The RCMP detachment in Carcross. A man who was assaulted by a police officer in Carcross in 2015 sued a number of parties involved in the incident, and the Attorney General of Canada has filed a defence against the lawsuit. (Pierre Chauvin/Yukon News

Defence filed in lawsuit by man assaulted by Carcross RCMP

‘The negligence of the RCMP did not cause the injuries, losses or damages alleged’

The Attorney General of Canada has filed a defence against a lawsuit launched by a man assaulted by a Carcross RCMP officer in 2015 while he was handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser.

The victim, Duke Beattie, sued Const. Jason Potter, the officer who assaulted him, Const. Daniel Rouleau, the officer who was partnered with Potter, the RCMP and the Attorney General back in May.

In his statement of claim, Beattie says the assault left him with injuries to his eye and head and suffering from depression and anxiety. He also claims he suffers from “humiliation, loss of self esteem, a loss of enjoyment of life, physical pain and emotional suffering, and a loss of earnings past and prospective.” Beattie accuses Rouleau of being negligent in failing to stop the attack and also says the RCMP and federal government are accountable for not training the officers properly, and is seeking several damages and costs from all parties.

In the statement of defence, filed on behalf of everyone Beattie is suing, the Attorney General “(denies) each and every fact and allegation … except as expressing admitted herein” and describes Beattie’s requested compensation as “unreasonable, excessive, and too remote to be recoverable.”

The statement acknowledges that Potter assaulted Beattie and notes that Potter was punished for his actions. However, it says the assault was provoked by Beattie threatening to harm Potter’s wife and Potter, who was driving, stopped the car, got out and grabbed Beattie “with his left hand near his collar,” yelling at Beattie to stop the threats.

Rouleau “attempted to stop the incident immediately as it began,” the statement continues, and “instructed Const. Potter to stop on multiple occasions.” In doing so, Rouleau “attempted, and was successful, in stopping (Potter) from inflicting harm” on Beattie and “at all times acted in accordance with the standard care expected of a police officer in the circumstances,” the statement says, showing he was not liable for the incident.

As well, the statement of defence says the RCMP “adequately trained, supervised, and supported” the constables and “did not encourage or condone Const. Potter’s conduct.” The RCMP also launched criminal and internal investigations after learning about the assault, the statement says, which led to “disciplinary measures” against Potter.

“Even if the RCMP did not meet the standard of care expected of a police service in the circumstances … the negligence of the RCMP did not cause the injuries, losses or damages alleged by (Beattie),” the statement of defence reads.

The statement of defence also denies that Beattie suffered any of the injuries or damages he alleges in the lawsuit and asks Beattie to provide proof of them, adding that if he actually was injured, Beattie “failed to mitigate his damages, including by failing to seek out or follow the advice of physicians or other health care [sic] professionals” following the assault. As well, if any injuries occurred, “such damages were caused in part by the conduct of (Beattie), particulars of which include (Beattie’s) provocation and his failure to comply with the orders of a peace officer and (Whitehorse Correctional Centre) staff,” the statement of defence says.

The statement concludes by requesting the lawsuit be dismissed against Rouleau and the RCMP, “and nominal damages, if any be apportioned as against Cst. Potter.”

The case has not been heard by a judge yet.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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