Judge’s ruling attacked

The Edmonton Police Association is criticizing a judge’s ruling and his comments saying police overreacted during a July 2009 incident when a number of youth were stopped for allegedly being drunk and disorderly in public.

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Police Association is criticizing a judge’s ruling and his comments saying police overreacted during a July 2009 incident when a number of youth were stopped for allegedly being drunk and disorderly in public.

Four of the five teens involved in the incident were in court this week.

A youth court judge found they did nothing wrong, and that there was evidence the group was cooperative.

The judge added this is a case showed a lack of good judgment and self-control on behalf of city officers.

But Tony Simioni, president of the police association, says he stands behind the officers involved in this incident.

He believes the judge’s ruling sends the wrong message, leading the public to judge police harshly.

On the night in question, officers received a call just after midnight on reports that a driver had knocked down pylons before parking at an elementary school.

When two officers arrived, a group of friends had gathered. Police say the officers approached an uncooperative 18-year-old who appeared to be drunk.

Things then became heated after police tried to arrest him. The male allegedly continued to resist arrest and at one point choked the officer.

As the pair continued to struggle, six other teens reportedly began to surround both officers and the suspect. At that point, the second officer ordered the teens to back away and physically moved some of the teens away.

A Taser was deployed and the officers were able to arrest the male.

Four of the five teens were initially charged with assaulting a police officer, but those charges were later reduced to obstructing a police officer. And in the end, the charges were thrown out in court.

“Members of the judiciary from the safety and comfort of the bench, safety we provide willingly and gladly, take great licence to criticize and vilify the actions of police officers when they don’t have to walk a mile in our shoes,” said Simioni.

Michael Harris, 18, is charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. He is due back in court this summer.