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Lawyer for Indigenous woman arrested by RCMP says officer used excessive force

Laura Phypers's lawyer says she was assaulted during an altercation with an Innisfail RCMP officer on June 3, 2023. (Supplied/Andrew Phypers) Laura Phypers's lawyer says she was assaulted during an altercation with an Innisfail RCMP officer on June 3, 2023. (Supplied/Andrew Phypers)

Innisfail RCMP say an officer was attacked by the driver and passenger of a truck they'd stopped on suspicion of impaired driving on Saturday, but the accused's lawyer has a different story of the encounter.

Officials say the officer stopped the truck after it allegedly went through a stop sign near the Innisfail Hospital on June 3.

"The driver and passenger were both intoxicated, belligerent and verbally aggressive with the officer," police said in a release.

"The driver was arrested for refusal to provide a breath sample, but refused to exit the vehicle. When police attempted to remove the driver, the passenger grabbed the driver to prevent her from being arrested."

The driver was eventually removed, but the passenger then got out of the truck and threatened the officer, RCMP said.

While the officer was attempting to bring the situation under control, police say the driver attacked him.

Eventually, both suspects were arrested.

The driver, Desiree Friesen, 24, of Red Deer, is charged with:

  • Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle;
  • Assaulting a peace officer;
  • Resisting arrest; and
  • Refusing to provide a breath sample.

The passenger, Laura Phypers, 37, of Red Deer, is charged with:

  • Assaulting a peace officer;
  • Obstructing a peace officer; and
  • Uttering threats.


Despite what the RCMP release stated, Andrew Phyper, who is Laura's brother said the woman, who herself is an Indigenous defence lawyer based in Red Deer, was attacked after requesting the officer obtain a clean straw for the screening device.

In a statement sent to CTV News on Monday, Andrew says the officer "escalated" the situation by pulling Friesen out of the vehicle.

When Laura came to the aid of her friend, Andrew says the constable attacked her.

"(The officer) delivered no less than seven closed-fist punches to the head and chest of Ms. Phypers. While roadside, Ms. Friesen was forced onto her face, and had her head slammed multiple times into the gravel."

(Supplied/Andrew Phypers)

The statement says Laura suffered a concussion, a broken nose, muscle damage, and has serious facial and cranial bruising as a result of the altercation. Friesen suffered bruising to her face, cranium, back, neck and back.

Both suspects were released on a promise to appear at the Alberta Court of Justice in Red Deer on June 20. Top Stories

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