More than two years after Calli Vanderaa was shot and seriously wounded with a stolen RCMP gun, the teenager is taking Manitoba sheriffs to court.
A lawsuit was filed today alleging sheriff’s officers used excessive force when Vanderaa and her father were taken into custody following a courthouse confrontation.
Two weeks ago, Vanderaa and her father, Corey, were led from the Winnipeg courthouse in handcuffs after Matthew McKay, the man accused of shooting her, was acquitted of all charges.
That’s when McKay allegedly blew Calli a kiss from the prisoner’s box.
Corey, who was upset with the ruling, allegedly uttered threats at the accused and was arrested in the hallway by sheriffs.
“In those moments as (her dad) is being taken down the hallway, Calli, who is severely traumatized, is hysterical. She takes her cell phone and films the removal of her dad,” Vanderaa’s lawyer Robert Tapper said. “Where upon three officers accost her.”
Calli was also arrested and allegedly taken to the ground by three sheriffs before being arrested and held in jail for six hours, according to her lawyer.
“They report to arrest her and gang tackled her to the ground,” Tapper told Global News. “One puts his knee, or her knee, on (Calli’s) back. Another puts her knee on her head. She’s picked up, handcuffed and kept in jail…this shooting victim. This traumatized shooting victim… for six hours.”
Both Calli and her father were eventually released without any charges.
Tapper said it was an egregious use of excessive force and in the statement of claim said sheriff’s told Calli she was being arrested for the ‘offence of using a camera in the courthouse.’
However, Tapper said there is no such law, it is a law court policy.
According to the Manitoba courts website “the taking of photographs and the making of video recordings within a Manitoba court facility is strictly prohibited, unless express written permission by the Court has been given through the office of the Executive Assistant to the Chief Justices and Chief Judge.”
Tapper said Calli, who already was suffering from severe PTSD from the shooting, is now even more traumatized.
“She was a shooting victim. She was heavily traumatized,” he said. “It was a horrendous event. Just horrendous.”
While Tapper said this was a shocking and brutal incident, he also noted it is an isolated incident.
“Lets be clear, the sheriff’s department has a tough job to do from time to time and they do it very well,” he said. “They do a great job. But what happened here, I have no idea why it happened or what was in their minds.”
The province said it has been formally served with the statement and “will review it to determine our position. As this is an ongoing matter before the courts, we are unable to comment further.”
The lawsuit is seeking general and punitive damages.
No statement of defence has been filed.