RCMP officer who assaulted man in handcuffs nears end of probation

A Yukon RCMP officer convicted of assault last year is on track to be finished with his probation order.

A Yukon RCMP officer convicted of assault last year is on track to be finished with his probation order.

Const. Jason Potter, 38, appeared in Yukon territorial court Monday.

He is seven months into his nine-month probation term.

Potter has completed his 40 hours of community service.

“Everyone is in agreement that everything is going well,” Crown prosecutor Noel Sinclair told the court.

Potter’s probation order is set to expire in January. Because he was sentenced to a conditional discharge, come January he won’t have a criminal record.

The probation order also required him to get counselling.

There is a “good working relationship” between Potter and his counsellor, Judge Heino Lilles noted.

While Potter’s probation officer recommended the order be terminated today, all parties agreed to keep it as is.

Lilles said he didn’t want to disrupt the existing relationship between Potter and his counsellor.

And the probation term was integral to the sentence Potter received, Sinclair noted.

Potter pleaded guilty on Aug. 27, 2015 to assaulting Duke Beatie in Carcross on May 15 that same year.

Potter assaulted an intoxicated, handcuffed Beatie, whom Potter and another RCMP officer had just arrested.

During the sentencing, which took place in April this year, Potter’s lawyers spoke of the stress the officer was under, and the safety concerns he had for his family.

The RCMP was aware of those safety concerns, allowing Potter and Const. Dan Rouleau to bring their service weapons home.

Rouleau, the court heard, described answering the door with his gun behind his back.

The RCMP also paid for a fence to be installed around Potter’s home and video surveillance to be set up.

Documents filed during sentencing allege Beatie had previously made rape threats against Potter’s wife.

It’s not clear what Beattie said on the day of the incident because of the poor audio quality of the video that recorded the incident.

Potter’s lawyer described the incident as a momentary “anger and rage” that built up over time.

During sentencing Lilles pointed out that officers working in small communities have limited social opportunities, having to live in the community they’re also policing.

Except for Whitehorse, Watson Lake and Dawson City, every Yukon RCMP detachment is staffed by three members.

The RCMP had its own internal code of conduct hearing. Potter was docked 20 days of pay — about $7,000 — will only be eligible for promotion in 2017 and can’t return to Carcross.

Whitehorse RCMP confirmed Monday that Potter is now assigned to the Yukon RCMP Traffic/Relief Unit.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com