“Trying to survive for my kids,” he said as he broke into tears. “I’m a single parent with two children.”

Chernyk was testifying at the trial of Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, who is facing 11 charges related to a September 2017 attack.

Sharif, 32, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, including five counts of attempted murder.

It’s alleged that after the attack on the officer, Sharif fled and drove a speeding U-Haul van through Edmonton’s downtown, striking four pedestrians.

Sharif also faces charges of aggravated assault on the police officer and dangerous driving.

Chernyk told the court that he saw a car approaching and heard an engine revving as he was directing traffic outside an Edmonton Eskimos football game.

“I thought the vehicle was going to hit me, so I turned to my left to get out of the way,” he testified.

“I thought I gave myself enough time to move out of the way of the vehicle, but that didn’t happen,” he said before covering his face with a tissue.

“The next thing I remember … I was going through the air and tucking my chin to my chest.”

Then someone was on top of him, Chernyk said.

“I could feel the top of my head burning and my hairline was very wet.” He said he didn’t know until later that it had been blood.

“It was at that moment that I realized there was a black male on top of me, stabbing me with a knife.”

Chernyk said the man tried to grab his service pistol, but the broad-shouldered officer was able to push the gun further into his holster.

He got the man off him and called for emergency backup.

“Officer down,” Chernyk said in a recording of the call that was played for the jury.

Court also heard the officer had cuts to the top of his head, in his inner left ear and between his left ear and eye. He had scrapes and bruises to his arms, leg and abdomen.

Chernyk testified that he went to run after his attacker, but realized other officers might not be able to find him if he collapsed. So he waited by his police vehicle for help to arrive.

Sharif, who is not represented by a lawyer, declined to ask any questions of Chernyk.

“No,” he said through a Somali interpreter.

The trial continues Friday and is expected to last six weeks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2019.

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

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