WARNING: Some readers may find the details and videos in this story to be disturbing.
The second day of a trial for a man accused of attacking a police officer and then using a U-Haul van to run over pedestrians in downtown Edmonton heard Const. Mike Chernyk, the officer, who came under attack, share an emotional account of what happened to him.
On Sept. 30, 2017, Chernyk was working special duty outside an Edmonton Eskimos game at Commonwealth Stadium when a car slammed into him. The driver then got out and began attacking him with a knife.
On Thursday, a Crown prosecutor asked Chernyk what went through his mind as he began to fight off his attacker.
Abdulahi Hasan Sharif is facing 11 charges, including five counts of attempted murder, in connection with the events that unfolded two years ago.
On Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Wheaton said that a number of people came to Chernyk’s aid after he was initially hit by the car but that they fled after the driver approached and began trying to stab the officer in the head.
Chernyk told the court he noticed lights approaching him before he was hit by the car.
“I could hear the engine accelerating and the vehicle travelling faster,” he said. “I thought the vehicle was going to hit me so I turned to my left to get out of the way.
“I thought I’d given myself enough time to move out of the way of the vehicle, but that didn’t happen.”
He said he remembered flying through the air and trying to protect his head. His next memory was of someone being on top of him and feeling a burning sensation on his head, something he quickly realized was the pain from being stabbed by his attacker.
Chernyk told the court how he fought off the attacker.
“With my left hand I grabbed at the knife the male was holding to stop him from stabbing me,” he said. “As soon as I did that I could feel the male feeling around my duty belt for my service pistol.
“I reached with my right hand, grabbed my pistol and pushed it further into the holster so that it would not come out.”
Chernyk said he was then able to overpower the attacker and get the knife away from him.
“I began to follow him,” Chernyk said while breaking down in tears, “but I didn’t know how badly I was injured and I felt it best to not follow him because of how injured I was.
In addition to hearing testimony from Chernyk, jurors were shown surveillance videos of the incident that unfolded later that September night, when four people were struck by a U-Haul van.
Jurors saw footage of the van driving through downtown Edmonton, at times veering through oncoming traffic and with police vehicles pursuing it.
One of the videos was of the alley outside a bar and showed a pedestrian being hit by the van.
Sharif, who has been in custody since the incident, is representing himself in his trial. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges laid against him.