Former Red Deer Mountie cleared of charges related to arrest

A former Red Deer Mountie has been acquitted of charges laid against him in connection with the arrest of a Red Deer teenager in the summer of 2012.

LEDUC — A former Red Deer Mountie has been acquitted of charges laid against him in connection with the arrest of a Red Deer teenager in the summer of 2012.

Const. Eric Pomerleau, 30, went to trial in Red Deer provincial court on May 10 and 11 of this year on charges of assault with a weapon, common assault and assault causing bodily harm. The charges were laid after a member of the public accused Pomerleau of using excessive force during the arrest of the boy, whose name is withheld because he was a minor at the time.

Judge Marilyn Smith, normally based in Leduc provincial court, heard that Pomerleau had pepper sprayed the youth to subdue him while he was in the back of the police car; pushed him to the floor while taking him to his cell, and bloodied his nose after reentering the cell to conduct a second search.

In a decision announced from her courtroom in Leduc on Monday, Smith said she found Pomerleau’s actions were reasonable in each of the three incidents, given that Pomerleau had been confronted with an aggressive and combative “client” and that there were no other police officers available to provide backup. She also pointed out that he is both smaller and lighter than the boy he had arrested and was not aware until later that day that he was only 16 years old.

Witnesses testified during the trial that Pomerleau was called at about 4 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2012, to attend a location in the Deer Park subdivision, where two young bicyclists were causing trouble and damaging vehicles.

Pomerleau handcuffed and arrested a young man, whom we believed was high on drugs, and then placed him in the back seat of his police car. The teenager kicked at the car’s doors and windows and would not settle down despite warnings, said Smith. Pomerleau therefore felt justified in using pepper spray to subdue the boy long enough to deliver him safely to the detachment, she said.

The boy’s aggressive behaviour continued at the booking desk, including swearing, refusing to give his name or address and striking “kung fu-like” stances while challenging Pomerleau to fight him, said Smith.

He actively resisted as Pomerleau led him to the cell and his aggressive behaviour continued after he was locked inside. Video taken while he was in the cell shows him climbing onto the sink and then using both hands to “give the finger” to the camera mounted on the wall before returning to the concrete bench.

One of the matrons then noticed that the boy had pulled a cigarette out of one of his pockets and was holding it in his mouth, said Smith. While he did not wish to reenter the cell, Pomerleau felt he was required to search the boy a second time in case other contraband had been missed, such as a lighter, which could pose a safety threat, she said.

Citing testimony from an expert witness, RCMP Staff Sgt. Leonard McCoshen, Smith reiterated that police officers are entitled to use as much force as necessary to protect their own safety and that of others.

While acquitted on those charges, Pomerleau was found guilty on Friday of assaulting a man he had arrested for impaired driving. Sentencing on that charge is to be held in Red Deer provincial court on July 19.

He had been assigned to administrative duties at a different detachment while awaiting results of the criminal proceedings against him.

Criminal proceedings involving police officers are heard in the jurisdiction where the charges were laid, but are carried by judges and prosecutors from other jurisdictions to avoid any conflict of interest which may arise through their professional relationships as officers of the court.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Friday, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the province’s plan to reduce surgical wait times over the next two years. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Alberta provides more funding to reduce surgery wait times

The province is working to provide better access to surgeries over the… Continue reading

RDC Queens volleyball players Sydney Rix and Emma Holmes gave blood as part of the Bleed Green Challenge, in partnership with Canadian Blood Services. (Photo courtesy RDC Queens Instagram)
Blood donation: RDC Athletics give back with Bleed Green Challenge

In what has been a challenging year for everyone across Alberta, Red… Continue reading

Eastview Middle School’s Jeremy Spink was selected as the 2020/21 NHL/NHLPA Most Valuable Teacher for February (Photo Courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Red Deer teacher earns NHL’s Most Valuable Teacher Award for February

Eastview Middle School’s Jeremey Spink picked up the honour

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

A flare stack lights the sky from the Imperial Oil refinery in Edmonton on December 28, 2018. The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse gas offset program that will govern how developers can register and sell credits earned through projects that reduce emissions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Proposed federal carbon offset credit regulations raise farmer advocate’s concern

CALGARY — Projects that qualify to sell federal greenhouse gas emission credits… Continue reading

The National War Memorial honouring Canadians who served in the military is shown in Ottawa on Sunday, March 31, 2019. A member of the Canadian Armed Forces has died in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadian soldier found dead in his quarters in Afghanistan: military

OTTAWA — A member of the Canadian Armed Forces has died in… Continue reading

A flare stack lights the sky from the Imperial Oil refinery in Edmonton on December 28, 2018. The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse gas offset program that will govern how developers can register and sell credits earned through projects that reduce emissions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Ottawa unveils proposed federal carbon offset emission credit regulations

CALGARY — The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will keep… Continue reading

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta's COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Judge rules Alberta pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

EDMONTON — A judge has ruled that an Alberta pastor will remain… Continue reading

Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Man found guilty in attack that left Winnipeg teen with hammer in head

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg judge has found a man guilty in an… Continue reading

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Most Read