EDMONTON – An Edmonton Oilers fan arrested at street celebrations during the 2006 NHL playoffs described Tuesday how she woke up, sobbing and with blood running down her face, on a police bus after being hit and knocked to the ground by an officer.
Kristin Wilson was testifying at a police disciplinary hearing into the officer’s conduct June 17, 2006, as hundreds of people celebrated on Whyte Avenue after the Oilers won the sixth game of the Stanley Cup final.
Wilson said she was polite and co-operative during the arrest, only snapping once when she heard a voice to her left, where an officer was standing, telling her to “get on the f**king bus.” She said she turned and said “f**k you” in response, because she considered the order rude.
Defending counsel Alex Pringle disputed her version of events. He repeatedly suggested Wilson was confused about some of the details because she was heavily intoxicated and that she was insulting, irate and unco-operative.
Wilson testified she and her friends left a bar around 1 a.m. to find a taxi home. She said she was almost sober, while her friends were intoxicated. She was sober, she said, because she had tonsillitis and so had restricted her drinking to about four beers over the whole evening.
A female friend was arrested, she said, and when Wilson tried to ask another officer where she could pick her up in the morning, the officer demanded she get back on the curb and then arrested her.
“I was backing up, but I was still continuing to ask when I could pick her up in the morning.”
She said she only politely questioned what was going on, adding she knew Whyte Ave was going to be extremely busy and that there was a no tolerance policy.
“I asked why I got arrested, and I was never, ever told why.”
Pringle pointed out discrepancies between Wilson’s testimony and past interviews with police. He also suggested that others may have seen Wilson running across the street, and heard her swearing extensively on the police bus.
She denied using any profanities on the bus.
He suggested she may have had more than four beers over the course of the day, another thing she denied.
“You’re sure that’s what happened?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“You’re saying this under oath,” he persisted.
“You understand that there were quite a few people in this vicinity?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
While early on in questioning she was very clear on which officer did what, she admitted under cross-examination that some of the details are fuzzy, especially due to the time lapse.
“You were irate and angry, and you were protesting the arrest of your friend,” Pringle asked Wilson.
“No, I wasn’t,” she replied, continuing to insist the only time she swore was when she heard the comment about the bus.
“Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this open hand, wearing a black glove … coming towards my face, and I closed my eyes.”
The next thing she remembers, she was on the bus. She would be taken to a holding location and then released on a separate street, she said.
“I could feel blood running down my face and I was crying.”
A friend who was with her that night, Tucker Miller, testified Tuesday that while Wilson swore a few times while trying to find out where their female friend had been taken, she was not furious or yelling. He said the expletives weren’t personal attacks against police. “She didn’t lose her temper all that bad, (but) yeah, she swore,” he said.
Doug Sparks, a paramedic who examined Wilson before she was released, testified that Wilson was “visibly upset” and had blood around her mouth and a cut that could need stitches on the inside of her lower lip. He said she refused transport to the hospital, but told them she had not passed out or lost consciousness, which would have been a sign of more serious trauma.
Since the paramedics had to see so many patients that night, Sparks said they couldn’t do a full exam or paperwork for those not taken to hospital.
“I think there was probably some alcohol aboard, that would be my estimation,” he said, adding he couldn’t be 100 per cent sure due to the abbreviated exam.
Wilson testified it took her several days to go to police with her account because she was so rattled by what happened. “I just lay in bed, I didn’t want to move,” she said of the next day.
The day she did complain to police was the same day a local newspaper published photographs that showed her appearing to be hit by an officer.
The Calgary Crown prosecutor’s office reviewed the incident and determined no criminal charges were warranted.
Wilson filed a lawsuit against the police in October 2006, but her lawyers say they’re still waiting for a statement of defence before that can proceed, something that has likely been delayed by preparation for the hearing.
In the suit, she alleges she suffered a concussion, broken teeth, cuts, back pain, headaches, psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries.