Funeral protester claims he thought procession was propaganda
Posted in the Georgetown Forum
#1 Mar 5, 2013
Eric Brazau, who was arrested after protesting Sgt. Ryan Russell’s funeral, defended his actions on Monday, insisting the procession was a “propaganda march.”
Brazau testified that he was arrested after being assaulted during his protest, and that police failed to detain the unidentified assaulter. Brazau, 48, was held at 51 Division for the remainder of the funeral on Jan. 18, 2011, and released without charge.
Three Toronto police officers took to the witness stand, neither of whom could explain what happened to the man who assaulted Brazau, while he protested at the slain officer’s funeral with a sign that read “No POLICE STATE” on one side and “ELECTICIANS (sic), SOLDIERS, PEOPLE DIE” on the other.
“Nobody knows who he is and he walked away,” Brazau said outside of Small Claims Court Monday.
Brazau launched a $25,000 lawsuit, the maximum allowed in Small Claims, after his false arrest and imprisonment claim was dismissed as “unsubstantiated” by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which investigates complaints against police.
Brazau testified he didn’t see the procession, which closed down part of University Ave. and drew some 14,000 people, as a funeral.
“I saw it as a propaganda march,” Brazau said, while being cross-examined by city solicitor Robert Baldwin.
Russell was killed days earlier after he was run down by a stolen snowplow. Richard Kachkar is now on trial for first-degree murder in his death.
Officer Barbara Skolly, the first police officer to make contact with Brazau after the assault, was asked by Brazau’s lawyer Davin Charney why she didn’t attempt to apprehend a man she believed was in an altercation with Brazau.
One of the only reasons Skolly gave was that Brazau was the closest to her.
Officers observed Brazau walking towards the end of the funeral procession, near the Rogers Centre, with a sign. Within minutes, an altercation had ensued and Brazau landed in the snow, the court heard.
The altercation led to Brazau’s arrest for causing a disturbance and breach of the peace. Neither Skolly, nor constables David Alexander and Jermaine Watt — the officers who cuffed and transported Brazau to 51 Division — could explain where the unidentified man went.
The trial will resume on April 22
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