‘Dif­fi­cult days’ await fam­ily of hit-and-run vic­tim: Ta­man

Winnipeg Free Press - - NEWS - BILL REDEKOP bill.redekop@freep­ress.mb.ca

THE fam­ily of Cody Sev­eright will need strength to deal with the “cir­cus” that awaits them in the jus­tice sys­tem, warned the hus­band of Crys­tal Ta­man, who died when an in­tox­i­cated po­lice of­fi­cer rear-ended her car in 2005.

Robert Ta­man said there will also be dif­fi­cult days ahead.

Sev­eright, 23, was killed about 8 p.m. on Tues­day while cross­ing Main Street in front of the Sutherland Ho­tel.

The ve­hi­cle didn’t stop, but off-duty Win­nipeg po­lice Const. Justin Holz was ar­rested shortly af­ter. Holz is charged with im­paired driv­ing caus­ing death and fail­ing to stop at the scene of an ac­ci­dent.

“Stay vig­i­lant in seek­ing jus­tice,” would be his ad­vice to them. “If you’re not aware of ev­ery­thing go­ing on, (the po­lice) are not go­ing to reach out and make you aware of it. You’re go­ing to have to go out and find it,” he said.

The Sev­erights “are go­ing to have to do a lot of work to get through this,” he said.

Ta­man trav­elled to the col­li­sion site Wed­nes­day evening for a vigil to of­fer his con­do­lences to Sev­eright’s friends and fam­ily. He de­scribed it as “eerie, a deja vu feel­ing” when he learned about Sev­eright’s death, then heard po­lice make the same dec­la­ra­tions.

“Things said up front about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and jus­tice and all those good things to the fam­ily that would make them feel good for the mo­ment, they were not en­tirely ac­cu­rate down the road” in his fam­ily’s ex­pe­ri­ence, he said.

But Ta­man em­pha­sized this is not about re­liv­ing his wife’s case.

“This isn’t the Ta­man case open­ing up again. I want the fo­cus to re­main on this fam­ily and what it’s go­ing through.”

Ta­man also ques­tions the po­lice cul­ture that had led to ex­cess drink­ing af­ter their shifts.

The case is be­ing han­dled by the In­de­pen­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit that Ta­man’s push­back against the sys­tem helped cre­ate.

Ta­man quit his po­si­tion as a civil­ian board mem­ber of the Man­i­toba Po­lice Com­mis­sion when a po­lice of­fi­cer moved to the IIU on a sec­ond­ment.

Ta­man said Sev­eright’s death may be the IIU’s big­gest test so far to see whether it can act in­de­pen­dently.

“This case, for me, is the rea­son I was so in­volved, to make sure that cases were in­ves­ti­gated prop­erly, and there would be trans­parency.”

Crys­tal Ta­man was killed when an off-duty of­fi­cer, re­turn­ing from an all-night party with fel­low of­fi­cers, rammed his truck into the back of her car at a red light.

The driver, Derek Har­vey-Zenk, had his most se­ri­ous charges stayed and was sen­tenced to two years less a day to be served at home in a con­tro­ver­sial plea bar­gain.

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