Pubdate: Wed, 28 April 1999
Source: Toronto Sun (Canada)
Copyright: 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Sam Pazzano


Cop's manslaughter trial

Alleged crack dealer Hugh Dawson was shot nine times in a police takedown
led by Det. Rick Shank who used excessive force, a jury heard yesterday.

Crown attorney Sandy Tse said in his opening statement that Shank committed
manslaughter during a drug buy and takedown operation on March 30, 1997.

A struggle between Shank, fellow drug squad officer Rajeev Sukumaran and
Dawson ended when Dawson, 31, was fatally shot inside his car at Kennedy Rd.
and Danforth, Tse said.

"The Crown must prove that Rick Shank caused the death of Hugh Dawson by
means of an unlawful act ... that the assault was not justified in the
circumstances," Tse said.

He said Shank ordered the takedown at the red light. The drug squad was to
"box in" Dawson's car and arrest him.

Tse said Const. Phil Chan will testify that Dawson's vehicle backed into a
civilian's car while Sukumaran's legs hung out Dawson's window. While
Sukumaran was draped over Dawson's lap, Chan "heard a bang," Tse said.

An officer said there was a pause of one to two seconds and then he heard a
series of bangs, the prosecutor said.

Forensic evidence will show nine casings came from Shank's pistol and one
from Sukumaran's gun, said Tse.

No gun was found in Dawson's car, Tse said. A police agent told Const.
Lorelei McIvor that he had seen a handgun in Dawson's car earlier that day
when he sold him crack cocaine.

Shank pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

This is the second trial for Shank on the charge. The first trial ended in a
mistrial when the jury couldn't reach a unanimous verdict last November.

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