Taser bust a shocker
Police raid leaves local man fuming
Wed, March 22, 2006
Yvon Richer stands outside his Navan Rd. home yesterday where he and his dog were tasered by police during a weapons raid. Police found no illegal weapons. Inset, a look at one of the darts that hit Richer. (Blair Gable, SUN photos)
THE OTTAWA Police Firearms Task Force yesterday swooped down on a Navan Rd. homeowner suspected of having a cache of illegal weapons, shot him and his dog with a Taser and left without finding any weapons.
Yvon Richer says he was returning from an early-morning snowmobile ride on his 50-acre property in the city's southeast end at around 9:15 a.m. when a vehicle pulled into the driveway and a voice behind him screamed, "Get on the ground!"
He looked back at a police officer with his weapon drawn and as many as 40 others, some of them in tactical gear, lining the street.
They blocked off Navan Rd. between Mer Bleu and Renaud roads after receiving a "reliable tip" that the 60-year-old electrician, father and grandfather had a cache of weapons, and possibly dynamite stored in his 125-year-old farmhouse
Richer was fumbling in his thick snowmobiling jacket for his keys to open the door when he was struck by a Taser dart. Shot twice, he has four puncture wounds and numerous bloody scratches to his face.
As the high-voltage charge zapped through his body, he was forced onto his belly on the wet gravel driveway. He felt a knee in his back and a foot on his head holding him down as a third officer cuffed him and emptied his pockets.
Two officers dragged him to the edge of the road where he was forced to his knees and told to rest his head on the bumper of a vehicle.
"I felt like crying. I was raised with the people around here," he said, of the spectacle which was witnessed by neighbours he's known for years. "Who has the power to do that?"
At one point, Richer said he was asked if he had dynamite or guns and whether his brother or neighbours had weapons. Paramedics removed two of the darts -- the others had been removed by police -- and offered to transport Richer, who was complaining of numbness in the arms, to hospital.
The rundown home which he calls "his shack" has been in the family for three generations but is being sold to corporate interests which plan to tear it down.
Inside is evidence of a police search. The cupboard doors have been removed, the couch cushions are flipped over and he admits his marijuana plants are gone.
ORDEAL ENDED ABRUPTLY
Richer said the entire ordeal ended as abruptly as it began.
"Nobody said anything. They dropped me off and they were gone," he said.
It wasn't until later in the day that he even realized his 12-year-old German shepherd, Sheba, had also been tasered.
According to police the dog had "converged" on the officers. Staff Sgt. Mike Laviolette said officers fired on the man when he failed to comply with their instructions.
"He didn't come at them or anything but he didn't do what he was supposed to do which was he was trying to get back in the house," said Laviolette. He said the Taser "wasn't even a direct hit" as Richer "was wearing clothing and it didn't immobilize him completely."
Laviolette said a warrant was obtained by the task force, set up in early January to oversee the gun amnesty program and the Gun Crime Stoppers hotline.
He wouldn't say whether police were also looking for dynamite but noted a quantity of drugs was found on scene. Police continue to investigate and it's not clear whether any drug-related charges will be laid.
Richer said he's exploring legal action against the police.