Indigenous Man Files for Private Prosecution After Brutal Police Confrontation in Edmonton


In a significant development, an indigenous man, Pacey Dumas, who suffered a blow to his head by an Edmonton law enforcement officer in 2020 has proceeded to file for private prosecution, subsequent to the desistance of Crown prosecutors from taking the case forward. This decision by the prosecutors was in contrast to a watchdog recommendation advocating otherwise.

According to an assessment by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), Dumas sustained a notable cavity in his skull coupled with lasting injuries, potentially permanent, following the violent kick to his head in December 2020. It happened outside his residence in west Edmonton, where Dumas and the involved officer remained anonymous in the report that ASIRT made public in late April following an investigation spanning over two years.

On Monday, Dumas’ legal representative, Heather Steinke-Attia, expressed through a press communication that Dumas has officially filed for “an application for private prosecution.” She clarified that a hearing is scheduled for October 13th in a provincial court. The proceedings would revolve around presenting evidence before a magistrate who would then decide on the criminal charges against the police officer.

Steinke-Attia penned, “A slew of interested parties look forward to this being a potential first stride towards genuine transparency and accountability towards the people.”

In 2021, Dumas, accompanied by his family, lodged a civil lawsuit against Const. Ben Todd from the Edmonton Police Service. The officer is alleged of employing brute force on Dumas’ head, leading to a severe injury similar to how one might forcefully kick a soccer ball.

The statement of the lawsuit elaborated on the incident, recalling that the police officers responded to a dispute call at a local residence in the predawn hours of December 9th, 2020. The word of a knife being present created a tense environment leading to Dumas’ brother being handcuffed while Dumas was made to lay flat on the ground.

The claim alleges that Todd, with no warning or apparent cause, violently kicked Dumas, who was then aged 18, inflicting him with severe injuries. In the aftermath, surgeons had to remove part of his skull to relieve the pressure inflicted on his brain. Later, a metal plate was inserted in place of the gaping hole in his skull.

Interestingly, neither Dumas nor his brother ended up facing any charges.

The claims made in the statement are yet to be proven in court, and accordingly, a statement of defense counters the allegations. The defense contends that while on the ground, Dumas alarmed the officers about a knife in his pocket, attempting to reach it. However, according to Steinke-Attia, the police failed to retrieve a knife either from the brothers or from their home. An isolated pocket knife found on the street the next day was deemed irrelevant, she concluded.


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