APTN National News
WINNIPEG–Evan Maud told Winnipeg police investigators Saturday morning how two officers from the same force took him on a starlight tour to the outskirts of the city before threatening to Taser him if he didn’t start to run.
Maud, 20, arrived to his prearranged meeting with investigators from the Professional Standards Unit at about 9:15 a.m. accompanied by his mother Betty Maud and his uncle Joseph Maud, a band councillor from Skowan First Nation.
The meeting had been arranged the evening before.
In the over an hour long meeting with investigators, Maud issued his statement against the officers who he says were in an unmarked black police car when they stopped him at 4 a.m. on Dec. 3.
After the meeting, Maud said he felt relieved . Fear of the police had kept Maud from filing is complaint earlier.
Winnipeg police have already opened an investigation into Maud’s allegation.
A starlight tour is a term used to describe the police practice of dropping off intoxicated individuals on the outskirts of a city..
Maud’s starlight tour allegation has created a potentially “explosive” situation for the Winnipeg police, which already has a troubled relationship with First Nations people in the city, said former deputy police chief Menno Zacharias.
Zacharias said similar complaints have surfaced against the police in the past.
“Given the history of relations between the WPS and aboriginal and First Nations people in Winnipeg this is a potentially explosive and certainly divisive situation,” said Zacharias in an email to APTN National News. “Similar complaints have surfaced in the past but for the most part they were historical or anecdotal and because no complainants were willing to come forward some have become urban legends.”
Zacharias also writes a blog at http://mennozacharias.wordpress.com
The unfolding scandal over the alleged starlight tour has reached ears in Ottawa.
Liberal Senator Romeo Dallaire has called on Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz to intervene.
The mayor’s office said the matter was for the police to handle.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who is also the political minister for Manitoba, said Thursday he didn’t have all the facts about the case and insisted it was an issue for the Winnipeg police to address.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said Wednesday he also couldn’t comment on the matter, but acknowledged there were a lot of problems with the relationship between First Nations people and the police across the country.
Maud said he was walking home from visiting his brother at about 4 a.m. last Friday morning when he was stopped by two police officers in an unmarked black police car.
Maud said he had a few drinks that night, but wasn’t staggering drunk.
The officers accused him of being involved in break and enters and car thefts before whisking him to the outskirts of the city, said Maud. There, they took his jacket and sweater and handed him a St. John’s Football sweater before telling him to run or he would get Tasered, he said.
“I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to do,” said Maud.
A recent study by University of Winnipeg professors found at least 76 cases of starlight tours by city police. The study also found that police targeted Aboriginal men.
Starlight tours, where police take individuals to the outskirts of the city to sober up, can have deadly consequences.
In 1990, Neil Stonechild was found frozen to death outside Saskatoon after he was taken on a starlight tour.
Two police officers were eventually convicted of unlawful confinement and sentenced to eight months in jail.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Evan Maud’s allegations have been proven false and he has publicly apologized to the Winnipeg police service.