Warning: This story contains the description of violence and graphic language that some people may find offensive.
Surveillance video from inside the Regina Police Service booking area was shown at the sentencing hearing for an on-duty corporal who pleaded guilty to assaulting a teenage boy last month.
He pleaded guilty on Sept. 16 to common assault involving a 13-year-old boy, referred to as J.M. The teen was arrested on outstanding warrants by Regina police on Sept. 27, 2018.
In an eight-minute video from that day, J.M. is seen emptying his pockets while answering questions from two uniformed officers seen on screen.
An unseen RPS member asks the teen about an item, which court heard was a plastic baggie with a substance inside, stuffed into a pill bottle.
After saying it’s a “family thing,” J.M. stops responding. Magee then appears on camera for the first time, coming through the door from the booking office to approach the teen.
Magee is heard saying a profanity to the boy before placing his right hand on the back of the boy’s neck. J.M. goes down to the ground, with Magee’s left hand twisting the boy’s arm, according to the Crown.
The incident lasts several seconds, after which J.M. is seen crying and Magee returns to the booking office. No injuries were sustained in the altercation.
Both the Crown and defence said Magee has shown remorse and understanding of his actions, seeking counselling immediately after the assault.
Magee, an RPS member since 2002, personally addressed the court saying he owed the boy an apology.
“My behaviour that day was entirely unacceptable and avoidable,” he said, tearing up.
The matter was investigated by the Public Complaints Commission, which court heard could not locate the youth to submit a victim impact statement.
Crown claims ‘gratuitous violence’, defence says frustration
Crown attorney Bill Burge described the assault as “gratuitous violence,” adding it was an abuse of someone under 18 and abuse of authority.
Burge noted the area in which the assault took place is in a secured part of the police station, where no “responsible person” could come to the aid of the child.
Defence lawyer Aaron Fox told court this was not Magee’s first time encountering the youth, who had previous run-ins with law enforcement.
Fox said a memo sent to RPS members in the week prior to the boy’s arrest noted the teen may be carrying a “.22 pistol, machete and bear spray.” Court heard officers “tackled” J.M., injuring his left ankle, at the time of the arrest.
Fox said Magee’s frustration ‘boiled over’ in the booking area due to his concern the substance inside the baggie may be fentanyl, which can be lethal to the touch.
Fox argued the corporal was also under considerable personal stress at the time of the incident.
Court heard Magee was awaiting the outcome of a separate on-duty assault charge, which has been since dropped after successful remediation. His wife had also been diagnosed with a “serious and severe auto-immune disorder,” which placed her on permanent disability.
Fox read reference letters from several close friends who described Magee as a “sincere, compassionate” man. The defence then cited cases of Saskatchewan law enforcement officials who have received absolute or conditional discharges for their first offences.
The defence is seeking a conditional discharge, over 12 months, that would include continued counselling and 100-250 hours of community service at the judge’s discretion.
The Crown acknowledged it tempered its position for sentencing based on those references. It’s seeking a fine and probation, at the discretion of Judge Hinds, along with a conviction and no discharge.
Magee is facing a separate assault charge, involving an adult victim, that allegedly took place the day after the incident with J.M. The corporal has pleaded not guilty and the case goes to trial at Saskatchewan provincial court in Regina on Dec. 18.