Cop refutes civil claims

Former Terrace RCMP officer named in civil suit of a man whose wife says his brain injury was caused by the officer has filed a reply.

A former Terrace RCMP officer named in a civil suit of a man whose wife says his brain injury was caused by the police officer has filed his reply.

Const. Brian Heideman filed the response in Vancouver supreme civil court in response to a suit filed by Heather Prisk concerning her husband Robert Wright.

She’s saying an incident involving Heideman two years ago resulted in brain damage to her husband to the point he now requires constant care.

A trial date has been set for February, 2016.

Heideman has denied virtually all of the allegations in the Prisk suit except one paragraph in which he agrees he was a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Outside of his knowledge, added Heideman, was the alleged fact that “the plaintiff, Robert Wright, is now [a] disabled first nation construction worker….”

Heideman has denied the rest of the information contained in the Prisk suit in which it outlines allegations concerning the incident in which Wright was first injured and the aftermath.

In the statement of facts on the civil claim, filed by Prisk on behalf of her husband, it says Wright was pulled over in a police traffic stop at or near the 4400 block of Legion Ave., April 21, 2012.

Constables Carl Hufnagel and James Lauriault handcuffed Wright and took him into police custody to the holding cells at the Terrace detachment, read the Prisk statement.

The two officers plus Heideman took Wright into a cell, where he was told to kneel on a concrete bench above the floor and, while kneeling on the bench in an uncomfortable position, Wright tried to reposition his legs at which point Heideman “violently, unexpectedly and negligently threw the plaintiff (Wright) to the ground, causing the plaintiff’s head to sustain injuries, the most significant of which was a traumatic brain injury and thereafter dragging the plaintiff across the cell floor while unconscious and kneeling on his backside,” read the Prisk statement.

“The incident resulted in the plaintiff being assaulted, battered and/or negligently injured by the defendant Heideman who used excessive and negligent amounts of force when dealing with the plaintiff….,” continued the statement, which also details Wright’s injuries and ask for financial damages.

Heideman’s response indicates that Prisk called 911 shortly after 6 p.m. April 21, 2012 to report that Wright was “drunk, driving without a licence, in a vehicle he was not supposed to be driving. Ms. Prisk reported that her husband ‘might act violent,’ was driving a green older style SUV and that her husband had said ‘ he was going to wrap the vehicle around a pole…,”

Hufnagel was on patrol in a marked police vehicle when he spotted a green older model Ford Explorer driving west on Lakelse Ave., the response said.

He pulled the vehicle over near the intersection of School St. and Legion Ave., with Lauriault arriving for backup, continued the response. Hufnagel told Wright he was being detained for impaired driving and Wright “became angry, upset and began yelling,” said the response.

When Lauriault tried to handcuff Wright, he physically resisted but was eventually handcuffed and placed into the back of the police vehicle that Hufnagel was driving. “During the ride, the plaintiff (Wright) was angry and upset. The plaintiff shouted at Const. Hufnagel and made threats,” said the response.

They arrived at the detachment at approximately 7:20 p.m. and Wright “continued to be angry and was shouting and swearing,” continued the response.

“At approximately, 7:30 p.m., the plaintiff was taken into a cell to be searched. During the search, the plaintiff was taken to the ground by Const. Heideman. While being taken to the ground, the plaintiff sustained a cut on the right side of his head,” said the response.

Under additional information, the details about the three times Wright was taken to hospital during his detainment at the detachment were given. Paramedics were called at about 7:40 p.m., assessed Wright and took him to Mills Memorial Hospital, said the response.

Wright was examined, his cut was stitched up and he was released and taken back to the detachment, it continued. He was booked into the cells there at approximately 8:30 p.m., continued the response.

Hufnagel noticed that Wright was “somewhat incoherent” and paramedics were called. Paramedics arrived at about 8:55 p.m. and took him back to hospital, continued the response. Wright “was assessed and discharged from the hospital again” and was taken back to cells at approximately 11 p.m. “to be released when sober,” said the response.

At approximately 4 a.m., April 22, Wright was found to be unconscious in his cell so paramedics were called and took him to the hospital again, the response continued.

The officers “deny that they, the RCMP members, or anyone for whom they may be liable, were negligent, assaulted or battered the plaintiff as alleged, or at all and put the plaintiff to the strict proof thereof,” the response said.

They were either “required or authorized by law to take the actions they did in the administration and/or enforcement of the law and in doing so acted reasonably, lawfully, properly, honestly, without malice and in good faith,” the response said.

“Heideman used no more force than was necessary and was preventing the plaintiff from committing further offences,” the response said. It concluded by saying the legal action should be dismissed.