[Hpn] Aboriginal groups seek answers in beating

Graeme Bacque gbacque@colosseum.com
Wed, 4 Sep 2002 19:57:55 -0700


TORONTO  —  Aboriginal groups in Toronto are demanding to know why
charges have not been laid in connection with the alleged beating of
a native man by two police officers in June. There were several
eyewitnesses to the alleged Friday night assault on a busy street in
downtown Toronto. On June 21, at about 11 p.m., Ramsey Whitefish was
walking down Bloor Street in the Annex on the way to an Internet
café. He was drunk.

According to human rights lawyer, Clayton Ruby, two uniformed
officers pulled Whitefish into a stairwell, beat him and left him
bleeding on the ground from a head wound.

Ruby says there's no reason for more than two months to go by
without any charges being laid against the officers.

"The delay has led the community to the concern that the police are
above the law when they are accused of committing crimes."

Ruby says he has the accounts of six eyewitnesses, who all say the
beating was unprovoked.

Whitefish, who's just spent a month in treatment for alcohol abuse,
wants answers: "I guess I've been screwed up about it ever since."

Police confirm that the two officers who were pulled off the street
soon after the alleged assault are back on full duty.

A police spokesman says there are questions about the identification
of the two made by eyewitnesses.

As well, police are waiting for results of DNA tests, which they
aren't expecting until the end of the month.