Sunday, February 12, 2017

Alberta man reaches settlement on five year long battle against government

, Handout Red Deer, AB: January 21, 2012 --William Berry. Photo by , Handout (For City section story by Sherri Zickefoose)
William Berry sued the Alberta government in 2011 for what he alleged was inhumane treatment after he was forcibly removed by officers from a Red Deer courthouse.  “I’m glad it’s over after a five-year battle, considering the event only lasted 27 seconds,” Berry said. “I was lucky I had family supporting me through the whole thing, a lot of victims in these crimes don’t.”  A cancer survivor, Berry is mute, partially deaf and breathes through a tracheostomy tube. At the time of the incident, Berry said he was visiting the courthouse to pay a speeding ticket.  Entering through an exit door and bypassing security, Berry was approached by an officer. Berry said he tried to communicate that he had a hearing issue, but the sheriff, Thomas Bounds, dragged him in a bear hug towards the courthouse exit.  Video footage shows several other sheriffs physically restraining Berry, who ended up convulsing after he claimed his breathing tube was dislodged. Shortly after, Berry filed a $1.5 million-lawsuit against the Alberta government. A 2012 investigation by the solicitor general’s office concluded Bounds used “excessive” and “unjustified” force in the courthouse incident. Bounds no longer works for the province, and assault charges against the him were stayed by the Crown that same year. Berry said he isn’t able to release the details of the settlement, but is relieved that the incident — which he said has left him with post traumatic stress disorder — has finally reached a conclusion.

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