May 13, 2014 12:32 pm

Soldier with PTSD settles discrimination complaint against Brandon police

WINNIPEG – A Canadian Forces soldier who served in Afghanistan has settled a human-rights complaint he filed against police in Brandon, Man.

“It just got finalized last week after three years,” Master Cpl. Bill Nachuk said Tuesday, after the Manitoba Human Rights Commission released information about the case.

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“We go to these places overseas to fight for the rights of others,” he said, speaking of his tours of duty in Syria and Israel, Bosnia and Afghanistan. “To have these rights that we take for granted here be removed … It’s very frustrating, very heartbreaking.”

Nachuk has a service dog to help him deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, anger, trust, anxiety and stress issues he’s experienced since he returned from Afghanistan in September 2008.

READ MORE: Manitoba dogs help veterans recover from PTSD

He and a friend went to a bar in April 2011 and he was asked to remove his dog from the premises. He showed the staff his service dog papers and they showed them to police, who insisted he remove the dog, Nachuk said.

“Those police officers, whom I expected to assist me with this issue, and to protect my rights, granted to us all under the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, in fact, threatened me with imprisonment if I did not remove Gambler,” Nachuk said in a statement about the adjudicator’s decision.

The incident worsened his trust issues, said Nachuk, who is now based in CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick. He was based at CFB Shilo, near Brandon, at the time of the incident.

The details of his settlement with the Brandon Police Service won’t be disclosed, but the commission did release an adjudicator’s decision that a $5,500 settlement offered earlier by the police force was insufficient, in part because they should be expected to uphold human rights, not contravene them. The Brandon Police Service issued the following statement:

“Brandon Police Service is well apprised of and understands applicable human rights legislation and policies in Manitoba.  With respect to the alleged incident involving Mr. Nachuk, Brandon Police Service believes that its Members acted in a reasonable and appropriate manner. The Human Rights Code (Manitoba) was amended following the Complaint and now includes a specific definition for “service animals”.  Brandon Police Service has since updated its policies and has committed to providing training to all of its Members with respect to these issues.”

It’s a significant victory in Nachuk’s eyes.

“Police services actually do have a special duty of care,” he said. “It’s their duty to help protect our rights.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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