Woman says Winnipeg police officer assaulted her in home
Sheila North Wilson, CTV Winnipeg
Published Monday, November 10, 2014 5:41PM CST
Last Updated Monday, November 10, 2014 7:18PM CST
Winnipeg woman Lana Sinclair has filed a formal complaint with the Law Enforcement Review Agency (LERA), saying a Winnipeg police officer assaulted her in her home on Halloween night.
She says a misunderstanding over an incident at her home led a police officer to overreact.
Sinclair is a designer who makes clothes, jewelry and art pieces.
She is known for her attention to detail and makes almost everything by hand.
But Halloween night, Sinclair said she had to use those hands to defend herself from a Winnipeg police officer.
"He poked me here (pointing to her chest) and that's when I stood up and I said, 'You don't have to do this. You don't have to touch me,’" said Sinclair.
She says the officer didn't stop and beat her with a baton, before smashing her face against a work table in her living room and then the floor.
All of it was senseless and traumatizing for her and her nine-year-old son who witnessed the incident, she said.
"I don't have a record, even as a youth. I've always helped others to better themselves and their lives and myself. And even my (other) son is a police officer," said Sinclair.
To stop it from happening to someone else, she contacted LERA.
Max Churley is the commissioner with LERA.
"I can confirm there was a complaint that was made on the third of November,” he said.
LERA receives hundreds of complaints each year. Most are for excessive force.
But last year, Commissioner Churley says only four to six complaints filed with the provincial government agency made it to a hearing, saying many of the complaints end up abandoned.
"There's also a number that would be closed as insufficient evidence is available in order to proceed," said the commissioner.
Churley said other cases that end up being criminal in nature are taken over by the police's professional standards unit.
He's advised Sinclair to file a complaint there as well. She has hired a lawyer to work on getting charges laid against her dropped.
Sinclair said police charged her with assault in the incident on Halloween night.
"There's always a bad apple in the bunch that makes it look bad for the rest," said Sinclair.
Winnipeg police could not be reached for comment on Monday.
LERA is a department within the Manitoba Justice system and investigates complaints filed with them against all police agencies in Manitoba except the RCMP.
The RCMP has its own process for investigating police misconduct.