Corbella: Police brutality must be stopped

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Anthony Heffernan worked mostly in Fort McMurray, but when he was in Calgary he lived with his best friend and older brother Grant, who would not have approved of his brother using drugs. So, Heffernan checked into the hotel off of Barlow Trail and 32 Avenue for one night.

Heffernan was minding his own business, not making any noise and not hurting anyone but himself, when five fully armed Calgary police officers — performing a “wellness check” — kicked in his door, Tasered him twice and shot him four times — all within 72 seconds of first breaking into his room.

Heffernan had been unresponsive to phone calls and knocks on the door, while also missing his checkout time, so a hotel clerk had called the police to see if he was okay.

He was shot three times in the head and once in the torso by Const. Maurice McLoughlin — who discharged his firearm six times, because a disoriented Heffernan was said to be holding a lighter and a syringe. The syringe, as it turns out, didn’t even have a needle — something that should have been easily visible in that small hotel room.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which investigates events where serious injury or death may have been caused by police, recommended that criminal charges be laid in the case, but the Crown prosecutors’ office declined to do so, saying “there was no likelihood of conviction.”

The other officers involved — Const. Carl Johns, Const. Sandeep Shergill, Const. Robert Brauer and Brewster — still face a disciplinary hearing, that has shamefully still not been scheduled almost six years after the shooting. This is described as “due process” by the CPS.

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