Victoria cop suffered a brain injury when she was hit during an arrest on a mental health appeal two years ago, ending her career as a police officer
A Victoria courtroom erupted in violence on Monday as a man who assaulted a Victoria police officer two years ago, leaving her with a head trauma, was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Aaron Chaignon, 24, was convicted on August 2 of assault causing bodily harm to Const. Jenny Lequesne, whose injuries ended her police career.
Monday was set for sentencing, and the sheriffs had cleared the hallway and were ready. Only Crown and defense attorneys, the accused and his parents, and Police Chief Victoria Del Manak were allowed into the courtroom.
Judge Karina Sacca asked Chaignon to stand up. As soon as Sacca said the word prison, however, Chaignon started shouting, yelling, âI’m not going to prison. I’m not going to jail. I’m not going to jail.
The sheriffs, who were waiting in the hallway, rushed inside and the judge made a quick exit.
Chaignon, enraged, screaming, kicking and whipping, was taken to the ground as sheriffs tried to calm him down.
âStop resisting. We are here to help you, âsaid an officer.
The minutes passed. Chaignon’s father left the courtroom in tears during the fight.
Eventually, Chaignon was put back on his feet and moved from the courtroom to another room in the courthouse, where his sentence – 15 months in prison followed by one year of probation – was concluded by telephone. The phone had to be cut to silence his screams.
“There are no winners here,” Victoria Police Chief Del Manak said, shaking his head as he left the courtroom. âBut it was important for me to be here today. I needed to be here for Const. Lequesne. I had to show him and all the other officers that attacks on our officers are unacceptable.
The charges stem from an altercation on October 27, 2019, when staff at a supportive housing unit asked Victoria police to watch Chaignon, who was screaming in his apartment and threatening to kill officers.
Five officers answered the call and, after speaking to staff, decided to apprehend Chaignon under the Mental Health Act. They spoke to Chaignon through the door and when he seemed to calm down they asked him to lie on the floor face down. When they opened the door, he was lying on the floor.
Lequesne handcuffed him, resting his knees on his back in the process. Chaignon was still while he was handcuffed. However, as Lequesne was about to stand, Chaignon rolled over onto his side, pulled his knee to his chest and knocked his leg down, hitting the officer in the face with his foot.
She was seriously injured and lost the ability to see things up close, which means she cannot read bedtime stories to her children and is unable to use a computer or drive the car. night. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder.
Manak said Monday’s courtroom events showed “our mental health system has failed us.”
âThe extreme aggressiveness and violence during the hearing of the judge’s sentencing decision really underscores how broken the mental health system is,â the police chief said.
Chaignon has a history of violence against the police. Forensic psychiatric assessments found he was at high risk for violence and suffered from several mental illnesses, Manak said.
âWhy does a person like this, who needs intensive mental health supports, live in supportive housing? The chief asked. âI have an officer who lost his identity, his career, his livelihood and suffered a head trauma. And we have an individual here who takes eight sheriffs to check him safely and take him into custody. It really shows how much change is needed in our mental health system. And that’s the tip of the iceberg of what our officers see on the street. “
Manak said the prison is not the place for people like Chaignon with severe mental illness, who need intensive mental health support, and that special attention should be given to involuntary care for people who cannot function in society.
âWhy do we have to wait for someone to commit a criminal offense, ruin the life of a police officer before we realize the system is letting that individual down? Manak asked. âHow many people and how many families are going to be destroyed on both sides?
Manak said he was extremely grateful to the sheriffs for using their team tactics and de-escalation techniques to get Chaignon to cooperate. âI think they did an amazing job. This was a controlled setting, but it just shows how quickly things can escalate.