An Indigenous man who was kicked in the head by an Edmonton police officer in 2020 has applied for private prosecution four months after Crown prosecutors declined to pursue the case despite a watchdog recommendation to do so.
Pacey Dumas was left with a hole in his skull and “long-lasting, if not permanent injuries,” according to a report by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), after he was kicked in the head in December 2020 by an officer outside his west Edmonton home.
Dumas and the officer were not identified in the report ASIRT released in late April after investigating the case for more than two years.
On Monday, Dumas’ lawyer Heather Steinke-Attia said in a letter released to media he formally declared Information “in support of an application for private prosecution” and that a hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 13 in provincial court to present evidence before a judge, who will then decide if the officer should be charged criminally.
“There are a lot of interested parties hoping this can be an important first step towards real transparency and accountability to the public,” Steinke-Attia wrote.
Dumas and his family filed a civil lawsuit in 2021 against Edmonton Police Service Const. Ben Todd, alleging he kicked Dumas in the head “like a soccer ball.”
The statement of claim says officers responded to a call about a fight at a home in the early hours of Dec. 9, 2020. They were told that a knife was present, and a brother of Dumas was placed in handcuffs while Dumas was ordered to the ground, says the document.
The lawsuit alleges Todd kicked the then-18-year-old Dumas without warning or provocation, causing him serious injury. Doctors had to remove a portion of his skull to ease pressure from his brain and a metal plate was later put into his head, says the document.
No charges were laid against Dumas or his brother.
None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been proven in court. A statement of defence denies the allegations.
The defence document says that Dumas, while on the ground, announced to officers that he had a knife in his pocket and began reaching for it.
No knife was found on the brothers or at the home, said Steinke-Attia. A pocket knife discovered on the street the next day was determined to be unrelated, she said.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News Edmonton