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Updated: Red Deer lawyer injured in confrontation with RCMP officer

Police allege lawyer and friend assaulted officer during traffic stop

A Red Deer lawyer accused of assaulting an Innisfail RCMP officer on the weekend was punched repeatedly and had her nose broken by the officer, alleges her brother and colleague.

Laura Phypers, 37, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her friend, Desiree Friesen, 24, when they were pulled over by an RCMP officer on Saturday.

When the officer asked Friesen to provide a breath sample she insisted a clean straw be used on the device, says a statement from Laura Phypers’ brother, Andrew Phypers, who works with her at Red Deer’s Advocate Law.

The officer “immediately escalated to the use of extreme force to rip Ms.Friesen from the vehicle,” alleges statement released on Monday afternoon.

Friesen’s seatbelt got entangled in her sweater and she began to choke. Both Friesen and Phypers demanded to know why Friesen was being pulled out of the vehicle and why she was under arrest.

Friesen was forcefully pulled from the vehicle into the dark roadway where “his force continued.”

Alarmed, Phypers came to the aid of her friend, says the statement.

The officer “delivered no less than seven closed fist punches to he head and chest of Ms. Phypers.

“While road-side, Ms. Friesen was forced onto her face, and had her head slammed multiple times into the gravel. Ms. Phypers suffered from concussive symptoms, broken nose, muscle damage, and serious facial and cranial bruising.

“Ms. Friesen suffered bruising to her face, cranium, neck and back.”

The statement says Phypers did not want to comment on the matter. Phypers is a well-known Indigenous lawyer and Friesen is also Indigenous.

“Out of deep respect for the justice system, Laura Phypers wishes to refrain from engaging in the public forum and trusts the facts will ultimately refute the allegations made against her. The RCMP, however, made a press release that compels a response.”

On Monday morning, an RCMP release said that two women were facing charges after being accused of assaulting a police officer during a traffic stop.

Police said an officer was patrolling near the Innisfail hospital when he spotted a black pickup speed through a stop sign. The officer pursued the pickup and pulled it over, said the news release from RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Troy Savinkoff.

RCMP allege that the “driver and passenger were both intoxicated, belligerent and verbally aggressive with the officer. The driver was arrested for refusal to provide a breath sample, but refused to exit the vehicle.

“When police attempted to remove the driver, the passenger grabbed the driver to prevent her from being arrested,” allege police.

When the driver was eventually removed from the vehicle the passenger got out and approached police in a “fight stance and threatened the member’s life. The driver physically assaulted the member while he was attempting to bring both suspects under control.

“The officer and the passenger both sustained injuries during the altercation.”

Friesen has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and refusing to provide a breath sample.

Phypers has been charged with assaulting a police officer, obstructing a police officer and uttering threats.

Both suspects have been released from custody and are due in Red Deer’s Court of Justice on June 20.

Savinkoff said he was aware of Phypers’ statement.

Both Phypers and Friesen can file a complaint with the local detachment, he said.

Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which investigates events where serious injury or death may have been caused by police and serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct, are informed of complaints of this kind. ASIRT will then determine if it falls within its scope.

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