location: publications / books / Justice Behind the Walls / Sector 3 / Chapter 2 The Disciplinary Process at Matsqui / August 1993: The Wagner Case - The Disciplinary Process in Context

ICP : Now, paint a picture if you can for me of the surrounding circumstances. I know that we're in this 3 South cell area now and it's about 8:30 in the evening. Are there other inmates around?

IW : Yes, all the inmates are loose. The phone calls were being made at that time. There was a congregation of inmates outside the control room.

ICP : How far is that away? Seventy feet?

IW : No, it wouldn't even be that. I would say maybe twenty feet to the common area there, and there were inmates congregating at the far end of the range.

ICP : You guys were arguing about this bottle of ink? Laker's still with you, though?

IW : Yeah, she is. I'm in the doorway at the cell and she was outside the doorway to my left and behind me. I felt the situation was beginning to escalate, and I made the decision and I told him he was going to the hole. He wasn't handing over the contraband, and I felt in the situation that he should be removed out of the unit.

ICP : You told him, I'm going to take you from the cell now.

IW : Yeah. I told him, you're going to segregation. At the same time he handed me the ink, and then he sort of stepped back and then he came towards me like a rushing motion. That's when I decided I felt I had to push him back into the cell to contain him in that cell. I pushed him and I believe I grabbed somewhere on his arms. I had the tattoo gun in my one hand and I had a punch clock, which is a wand that's got a wrist strap.

ICP : Where's the ink bottle?

IW : I had that in my hand too. So I had everything in my hands. At that time I pushed him back in the cell. The wand ended up on his floor and the tattoo gun ended up on the floor outside the cell, and I think I ended up with the ink. I think it's the only thing I did have in my hand. At that time, when I grabbed hold of him to push him back in the cell, he also grabbed hold of my arms, and somehow he spun me and I bumped into the locker to my right and to his left in the cell. I pushed him back, and it was still verbal at that time. I was saying stuff to him. I couldn't tell you what was being said. We sort of held each other for a second and looked at each other, then both realized we were in a situation that shouldn't be going down and we both let go of each other. He backed off, and I just backed out and I locked the door. Officer Laker had already called for assistance from the bubble, and Officer Prue was coming outside the door and he was just outside the bubble area, and I yelled for him to get gas and restraints, to get handcuffs, which he did. We went right back. This was within thirty seconds, and I looked in the cell and saw inmate Wagner was packing up his tobacco and his papers and whatever he was gonna need. So we just opened up the door and I placed restraint equipment on him and we escorted him up to the hole. There was no more physical altercations. There was verbal stuff on the walkway, but that was it.

ICP : Now, you refer to a rushing motion. I want you to direct your mind to that.

IW : I don't know if he was going to try to push me out of the cell. My assumption was he was going to block me from closing the door. That's why I pushed him back, so I could lock the door.

ICP : He was going to block you from . . .

IW : Well, I think he was going to block . . . hold the door. That's what it appeared to me. I don't think he was rushing to hit me or anything at that time. I think he was coming to the door to stop me from closing the door [emphasis added]. Whether to argue the fact or whatever...

ICP : You perceived he was going to block you from closing the door, i.e., he wanted the door left open?

IW : Yeah.

ICP : So then you went into the cell and he grabbed you?

IW : Yeah, it was basically at the same time. You know, when I made the motion. I would assume that I got a hold of him first. Because I made the first grabbing motion [emphasis added]. He made the motion towards me and I made the grabbing motion.

ICP : Mr. Wagner, anything arising on that? Is that substantially what happened? It's always difficult.

P [Prisoner]: Can I make a comment on a few of those things?

ICP : Well, tell me what areas you want to look at here. I made notes on what the officer said.

P : It's pretty accurate on the second range down there. Yeah, I was tattooing. There's no doubt about that. When I was up I was washing my hands on the 3 South range washroom. He did tell me that I was gonna be going to the hole if I didn't co-operate and stuff, and I did tell him that either he could lock me up, I mean, do one or the other. Either lock me up but don't charge me, or if you're going to charge me don't lock me up. I just went to my room, right? And then he asked me to hand over the ink. I didn't hand him the ink. I told him I had a permit for it and he told me I was gonna be charged and I handed him the ink. He started closing the door and said you'll be charged anyways, I guess for being stubborn or whatever.

ICP : For tattooing, perhaps.

P : Yeah. And I wanted to talk to him. Like he said, I just wanted to talk, so I did, I made a quick motion towards the door and I grabbed the door and pulled the door open. But Officer -- what's her name?

ICP : Laker.

P : Yeah. I think she's blowing this thing a little more out of proportion . . . in her statements. She says in her statement that I ran for the door, I grabbed the door and I opened the door and pulled him inside the room by both arms.

ICP : That's not this officer's recollection either.

P: No. And the only way that he could escape was by pushing me into my desk and then escaping out the doorway. That wasn't the case. I didn't want no conflict. I would rather just avoid the whole thing. I was verbal, I was kind of mad.

ICP : Anything further, Mr. Wagner?

P : I just didn't want a confrontation with anybody. I got no assaults on my record.

ICP : Well, just give me a moment here. I want to review this. We're not going to hear from Officer Laker, apparently.

IW : She's writing an exam.

P : It's pretty accurate of when I was on the second range, and his statements I can tell you are more accurate than hers.

ICP : You're referring to the officers' statements, copies of which you were provided. You've had time to study them both . . . You've heard his evidence, and you're referring now to Officer Laker's statement which you think isn't as accurate as what we've heard here today.

P : Yeah.

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