N.D.G. man convicted for shooting at SWAT officer
Published Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:31PM EDT
An aspiring rapper who was shot in the neck during a foot chase with police in the back alleys of N.D.G. was acquitted of attempted murder, but found guilty on several other counts, including drug trafficking, gun possession, and endangering the life of a police officer.
Quebec Court Judge Denis Lavergne ruled that Daniel Topey, 24, fired his weapon at SWAT agent Nicholas Brazeau during a drug operation on St. Jacques St. West in April 2007.
The judge acquitted Topey of attempted murder against Brazeau, saying the Crown could not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Topey intended to kill the officer.
But the judge said Topey's actions definitely threatened the officer's life, and he rejected Topey's argument that he never fired any shots.
Prosecutor Anne-Marie Otis says Topey deserves a stiff sentence.
"He ran away and he never explained the possession of the weapon," Otis told reporters.
"He never explained that he shot at the police officer."
On that night in April 2007, the Montreal Police Department's SWAT team, acting on a tip from an informant, lay in wait for Topey and proceeded to try and arrest him.
Topey ran away and fired a gun at Brazeau.
The officers returned fire, hitting Topey in the neck.
He ended up in a coma, and upon his recovery was charged with attempted murder.
Topey insists he was only trying to pull up his pants and that he never had a gun.
Family and friends say the gun recovered by police had been planted so that officers could justify the shooting.
The judge did not believe that theory, since Topey's fingerprints were on the weapon, and police recovered several empty shell casings.
Defended by family
His mother stopped just short of saying her son was a victim of racial profiling.
"I don't want to bring in racial profiling even though it is an indisputable fact that it exists," Huguette Milberg said outside of the courtroom.
"The SWAT team was given, I believe, wrong information.
"I do believe that people that look like my son are singled out many, many times."
Topey has completely recovered from his injuries, and been in jail since the incident.
His defence lawyer is asking for the sentence to cover only the time he has already served.
That would mean he'd be released but the Crown says he should stay behind bars.
Topey faces a minimum sentence of four years for shooting at police, and the crown plans to ask for a much stiffer sentence.