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Maurice Vellacott

Don't judge too soon

Maurice Vellacott


The following article was sent by Vellacott to many papers. We wonder if Vellacott knows anything about this case -- we didn't see him at the trial. The judge and jury did not judge too soon. They waited until the trial had been completed and they had heard the evidence.

Below Vellacott's letter we have posted an article from Western Standard which defends Hatchen and Munson while calling on racial stereotypes of citizens on Saskatoon's west side.
-- Sheila Steele

Dear editor,

Some news stories have too quickly dismissed new evidence, which I have referred to in the case of former Saskatoon Constables Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen. I have now laid this evidence with the RCMP at the suggestion of the Saskatchewan Minister of Justice and Attorney General Frank Quennell.

Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen

The RCMP have confirmed that they are investigating it. I believe that Mr. Quennell and the RCMP investigators are fair-minded and are taking my concerns seriously. In their roles, they must pursue justice. Interested Canadians will not want to prejudge before new evidence is carefully examined and compared by the proper authorities. Stay tuned!

On January 28, 2000, when officers Munson and Hatchen (right) picked up a slightly inebriated Darrell Night and arrested him for disturbing the peace, he pled with them to be let out of the police car rather than taken to the station and charged. Because Night already had a whole string of criminal convictions, another one would have resulted in Night automatically having to do 14 days of jail time. As they were talking, Night was directing them onto Circle Drive where he told them he lived over to the right. Munson questioned him and established he lived in the Clancy Village complex.

Munson told Night that when they dropped off an angry person at home, they were often called back because he had hurt someone there. According to Munson and Hatchen, Night said they should drop him at the end of the road and he would calm down by walking home. They made him promise that if they dropped him off, he would go straight home without talking to anyone. This is dramatically different from Night's testimony during the trial; he testified there was no conversation, no agreement about a drop-off point, and said the car followed a completely different route getting there.

Lucille Matechuck who was property manager of Clancy Village at that time has stated that Lorna Night, a relative of Darrell's, had lived in her apartment complex at the time of the drop-off from Nov. 1999 until July 31, 2000. Lorna Night was on social assistance, so social services sent part of her rent cheque to #1101-121 Clancy Drive, and the other part of the cheque to Lucille Matechuk the property manager. Lucille's adult daughter, Jennifer Matechuck, says she remembers Darrell living there, too. Jennifer had been friends with Lorna Night for two years and frequently visited her Clancy Drive apartment for coffee. According to Jennifer, Darrell Night visited Lorna once or twice a week the whole time Lorna lived at Clancy Village. Jennifer says that for about two months around Christmas 1999, Darrell moved in with Lorna. It seems entirely plausible that if Night had been drinking that morning, as his own testimony indicated, he might have accidentally directed officers to take him to this former address rather than his current one. Or he may have been looking to pay another social call on his relative, Lorna.

Some people have asked, "So what? Why is the information about Night Living in Clancy Place significant?" It is crucial to the case in many ways. It indicates that Night, contrary to his courtroom testimony, did have conversation with the police officers in the car that night. Munson testified, "[Night] said, 'I live over there' and of course he couldn't point in that direction [due to being handcuffed]. The only two buildings you could see is the SGI building, and the big apartment complex. I asked him if he meant the big apartment complex at the bottom of the hill, and he said yes." The lawyer asked Munson to point out the location on the map, and then said, "For the record, you were just pointing to around Clancy Drive."

If officers Munson and Hatchen had not obtained that information from Night, where had they obtained it in order to testify about it? Obviously there had to have been communication in the police car that night. In this example of conflicting testimony between Night and the officers, the officers seem to be the ones telling the truth.

If Night did indeed see Clancy Village during the drive and say he lived there, then the route followed to the drop-off point would have to be the route the officers testified to, and, again, puts the lie to Night's testimony.

It indicates that the officers did not just drop Night off arbitrarily, "in the middle of nowhere" but lends credence to the officer's testimony that what [Night] asked was, 'Drop me at the end of the road. I'll walk home, and I'll be calm'. Matechuck indicates that lots of guys from Clancy Village, all winter long, walk to work at Mitchell's meat packing plant, which is about the same distance. The walk from the drop off point to Clancy Village would take 15 minutes, if one used the short cuts, according to Matechuck, and Darrell Night certainly would have been aware of the shortcuts. Night, according to testimony, was wearing a fleece-lined, "winterized" denim jacket and suffered no frostbite according to police photos and his own testimony.

In summary, the two officers took pity on the man and, instead of charging him, dropped him off where he asked them to. Their decision was wrong, but it was not criminal. Internal discipline was warranted, but a criminal sentence was not.

The decision to drop off Night there was not only conveyed to Night but initiated by him. This new information substantiates that testimony. If there was agreement, the judge said, Munson and Hatchen should have been acquitted. Some have said that this new evidence was available to defense counsel at the time of the trial. That is in fact not so. This evidence was not unearthed by the RCMP investigation.

I believe that in the days ahead when there is corroboration of this agreement between Night and the officers about being dropped off, this miscarriage of justice against Munson and Hatchen will be overturned.

Maurice Vellacott,
MP Saskatoon-Wanuskewin


Rush to Judgment

The evening sky is lowering, threatening sleet. Former Saskatoon Police Constable Ken Munson slows his car on a street in the city's extreme west end, in the seedy district known to locals as The Hood. "There's the house," he says in a low voice, "136 Ave. Q South. We were called here at 5:30 in the morning. There were other police cars already here and we quickly determined that our assistance was not required." 46-year old Munson is recreating in minute detail for the first time the five-minute drive four years ago that changed his life. Driving to the corner, he peers into the darkness to his left. "I glanced over here and could see officers working with a tracking dog; there had been a stabbing in the area earlier on. So as not to interfere with the investigation, I turned west onto 21st Street and we were proceeding slowly. I was aware there was a man on the sidewalk over there, but as we drove past..." suddenly Munson lunges across the seat to his right turning his head from the window, as if to duck an imaginary blow and squeezing his eyes shut, "I was afraid he was going to break the window and I'd get broken glass in my eyes," he says. "Here was this guy about six foot two, 250 pounds, hammering on the car, swearing at us and making an obscene gesture."

The man was Darrell Night, a 33-year old Native,with a police record as long as his meaty arms. Munson rolled down his window, as Hatchen remembers it, and asked "Can I help you?" The man then put his face inside the police car, six inches from Munson's and shouted, "What's your f---ing problem?" They arrested him for causing a disturbance. "We were afraid he'd come at some other car that didn't have two cops in it," he says.

The incident which started as a fairly typical occurrence by Saskatoon standards would soon become a full-blown international incident. Weeks after Night was picked up, he went public with accusations that he had been assaulted by the two officers and then abandoned in the freezing wilderness to die.

The two officers would end up disgraced, fired and thrown in jail. They admit they dropped Night off that night to walk off his rage, because they felt it was more sensible than throwing Night in jail. That decision proved a terrible error and a case of bad timing. A day later, the body of Rodney Naistus, an Aboriginal man, would be found dead, shirtless and frozen near the Queen Elizabeth power plant. On Feb. 3, another Native Indian, Lawrence Kim Wegner, was found near the spot where Night had been dropped off. There were reports that the two dead men had each been in police custody hours before they turned up dead and suspicion immediately fell on the police forces and the rumoured practice of dropping off drunk Indians at the outskirts of town.

Then, Night came forward with a story about his own "starlight tour," as the press came to call them, courtesy of Hatchen and Munson. The two officers were painted as monsters in the international media, portrayed as would-be murderers who had left Night out in the cold to die, and were implicated in the deaths of Wegner and Naistus.

Now after years of silence, having served six months in the Saskatoon Correctional Centre for unlawful confinement, having survived attempts on their lives as well as depression, anger and frustration, the two former cops say they want to come forward with the truth about what happened that morning. "I'm sick of being linked to the freezing deaths of Aboriginal men in Saskatoon," says Munson.

And now a Western Standard investigation has turned up new evidence that casts doubt on Darrell Night's account of what happened that night. Transcripts of a 911 call made by Night days after his arrest, which were disallowed in the officers' trial but are being brought to light publicly for the first time raise questions about whether Night suffered the mistreatment at the hands of police that he claimed he had. And a surprise witness, never even interviewed by the RCMP investigating the charge against the two cops reveals for the first time critical evidence that, had it been available at the time of the officers hearing, would likely have undermined the credibility of Night's testimony and possibly tipped the balance of the verdict. And with so much crucial evidence having been overlooked, or worse, suppressed, some observers are beginning to wonder if the cops had a chance at a fair trial at all. Or if the rush to convict the police force as a whole for what the media claims was a widespread victimization of the Indian community, meant that Munson and Hatchen's verdict was sealed from the very start.

Different as chokecherries and cheese, Hatchen and Munson share one passion: they both want to change the world. A staunch Roman Catholic, Hatchen grew up attending the tough St. Goretti school in Saskatoon's central west side, three blocks from low income housing that was full of Natives. "We played with 'em, fought with 'em; one of my friends was one-quarter Native and I didn't even think about it," says Hatchen. As an engineering student at the University of Saskatchewan, Hatchen was taking a year off when he read Al Palmquist's The Real Centurions, a story about a boy raised by an Irish mother to be a cop and a German father to be a minister. "It spoke to me so strongly," he says. "I realized as a police officer, I could be both things. I wanted to stand against the bad within society and help people in trouble--and I did many times."

Where Ken Munson grew up, the only Native Indians he knew were in storybooks. He began his career in law enforcement as a bobbie in England where he earned two letters of commendation before moving to Saskatchewan in the mid-eighties. He earned his third commendation in Saskatoon after he talked a Native man out of jumping from a third floor window with his baby in his arms.

Run-ins with Natives are routine for police in this city. According to Statistics Canada, nine per cent of residents are First Nations but more than half of those accused of crime and 42 per cent of victims are Native. Drug and alcohol abuse is tragically prevelant in the community and officers face unique challenges in trying to keep Natives on the straight and narrow. "With the overpopulation of Aboriginal men and women in prison, there has been pressure to correct it--not to arrest them, but drop them off," Sakej Henderson, director of the Native Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon has been quoted as saying. "They're frustrated. They have arrested these people many times and nothing changes."

When Night, a member of the Cree Nation, came forward in Feb. 2000 about his ride with Munson and Hatchen, (he was dropped off in conditions of -22 C and no wind), scores of journalists began firing off stories condemning anti- Native racism in police forces. The former officers assert that the racism charge is untrue, though by now they're certainly accustomed to hearing it. But it's only one of the questionable assumptions made by the media and the public about this case. Presuming that Night, a man with 22 prior convictions, including obstructing justice and lying to a police officer, was telling the truth about what happened the morning of Jan. 28, while two highly respected officers without a black mark anywhere on their record were lying, may have been the boldest assumption of all.

In a written statement to police Feb. 4, 2000, Night responded to a question about what he was doing just before he was picked up. "I was outside on the 20th by the apartment," he wrote. "They came up and I started swearing at them, just to be a prick. I was drunk and I wanted a place to sleep and I knew I would have a tank." But it was a starkly different tale from what he ultimately told the court, where his testimony made him sound like an innocent victim of racist police officers. Far from admitting to being drunk, Night told the jury "I had a buzz, but I wasn't so inebriated that I didn't know what I was doing. I knew exactly what was happening." He claimed that on the morning in question he'd been at a party and had left, angered about a fight that had broken out. When he saw the police car nearby, he told the court, he assumed they were coming to check on the disturbance. "I took it out on them and I said, 'About f---ing time you guys show up, get the f--k up there and stop those fights. Do I have to tell you what to do?' And automatically, boom-boom, they must have assumed I was the disturbance and hauled me in."

Munson and Hatchen testified that they did arrest Night, for being drunk and violent and because they feared that given his angry mood, that if they didn't take him off the streets, he was liable to harm someone. They handcuffed him and placed him in the back seat, planning to take him in and charge him. After Night yelled at them and accused them of pickinig him up just because he was an Indian, they say that he calmed down and started asking to be released. Munson testified: "He was saying, 'Come on guys, let me go. I didn't do nothing, just let me go. Drop me off anywhere. I'll walk back.'"

Munson testified that he told Hatchen: "If he calms down, maybe we could take him home, because we're the only car available on the west side of the city." That thought seemed to have been on Night's mind too, because as the car headed westbound on 21st, the cops remember him saying, "Yes, guys, go that way. I live that way." Night gave them orders to turn twice more and the cruiser arrived at Circle Drive. "Turn left here, guys. I live over here," Munson recalls Night telling him. But, he adds, "He couldn't point because he had handcuffs on, so I said kind of humorously, 'You live in the church?' and he laughed and said, 'No, in the apartment block next to it,'" which Munson took to mean 121 Clancy Drive, a building locals call Clancy Village.

At his trial, Munson told the jury that as they approached Clancy Street, they spoke with Night about his problems managing his anger and the conversation turned to retired Saskatoon police officer Marv Hanson, whom Night said he had had run ins with before. When ever he was drunk and angry in the past, Munson remembers Night telling him, he had an arrangement with Hanson. He would just ask to be dropped off instead of going to jail.

Munson says he was concerned that if he let Night out of the car he might go off and beat someone up. It was typical, the officer says, for them to drive someone in an angry state home only to be called back within 20 minutes after that person wound up in a fight. "Night seemed calmer once he got into the car, but I've also seen people act that way just to get what they want--which is out." Despite his misgivings, he says, they agreed to Night's request. They drove a few kilometres down the road, beyond Clancy Village to the corner of Dundonald Road and Spadina Crescent West, so that Night would have a little time to walk off his anger. "I made him promise that if we let him walk, he would go straight home, that if he ran into anyone on the street, he would cross the street and not talk to them," says Munson. Night agreed to the deal and got out of the car.

From there, it would have been a 2.5 km walk back to his home in Clancy Village, according to Lucille Matechuck, who was then-property manager for the apartment building that officers believe Night lived in. That's about a half-hour walk at normal speeds (Night says he was dropped off one mile further west). But instead of walking home, Night walked to the Queen Elizabeth power plant, knocked on the door until a guard let him in and then called a cab. He didn't say anything about the incident again until the discovery of Lawrence Wegner and Rodney Naistus near the same power plant and the media frenzy that ensued, when Night suddenly stepped forward telling a harrowing tale of how he had narrowly escaped the fate of the two dead Native men, saved by only his heartiness and wit.

But between Jan. 28 and Feb. 4, the day he made the stunning accusations against Munson and Hatchen, Night showed up on the police force's radar again. On Feb. 1, Night called a 911 operator at three-thirty in the morning, asking the police for help , claiming that a car had been trying to run him down (see "The call no one heard" below for a transcript). Sounding drunk, angry and incoherent (he not only called the 911 operator several times, he repeatedly dialled 611, the SaskTel repair hotline and shouted at the operator on the other end) Night claimed there were "white guys" trying to run him over. Yelling at the emergency operator and hurling profanity and racist remarks, Night never once mentions the incident of several days before with Munson and Hatchen or the abuse and injuries he would later claim he suffered at their hands. Instead, he actually repeatedly orders the operator to send the police because he "needs assistance." Standing for nearly half an hour at an unsheltered pay phone in -22C weather conditions that matched those of Jan. 28 exactly, Night does not seem concerned at all about the cold as he continually demands to see police, insisting "I pay my taxes." Hatchen and Munson's lawyers tried introducing the tape to demonstrate to the jury that days after the drop-off, Night clearly was not at all afraid of another confrontation with police and that he was not bothered by the cold temperatures. Justice Scheibel refused to allow it, fearing that the profanity, racist comments and incoherent speech would prejudice the jury against Night, even though it was Munson and Hatchen that were the ones on trial.

When the two officers came forward Feb. 11, admitting that they had been the ones who had left Night by the road that morning, they knew they would be walking into a firestorm. They immediately requested polygraph tests to prove that they had nothing to do with the deaths of Naistus or Wegner, whose deaths had outraged Saskatoon. Yorkton RCMP Sgt. Jeff Keyes, lead investigator with the Naistus investigation, says "There was no implication as a result of the polygraph that either Ken Munson or Dan Hatchen were involved with the death of either Wegner or Naistus." But this detail has never been revealed to the public in any news reports before now.

Still, the officers were continually implicated in the murders in the volumes of news reports about the cases that appeared in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix and on the CBC. But Hatchen says they were only trying to help Night out, not hurt him. "I didn't see any possibility of harm coming to him," he says. "That only came up later when everyone else said so. I thought he'd be fine, and he was. Even that night I thought the distance was a little too far, but not excessively so. If I had, I wouldn't have agreed to it."

Despite Munson's several-page long testimony about the conversation he had had with Night about Clancy Village and the request by Night to be allowed to walk home, the judge in the cops' trial, Justice Eugene Scheibel, in his charge to the jury, inexplicably ignored the account. He instructed the jury that no evidence had been presented to show that the complainant knew where the police were going to drop him off. Night's version of events was that he never asked police to take him anywhere, that he lived with his uncle in an apartment in another part of town and that Hatchen and Munson had picked the drop-off spot, not him.

After the police cruiser pulled away, he testified in court that he walked "15 to 20 minutes" to the Queen Elizabeth power plant. "I was starting to shiver, it was cold," he testified. "And as soon as I got into the driveway of the power station I didn't feel cold anymore and I was thinking, well, should I take a chance and walk to the city or--no, I got a little bit of money at home, I'll just catch a taxi, I don't feel like walking." Asked by Crown prosecutor Bill Burge how long he knocked at the door of the power plant, he replied, "Oh, 15 to 20 minutes, I was out there about a half an hour by then 'cause I was cold. Well, I was starting to feel warm then, but-" only at that point, Burge suddenly interrupted him, stopping him from finishing the sentence. (Night's lawyer, Donald Worme, says feeling like you're starting to warm up is one of the first symptoms of hypothermia; the Search and Rescue Society of B.C. says it's one of the last, and happens only after the extremities have lost sensation. At any rate, according to police photos and his own testimony, Night suffered no frostbite.)

The officers testified that they felt that Night was dressed warmly enough to handle the weather and the walk, wearing a jean jacket lined with fleece, which was different, they told the jury, than the lighter jacket he later wore to the police station to be photographed. The power plant's night watchman, who answered Night's knocking, backed up the officers' testimony, saying he remembers the jacket Night was wearing and that it was "winterized--the kind with the fluffy white collar."

From the power station, Night took a taxi to his sister's home near where the stabbing investigation had been taking place earlier that morning. The driver testified that he observed no physical injuries on Night. Upon arriving at his destination at 6:30 a.m. the taxi driver testified that when he dropped Night off, there was a group of friends at the location who told him they were headed out partying. Night allegedly offered to tag along and they declined. But Night made it sound like he was severely injured that morning, not like someone who would be interested in heading out for a party with friends. When he sued each of the officers for $1 million claiming detention contrary to the Charter of Rights, he also cited injuries to his arms, wrists, hands and fingers which "continue to cause pain, swelling and numbness" as well as "extreme mental distress, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and loss of enjoyment of life." The lawsuit is still pending.

When the high-profile criminal trial ended, the officers were each sentenced to eight months for unlawful confinement. Hatchen considered it a death sentence. The media seemed eager to portray him and his partner as racists who had nearly killed Night by dumping him in the middle of nowhere in freezing temperatures. Now, the allegedly racist white cops were headed to a prison where Hatchen says the inmate population was as high as 80 per cent Indian. "I didn't expect to survive jail," says Hatchen. Not long after they arrived at the prison, a snitch tipped off guards to a plot to kill the officers. "There was a close call for Ken," Hatchen says. "Five guys were waiting for him in the yard. Someone ratted on them and they searched the yard, found the guys, and sent them back to their units. We were told by the guards they found three knives. We were constantly watching our backs and each other."

Lucille Matechuck is a dynamic 46- year old property manager, a long-time fan of what she calls the "awesome" police team of Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen, and she's also a Native. "Those two officers helped me out so often between 1993 and 2000 that we even invited them for a bite of Christmas dinner one year when they were on duty," she says. "But they were too busy that day." Far from being the racists portrayed by the media, Matechuck says the two former officers never displayed a bad attitude when it came to confronting Aboriginals. "I'm a Native, my husband is even more Native; I never saw them unkind, not even make a remark," she says. "Even when there was a problem, they never went to the door like macho cops; when the person was a jerk, they treated them like a person and somehow even a guy who was really rude to them at first would end up laughing. There is no way you could ever make me believe they wanted to hurt Darrell."

Matechuck knew Darrell Night. She was the manager of Clancy Village, and she remembers Night living there, exactly where Munson and Hatchen claim that he told them he did, with a relative named Lorna Night. Even though Matechuck could have confirmed the officers' story about Night telling them he lived there, she was never even interviewed by the RCMP investigating the case. Matechuck says Lorna moved into Clancy Village a few months before the incident in November 1999, and stayed there until Matechuck had to evict her for "nuisance and disturbance" on July 31, 2000. The property manager says she has indisputable proof that Lorna Night lived in Clancy Village: "She was on social assistance, so social services sent part of her rent cheque to #1101-121 Clancy Drive, and the other part of the cheque to me."

Her daughter Jennifer, 30, says she remembers Darrell living there, too. She had been friends with Lorna Night for two years and frequently visited her Clancy Drive apartment for coffee. "Darrell Night visited Lorna once or twice a week the whole time she was there," she says. "And for about two months around Christmas 1999, Darrell moved in with her." Though she says she's sure he moved out before Jan. 28, it seems entirely plausible that if Night had been drinking heavily that morning, as the officers believed he had been and as his own initial statement indicated, he might have accidentally directed officers to take him to his former address rather than his current one. Or he may have been looking to pay another social call on his relative Lorna.

But during the trial, when the Crown prosecutor asked Night whether he had any relatives in the city Night only mentioned an uncle on Avenue R South, a sister on Avenue H South and another sister on Avenue T South. Never did he mention Lorna, who lived far closer to the drop-off point than the three he did mention. (Attempts to reach Darrell Night and Lorna Night for this story were unsuccessful.) Jennifer Matechuck says she cannot understand why the RCMP did not come to Clancy Village to check the officers' story. It was their alibi, she says and it was up to the RCMP "to see if the officers were lying or not. The outcome of that trial would have been totally different if the RCMP had done their job."

Not surprisingly, Hatchen is stunned by the revelation of Matechuck's evidence. "This is crucial information," he says. "Why does it take an investigative journalist one week to learn what three RCMP agents couldn't learn in six weeks each?" RCMP Corp. Brian Mayrs, the only Mountie to take the stand at the trial, says there were actually five members or more working on the Darrell Night file, but he is unaware of anyone investigating whether Night had any association with Clancy Village, and thus whether Hatchen and Munson were telling the truth about the driving directions Night allegedly gave them. "I suspect it would have been investigated, but I wasn't tasked to do it," he says. The officers' story may have sounded to the jury like it could have been concocted. But proof that Night did in fact live in Clancy Village at one point would have made it nearly impossible that it was a story the cops could have dreamed up on their own.

Years later and the case's long shadow still darkens the Native community, says Lucille Matechuck. Recently, having caught a Native teenager breaking all the windows in one of her units, she called police. They handcuffed him, put him in the back of their vehicle and were about to drive away when she says he started yelling, "Help, they're going to take me outside of town and kill me." Matechuck watched as the police got out of the car, took the youth out of the back, unlocked his handcuffs and drove away.

Last August, Munson and Hatchen were released from prison and only now do they say they're ready to tell their side of the story. A father of five, Hatchen is launching a computer company and earning more than his $60,000 constable's salary. Munson, father of three, is unemployed. "I can't be bonded," he says, because of his criminal record. "There's nothing else I'm qualified for, I can't drive a truck across the border. When I look for jobs, I can't apply for 90 per cent of them. Besides, if Darrell Night is going to take everything and destroy my family two years from now [with his lawsuit] then what's the point?" The easiest thing for him, he says, would be to go back to England and leave all the scorn and stigma behind. "But why should I run away from the truth?" he asks. "I pray every day that the lawsuit will clear up, but I've lost all faith in the justice system. Police need to know that discretion is gone. If it says in the book, 'take them in and arrest them,' for God's sake, whatever you do, don't take pity on them."


THE 911 CALL NO ONE HEARD

Four days after Darrell Night was released near the outskirts of town, but before he filed a complaint, Night made a 911 call. At a unsheltered payphone, in weather conditions which meteorological records indicate were identical to Jan. 28, wearing nearly the exact same outfit as he had worn that morning, Night's 911 call, placed at 3:31 a.m., lasted about the same length of time that he would've been exposed on Jan. 28. He never mentions what happened days earlier. He demands that police come to his aid. He never once mentions or complains about the cold.

911 Operator: 911...what is your emergency?

Darrell Night: Hey...I called one minute ago. I got the license plate numbers to those white guys that tried to run me over. Ah...can I get some assistance fast...ah...f--k those guys got away...

911: Who did you talk to?

DN: These f--kin' guys just tried to run me over. 911: Who tried to run you over? DN: Well how should... well... f---k... do you want their names and addresses?

911: Do you know these people?

DN: [yelling] No. They're white...

911: Okay...calm down...you don't...

DN: ...they're white.

911: Okay... so they're...

DN: Get the f--kin' cops over here right now.

911: ...listen...I'm gonna hang up on you if this is how you're gonna talk, okay?

DN: Yeah... well get the f--kin' cops...

911: What is your name?

DN: ...here right now.

911: What is your name?

DN: Hey I want some assistance right now man...

911: Well what...

DN: ...I pay...I paid my taxes...

911: Listen, will you shut up?

DN: ...I pay taxes...

911: Will you shut up?

DN: [unintelligible]

911: Where are you and what is your name...

DN: Well... f--k...

911: ...if you want the police to help you...

DN: ...you got the f--kin'...you know where I am through the 9...1...1 sys...system. F--k what are you--white?

911: I am.

DN: Well f--k...check it out.

911: Are you on the 400 block of 20th street?

DN: Yes.

911: Okay. And you were walking across the street and somebody tried to hit you?

DN: Yes.

911: Okay. And it was a car... two... two Caucasian fel...

DN: Get the f--kin' cops here.

911: Okay... goodbye. [Phone is hung up.]

Over the course of three more calls, Night identifies himself. He is warned that he will be arrested for being drunk in a public place and is asked if he is carrying a weapon.

911: You don't carry a knife or nothing?

DN: F--k... last time I carried a knife I killed that [unintelligible]...

911: Bad stuff... yeah... bad stuff happened, didn't it?

DN: Yeah... well...

911: ...I had to ... it was self-defence. [A police siren is heard.]

DN: Ah.. here's your buddies.

911: Yeah. Okay. So everything's fine now?

DN: Yeah.

Twenty-six minutes after he was first recorded, police report they are bringing Night in. Lawyers for Munson and Hatchen try to introduce this transcript into evidence to show that Night had no fear of police and was not affected by the weather conditions. The judge disallowed the evidence, ruling the call didn't prove anything and that Night's rude treatment of the 911 operator would prejudice the jury against him.


THREE YEARS OF INJUSTICE

TIMELINE

Jan 28, 2000: Constables Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen arrest Darrell Night for creating a disturbance. They release him to walk 2.5 km to the Clancy Village apartment block where they believed he resided. The temperature is -22 C. Night walks eight blocks to a nearby power plant and takes a taxi to his sister's home in another part of town.

Jan. 29: The frozen body of a Native man, Rodney Steven Naistus is discovered near the power plant, less than five blocks from residential housing. Later that week the frozen body of Lawrence Wegner is discovered near where Night was dropped off.

Feb. 1: Night spends 26 minutes at an outdoor phone calling 911. The temperature and his clothing are identical to Jan 28.

Feb. 4: Night files complaint regarding being dropped off Jan. 28 against his wishes.

Feb. 7: Night makes a second written statement. Some details are changed from his first statement.

Feb. 11: Munson and Hatchen admit they dropped Night off. They ask for polygraph tests to prove they were not connected to other deaths. The RCMP confirms the polygraph results do not indicate they are lying.

Jan. 2001: Night sues officers for $1 million each for unlawful confinement and injuries allegedly suffered.

Sept. 11, 2001: The trial of Munson and Hatchen begins. Jury acquits both officers of assault but convicts them of unlawful confinement. Both officers are fired.

Dec. 8, 2002: Munson and Hatchen are sentenced to eight months in jail.

Mar.13, 2003: Court of appeal upholds judgment. Hatchen and Munson begin serving six months of their sentence.