The closed-circuit television footage showing an Alberta sheriff using “excessive” force to remove a deaf and mute Red Deer man from the Red Deer Courthouse has been provided to the Red Deer Advocate.
The video captured on several cameras shows the chain of events from when Bill Berry, 52, entered the building to when he was followed out by a sheriff and two medics.
Berry, a throat cancer survivor, went to pay a traffic ticket at the courthouse on Dec. 9. He inadvertently entered through an open exit door and went directly to the fines counter without going through the security screening.
Berry is unable to speak and breathes through a tube in his neck. He tried to communicate with a sheriff who approached him after he missed going through security screening. That sheriff, Thomas Bounds, pushed Berry toward the exit, grabbed and placed him in a bear hug while trying to drag him from the courthouse.
Berry’s stoma tube in his neck became dislodged so he couldn’t breathe and he convulsed for a short while.
Four other sheriffs arrived quickly. One of them replaced Berry’s breathing tube.
An investigation by the Solicitor General’s Office’s Law Enforcement and Oversight Professional Standards Unit concluded that Bounds used “excessive” and “unjustified” force in the incident. Bounds is no longer working at the courthouse or for the provincial government. An RCMP investigation did not recommend charges. The other four officers were cleared of any wrongdoing.
Berry, who communicates through writing, said he is “madder than hell” every time he watches the video but he wants the public to know what happened at the courthouse.
“Somebody has got to be held accountable,” said Berry.
Berry has hired a lawyer and is seeking compensation.