Suspect cleared of assaulting Guelph officer in tense traffic stop
GUELPH A judge hearing the case of a young man accused of leading police on a short but bizarre car chase through downtown Guelph one year ago dismissed the most serious charge against him Wednesday.
Justice Gary Hearn dismissed a count of assaulting a police officer laid against Edward McMullen, after Crown prosecutor Steve Hamilton conceded the court “didn’t hear evidence of an assault,” after a day of testimony describing events on the afternoon of Dec. 13, 2012.
McMullen still faces charges of dangerous driving and flight from police in connection with the incident, in which McMullen allegedly drove over Guelph Police Const. Corey McArthur’s foot with his father’s pickup truck and sped away over a curb after McArthur drew his pistol on him at the corner of Macdonell and Norfolk streets.
McArthur testified he first saw McMullen that day driving the 1988 Dodge pickup, at the corner of Woolwich and Eram rayban osa Road and took note of him as he “screeched” his tires accelerating through the next two intersections.
As McMullen approached a red light at the intersection of Wyndham and Macdonell streets, McArthur said he activated his police SUV’s emergency lights, walked toward McMullen’s pickup and called on him to stop, hitting the back of his truck with his hand.
According to McArthur and another witness, Wyndham Street resident Ian Bailey, McMullen did not respond or react to the officer, turning right onto Macdonell Street, where his tires gave another slight screech.
McArthur said he caught up to McMullen as he was in the lane to turn left onto Norfolk Street off Macdonell.
Pulling up next to McMullen’s truck, in the eastbound lane, McArthur said he drew his handgun after he saw McMullen sliding downwards on the front seat and “did not know what he was doin rayban g.” McMullen said this was the first time he noticed a police officer was near him.
McArthur said he yelled at McMullen “poli rayban ce, don’t move,” and told him to unlock the driver’s side door. McMullen characterized the yelling as “incoherent,” during his testimony, and said he could not understand what McArthur was saying.
“I thought I could have been shot at any moment,” McMullen said.
McMullen then sped off in his truck, jumping the curb on the northeast side of the intersection, heading north on Norfolk. McArthur said he could feel the “pinch” of at least one of the truck’s tires running over his foot.
While a witness for the Crown testified McMullen’s window was rolled down, McArthur testified his window was rolled up.
A Mercury reporter witnessed McMullen’s flight from police and a photo from the newspaper’s front page on Dec. 14 was entered into evidence as an exhibit.
McMullen said he headed up Norfolk Street, before turning right onto Suffolk Street East, and right again on Woolwich Street, parking the truck and waiting for pursuing officers to arrest him. He denied police allegations that he ran a red light at Paisley and Norfolk streets, and that he resisted attempts by McArthur and Const. Todd Weinstein to arrest him on Woolwich.
Weinstein testified that McMullen drove on Yarmouth Street, rather than Woolwich Street.
Court was told McMullen received injuries to his nose and several chipped teeth during rayban his arrest. Police found a digital scale and several small plastic bags in the truck, but did not find any drugs.
McMullen’s lawyer, Joe Pellizzari, brought up McArthur’s history of complaints, alleging he has used excessive force during arrests on occasion.
“You received a summons for assault causing bodily harm last month.”
“It went through an internal police investigation and I was cleared,” McArthur replied but conceded he was facing a criminal offence.
“The situation didn’t escalate until you escalated it,” Pellizzari continued.
“He decided to flee,” replied McArthur, his face flushed red. “That escalated it.”
Hearn said the case had some difficult and confusing aspects, and he would need time to re examine testimony and evidence. He also questioned a point raised by Pellizzari, that a police officer drawing a firearm during a traffic stop is extremely rare.
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