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Crown stays charge against RCMP officer who kneeled on man's neck during 2019 arrest


A charge has been stayed against a Manitoba RCMP officer in connection to a 2019 arrest at Winnipeg's airport.

An assault charge had been laid against Const. Eric Gerein following an investigation by Manitoba's police watchdog. It was spurred by a video from Aug. 1, 2019, that appeared to show Gerein kneeling on Nathan Lasuik's neck as he screamed that he couldn't breathe.

Officers were originally called to the airport for reports of an assault involving an intoxicated man.

However, the incident wasn't shared with the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU) until 2021, when the video was played as evidence during the Lasuik's assault trial.

Lasuik argued at the time that his Charter rights were breached due to excessive use of force.

The judge ruled Lasuik's Charter rights were violated and gave him a conditional discharge with 12 months of supervised probation.

On Nov. 3, 2023, Crown attorney Rustyn Ullrich told a provincial court judge that a decision had been made regarding Gerein's assault case.

"There must always be a reasonable likelihood of holding officers accountable for their misconduct. In the present case, the Crown is no longer satisfied that there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction and as such, we're going to enter a stay of proceedings," Ullrich said in court on Nov. 3.

In an email to CTV News Winnipeg, a provincial spokesperson elaborated on the decision, saying the reason for the stayed charge was the judge found Lasuik's version of the incident "lacked credibility."

"The Crown's review of the video and the fact that Lasuik was not found believable in testifying but was found to be the aggressor, all underpin the Crown’s conclusion that there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction against Eric Gerein," the spokesperson said.

Manitoba RCMP said in an email to CTV News Winnipeg that Gerein had been placed on administrative duties after the incident but has since returned to service.

-with files from CTV's Katherine Dow Top Stories

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