Categories: Local News

Trial starts for man charged after 2011 snow-clearing incident

A St. Albert chiropractor who was charged last year after a headline-grabbing incident over snowplowing with an ATV, alleged mistreatment by the RCMP as his trial began Tuesday.

Jon Daniel Cooper, 36, is charged with two counts of obstruction of justice relating to an incident on Jan. 8, 2011 where he and his father used an ATV to clear a city-owned sidewalk.

Cooper took the stand in St. Albert court.

“He swept-kicked me and tackled me to the ground,” Cooper testified of the officer’s treatment. “I went face first. The only thing I could get out to break my fall was my right wrist.”

He told the court he did nothing to instigate the force and said he reported the assault to several officers at the detachment, but no action was taken.

Defence lawyer Tom Engel said Cooper’s Charter rights were violated when he was arrested by St. Albert RCMP Const. Travis Matlock. He also alleged fabrication and withholding of evidence in the case.

At the time of the incident, Cooper’s father was using an ATV outfitted with a plow blade to clear the snow in front of his residence on Bellerose Drive, when it became stuck in the snow. His son was assisting him in freeing the ATV when RCMP arrived on scene.

“It’d been snowing pretty heavy for three to four days and the snowplow hadn’t been by at all,” he said, adding they were trying to clear the snow to assist seniors in the nearby complex.

While the Coopers were trying to pull the ATV out of the snow, an RCMP cruiser pulled up to the scene with activated lights, Cooper said. He added that he thought the officer was there to help with directing traffic as opposed to punishing the pair.

Matlock and Cooper’s father engaged in a “heated” conversation, at which point the pair decided to leave, Cooper said. He said, when he was preparing to depart, Matlock requested he produce identification.

At this time, Cooper said he asked for an explanation, which is when the altercation became forceful, ending with him being pushed to the ground, he said.

“He was enraged. He snapped,” he said, adding he sustained injuries to his right wrist and shoulder as a result of the confrontation. The treatment of these injuries is ongoing.

During cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Bill Wister revealed an internal investigation was conducted to evaluate Matlock’s actions. No information was provided on the outcome of that investigation.

The trial went into a voir dire to address the claims of the Charter rights violation allegation. The trial is ongoing and is expected to last until Friday.

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