APTN National News
OTTAWA-The mayor of Winnipeg needs to personally address the startling allegation that city police officers took a First Nations man to the outskirts of the city on a starlight tour, says Liberal Senator Romeo Dallaire.
Police officers allegedly took a 20 year-old First Nations man early Friday morning to the outskirts of the city on a starlight tour before telling him to run or he would be Tasered if he didn’t run.
Dallaire, who has become an outspoken campaigner for human rights after witnessing the horrors of the Rwandan genocide as a UN commander, said Mayor Sam Katz needed to step in personally to deal with the police on the starlight tour allegation.
“Where is the mayor?” said Dallaire. “Don’t the police work for him?”
A spokesman for Katz said the mayor was aware of the allegation but would not get involved at the moment.
“It is a serious allegation at this time, it is an unproven allegation,” said spokesman Brad Salyn. “It would be very inappropriate for the mayor to be involved in any incident involving an allegation against the Winnipeg Police Service.”
The Winnipeg police have asked Maud to contact their Professional Standards Unit to begin probing the allegation. A police spokeswoman said the allegation was “upsetting” but no investigation could unfold without a complaint.
Maud and his family are meeting with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to craft and then file the complaint.
Dallaire said it “doesn’t make much sense” for police to use starlight tours that can have potentially deadly consequences.
“I don’t understand the concept behind that methodology,” he said.
Early Friday morning Evan Maud said he was walking home from visiting his brother at 4 a.m. 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.
Maud said he heard officers mocking him as he tried to get away.
“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.