ATV Snowplow trial continues

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The defence continued to suggest a gross overreaction from police in the trial of a St. Albert chiropractor charged with obstruction of justice.

Through his lawyer Tom Engel, Daniel Cooper, 36, is continuing to argue his charter rights were violated during an altercation with police last January, while he was trying to free an ATV his father was using to try to clear a snowy sidewalk.

His father Jon Cooper, who took the stand Wednesday, testified in a meeting days after the incident Insp. Warren Dosko even offered to drop the charges against his son, if the Cooper’s were willing to accept part of the blame.

He said in at least three meetings he had with Dosko, the inspector offered to have the charges dropped if Cooper was willing to release a statement to the media admitting he and his son were partially responsible for the incident, but Cooper said he wasn’t on board with that.

“I wasn’t interested in sharing any culpability because I didn’t think we did anything wrong.”

He said there was only one acceptable outcome as far as he was concerned.

“I wanted the charges dropped and I wanted an apology because we had done nothing wrong.”

Cooper testified he was clearing the sidewalk on Jan. 8, 2011 when the quad he was using became stuck. He then returned to his property got his truck and was attempting to drag the ATV clear with a towrope when police arrived.

Cooper said he first thought the officer would direct traffic or even jump in and help him get the ATV clear.

“We were stuck and that is the way it used to be in the old days.”

Cooper testified when he told the officer that many other people were clearing a path using their quads and that they would be gone in a few second the officer didn’t listen.

“He really didn’t want to hear my explanation.”

Cooper rejected the notion his tow operation was causing any kind of traffic hazard. He said one driver swerved around him when he slowed to the side of Bellerose Drive, but insisted the other driver was to blame.

“He was going too fast for the conditions of the road.”

The officer than focused his attention on Daniel, who is on trial for obstruction of justice, and after a brief exchange about Daniel’s identification Cooper said the officer pushed him onto the ground and jumped on top of him, before handcuffing him.

The older Cooper took his truck back to his property after his son was arrested and he testified when he came back to the scene with a shovel aiming to free his quad, he was greeted by three more police cruisers.

He told the court he told one officer to “f… off” when they began to approach him. He said he also called them part of the “Liberal elite.”

The court saw a video from a dashboard camera of a cruiser that arrived after Daniel Cooper was already in the back of the first police car to arrive.

Cooper isn’t visible on the camera, but he can be heard through the officer’s lapel mike asking, “Why do we pay our taxes?” And also stating, “You guys are all idiots.”

Other witnesses

Dan Cooper’s lawyer Tom Engel called several other witnesses, including several residents of the nearby Ironwood point condominium. While the residents all had slightly different vantage points, they said they saw the interaction with the police, but did not see why Cooper was arrested.

One man who was driving past the incident, Shawn Veenendaal, testified he was concerned when he saw the arrest and said he didn’t think it made sense.

He testified he went to the detachment an hour or two after the incident and told the officer he didn’t feel right about what he had seen and wanted more information.

He said he told the officer he was a strong supporter of the police, but the arrest didn’t seem quite right. He said the officer told him it was a lawful arrest, but provided no further detail and asked if he was really a police supporter as he was going out the door.

Veenendaal said the officer, whom he couldn’t identify, didn’t take a statement from him, but that he later called the detachment and spoke with Dosko and was subsequently interviewed for both an internal RCMP investigation and the criminal probe.

Under cross-examination he also admitted he had only seen Cooper being taken to the ground and arrested and none of what transpired before or after.

City Coun. Cam MacKay was also on the defence witness list and appeared as a character witness for Cooper. He said he had known Cooper since grade school and had always known him to be honest and non-violent.

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