From Monday September 29 to Friday, October 3, 1997 the last trial of Stoney Pointers charged in connection with an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) assault on their community proceeded in Sarnia. Warren Anthony George and David Abraham George, both of Stoney Point, face charges stemming from the September 6, 1995 confrontation with the OPP in which Dudley George was murdered by the OPP.
Firearms charges laid against Warren George, 24, were dropped on the first day of the trial. Crown Attorney Henry Van Drunen withdrew one charge of possession of a firearm dangerous to the public peace and one of use of a firearm during an indictable offense because of "no reasonable prospect of prosecution." Warren George still faces three charges: dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon, a car.
David Abraham George, 26, is charged with assaulting a peace officer and assault with a weapon, a piece of wood.
On September 4, 1995, the Stoney Pointers occupied the park, reclaiming Aazhoodena territory where a traditional burial ground is located. On September 6, 1995, over 32 members of the OPP's Crowd Management Unit (CMU), Emergency Response Team (ERT), and Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU) marched down a dark road at around 11 p.m., supposedly to secure a public access parking lot which the Stoney Pointers (also members of the public) had walked on or otherwise used in the previous days. The parking lot is adjacent to Stoney Point territory, formerly known as Ipperwash Provincial Park.
The OPP rushed three times at the Stoney Pointers and rattled their Plexiglas shields with their batons; a tactic called "shield chatter" and intended to intimidate. OPP officers arrested and beat a Kettle Point Band Councillor, Bernard "Slippery" George when he emerged from the park in an attempt to convince the OPP not to advance on or fire at the Stoney Pointers. After Slippery was beaten and taken by the OPP a school bus, followed by a car, drove out of the park. Driving into the CMU formation, the school bus driver and Warren George - driving the car - maneuvered through police lines in order to locate Slippery and, if possible, stop his beating.
It is alleged that Warren George struck several officers as he veered the car from the left side of the road to the right, knocking them into a ditch. OPP officer Mark Cloes testified that Warren hit Cloes at 60 Km per hour. As Cloes was allegedly struck, his legs were bent under the front of the car and dragged along the ground. Cloes' torso was wrapped around the front end of the car and he was dragged for 8-10 feet before falling on his back when the car stopped. Cloes also testified that he suffered minor muscle sprains after being struck and dragged by the car.
Several rounds were shot at the youth driving the bus and at Warren George driving the car before both vehicles - unable to locate Slippery - reversed back into the park.
In another incident during the same confrontation, David George is charged with assaulting OPP officer Kelly McGrath. McGrath testified that during the confrontation, David George hit him over the shoulder with a 2x4, causing immediate pain that lasted weeks and which left a mark on McGrath's back.
McGrath testified that he was concentrating on a big Native man in a white t-shirt approximately 10 meters in front of him when David allegedly struck McGrath over the shoulder. McGrath, like other members of the CMU, was wearing full riot gear including a helmet with a Plexiglas mask and carrying a Plexiglas shield when he allegedly identified David George as the individual who hit him.
Earlier on September 6, 1995, McGrath had seen a picture of David George on a warrant he had been shown by another officer. David George was then pointed out to McGrath as David passed by an OPP checkpoint near to the park. McGrath also testified that he had identified David George in the park several times on September 6, though he failed to make any mention of it in his notebook. When asked by defense lawyer Peter Hatch if David George was the one Native person in the park who McGrath could positively identify, McGrath replied that Dudley George was the only Native person other than David George that he could identify. Dudley George was killed by Acting OPP Sergeant and TRU team member Kenneth Deane on September 6, 1995.
The first week of Warren George and David George's trial wrapped up as the prosecution rested its case. Prosecution Lawyer Van Drunen also called OPP Inspector John Carson, who was the superintendent of the operation; Staff Sgt. Wade LaCroix, commander for the Crowd Management Unit; George Hebbelthwaite, Second-in-Command of the CMU as well other CMU and TRU team officers to the stand. The trial will continue on December 15 in Sarnia when defense lawyers Peter Hatch and Jeffry House will present their case.
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