Source: Toronto Sun (Canada)
Pubdate: Sat, 3 Oct 1998
Author: Sam Pazzano


Cop's trial told officers received special training

Cops use similar takedown tactics today as undercover officers employed the
night suspected drug dealer Hugh Dawson was fatally shot by police, court
heard yesterday.

Det.-Const. Glen Asselin, a member of 4 District drug squad, testified that
undercover cops "box in" cars and rush to arrest the suspects.

Toronto cop Rick Shank, 27, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in the
March 30, 1997, death of Dawson, 31.

Asselin told the jury he and Shank underwent Emergency Task Force training
on approaching suspect vehicles about a year before Dawson was shot nine
times on Easter Sunday.

Asselin told the jury the ETF techniques were adapted to the narcotics
officers' methods, but he did not elaborate.

Undercover officers are sometimes "frightened" when they approach armed
suspects who are often behind tinted windows, Asselin testified.

It's "not uncommon" for windows to be smashed when suspects refuse to
surrender on command, he told Mr. Justice Eugene Ewaschuk.

Suspects are to blame for escalating violence if they attempt to flee, for
example, by ramming other vehicles, Asselin testified.

Dawson tried to flee by reversing into a car stopped at Kennedy and
Danforth Rds. that night, the jury heard earlier.

Asselin was off-duty at the time of the takedown that culminated in
Dawson's shooting, but it was Asselin's gun that Shank had.

Shank's locker at work was broken, so he stored his firearm in Asselin's
locker, Asselin told defence counsel Peter West. Shank inadvertently took
Asselin's .40-calibre, semi-automatic Glock pistol instead of his own.

Crown attorney Sandy Tse said in his opening that Shank -- the "road boss"
of the takedown -- used excessive force and was criminally negligent. Shank
showed a wanton and reckless disregard for the safety of fellow officers
and the accused the night Dawson was killed, Tse alleged.

The trial continues Monday.

Copyright (c) 1998, Canoe Limited Partnership.

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Checked-by: Joel W. Johnson