Pubdate: Tue, 27 May 2014
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2014 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: James Turner
Page: A3
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


A drug raid at a Winnipeg home has triggered an unusual lawsuit 
against RCMP officers after they allegedly removed a woman from a 
shower and briefly detained her, naked and wet, in her kitchen.

The woman, 58, alleges she's suffered major negative effects from the 
conduct of the six male officers, including post-traumatic stress 
disorder, emotional trauma and lasting fears of being home alone and showering.

She's now suing the RCMP for an undisclosed amount of money, 
including for lost wages at her job as a medical technician at St. 
Boniface Hospital.

In a statement of claim in Court of Queen's Bench, she describes an 
incident involving the RCMP at her Springfield Road home in northeast 
Winnipeg on Sept. 21, 2012. The claim's allegations have not been 
proven in court, and the RCMP have not yet filed a statement of defence.

The woman says officers came to her home to execute a search warrant. 
The lawsuit doesn't say why, but other court records obtained by the 
Free Press show their target was her son, 24, who is cognitively 
challenged and had prior convictions for cocaine-trafficking and possession.

The woman claims officers came into her main-floor bathroom and took 
her from the shower, placing her naked in the kitchen "without access 
to covers for a period of time."

She says she began hyperventilating and had "shock-like symptoms" 
that resulted in her being taken out of the house and put in an ambulance.

Her son was arrested at the scene.

Prosecutors say he led police to a spare room where cocaine worth 
between $3,000 and $4,000 was seized from a binder, according to 
provincial court records.

He has since pleaded guilty to a charge of possession for the purpose 
of trafficking and is to be sentenced in July.

His mother has no record of charges or convictions in Manitoba. 
Justice officials are aware of the case and referred to "unusual" 
circumstances that unfolded during the search at a bail hearing a few 
weeks after the raid.

"Some odd things happened," federal Crown prosecutor Ken Hawkins told court.

He said when officers went inside, the woman was "in some state of 
undress" and might have been headed to the shower.

"I assume it was pretty terrifying to have the police come in the 
door," he told Judge Wanda Garreck.

"She ended up... sort of hyperventilating and the police held off on 
their search until (paramedics) arrived," Hawkins said.

"She walked out on her own power, but (the RCMP) took it very 
seriously, and it's all through their notes," Hawkins added.

Preservation of evidence is a primary concern for investigators when 
they execute drug-related warrants.

Officers often request permission from magistrates and judges to 
enter a home unannounced to prevent any forewarning to suspects and 
possible destruction of items of interest.

So-called no-knock or dynamic-entry warrants are routinely granted in 
such cases.

The warrant granted to the RCMP in this case, however, does not 
specify if it was for a no-knock entry.

A Dauphin justice of the peace granted the warrant by phone at 8:39 
p.m. Sept. 20, 2012, giving police the power to search the woman's 
home only "by day" to gather potential evidence against her son.

The document police used to substantiate their request for the 
warrant, known as an information to obtain, was ordered sealed at the 
RCMP's request and was unavailable for viewing.
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