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Bizarre Dragging Death in Toronto

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posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 08:35 AM
They are definitely looking at the victim's past. I wonder if they are taking the same trouble to investigate the former Attorney General's past.

Apparently the victim had a history of forging cheques in small amounts to himself. He may have been a small time rogue but he was hardly Jack the Ripper.

Toronto police said that Mr. Sheppard did not have a criminal record in Ontario, but Edmonton police said Alberta had 61 outstanding warrants for his arrest.

The warrants related to allegations that Mr. Sheppard forged checks and cashed them at Money Marts in Alberta, Edmonton police said.

"He was the subject of a substantive fraud, uttering forged documents, stolen property file," said Staff Sergeant Bill Allan of the Edmonton Police Service. "What this guy was doing was he was going to Money Mart and he was cashing cheques for like $98 to himself."

I wonder if there are other dangerous driving incidents in Bryant's past. People don't usually start out running amuck and killing someone, do they? Veteran crime reporters at the Globe should know that criminals usually build up to their more spectacular capers.

I'm trying to say that I wonder if both parties to this incident are being given even handed treatment.

posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 08:59 AM
Here is the way that the Toronto Sun media group is reporting the incident.

Sheppard, a bike messenger for the last 18 years and a father, had encountered police earlier that night after officers responded to reports of fighting at his girlfriend's George St. apartment just after 9 p.m., sources said.

His girlfriend, Misty Lee Bailey, said in an e-mail to the Sun that he might have been drunk.

Police won't confirm if Sheppard was intoxicated but said Bryant had not been drinking before the crash.

When Sheppard left the apartment, he got into a fight with a homeless man outside the building, police sources said. At some point that evening, he ended up in the back of a police cruiser but was released without charge.

Sgt. Tim Burrows said there was an altercation between Sheppard and Bryant, driving his black Saab convertible, on Bloor St. W., near Bay St., which ended with a minor collision around 9:45 p.m.

The cyclist approached Bryant and a female passenger, then grabbed on to the car, police said.

Bryant drove west on Bloor St. W. with the man clinging to the car until he fell off about 100 metres away on the south side of the street.

Bryant stopped at the nearby Park Hyatt hotel on Avenue Rd. and called police.

Note the passage in bold, above. Do you think that is telling the whole story? Do you think that maybe some actions by one party have been left out of the story, while actions taken by the victim are given fuller coverage?

posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 09:21 AM
reply to post by ipsedixit

There is absolutely a bias here.

Bryant - by numerous witness accounts - drove his car at high speed across one lane of traffic and used objects on the sidewalk to scrape him off the car, depositing him under the rear wheels.

He was not on his bicycle, he was holding on for dear life. Again, eyewitness accounts.

ANY other person would - at the very least - have had a bail hearing. Bryant left on his own, and even had a statement for the press. An apology to the family of the deceased, and a request for the press to back off him for a few days.

I find the police handling of this disturbing. The media is playing Bryant up - for the moment. Be interesting to see what today (tomorrow for me) brings - apparently there are some protests scheduled for today, and a memorial this weekend. Hopefully someone in the media will start looking at this more evenhandedly - because from here it looks like Bryant has everyone eating out of his hand.

posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 09:31 AM
reply to post by vox2442

If you click on the link below and then go to the top of the page, there is a "listen live" link that will allow you to hear AM 640 talk radio on the subject of this incident.

So far the host of the program has been ripping cyclists and the bohemian bike courier culture. He also said that the victim lived in a seedy section of town.

It just occurred to me that Mr. Sheppard, the victim in this case was known to his friends as an aspiring comedian. Maybe that is the key to understanding this story.

Substitute John Belushi, Chris Farley or Artie Lange for Sheppard and suddenly the story starts to make sense. Of course he held onto the car and slid on his shoes along side of it. Of course he kept holding on when stuff started to hit him. Of course he fell under the wheels.

That's what's supposed to happen in comedy.

Except that after the well heeled heel drives off, Chris Farley gets up, dusts himself off and goes into McDonald's to see if he can score a Big Mac and some coke.

[edit on 2-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 05:33 PM
Further detail is starting to emerge with regard to this case. What is coming out is starting to reflect badly on the police. Obviously one doesn't want to base an evaluation of this story on what is said by one party, but it seems that there is uncertainty with regard to just what the situation was at Mr. Sheppard's girlfriend's apartment when the police first became involved.

Police say Sheppard, 33, grabbed onto a car following an altercation with the driver. They say the driver drove away with Sheppard hanging on. He then fell and suffered fatal injuries.

Sheppard's girlfriend says he was drinking the night he died.

Misty Bailey said Sheppard was drunk when he visited her and he rested and slept, then insisted on going home.

Bailey said she didn't ask him to leave and would have loved for him to stay where she knew he'd be safe.

Sheppard, at one point, was in the back of a police cruiser and Bailey asked police to drive him home, but instead they let Sheppard go, she said.

Police have said they responded to a call about Sheppard barely an hour before his death, but added there were no allegations of criminal activity.

Also, Bryant is claiming innocence and the press continues to gloss over his actions leading up to Mr. Sheppard's death.

I must say that I am amazed that with two high profile lawyers being accosted in the street by a cyclist, neither one of them thought to take out their cell phone and dial 911.

I can understand trying to drive away from a confrontation, but as soon as Mr. Bryant realized he was dragging Mr. Sheppard along with him, he should have stopped his vehicle and he and his wife should have gotten out and run away from it.

Edit to add: People may scoff at this and say that hindsight is 20/20 and that I sound self righteous, but I'm not being self righteous.

I've been a security guard for many years now and have been in numerous screwy situations like this.

My point is that Bryant wasn't an ordinary guy in the street. He was the former Attorney General of the province. He should know what the law requires him to do in these types of situations. Back down and get away. Then call the authorities.

[edit on 2-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 10:31 AM
The Top Ten Ways to Get a Bicycle Courier to Let Go of Your Vehicle

These are inspired, on the comic side by budding comedian and former bicycle courier, Darcy Sheppard and on the more pragmatic and sinister side by former Attorney General of Ontario, Michael Bryant.

10. Drive to a car wash and let the roller mop knock him off.

9. Drag him to a car dealership and trade the car in on a newer model.

8. Call CAA on your cell phone and have them do something about it.

7. Take an envelope out of your glove box and ask him to deliver it to the police station.

6. When you notice he's drunk, offer to drag him to the nearest bar.

5. Give a squeegee kid an extra couple of bucks to clean the side as well as the windshield.

4. Tell your wife to use the cell phone to call the police and then drag him until they arrive.

3. Drag him along the street and turn on your emergency flashers and honk your horn when you see a police car.

2. Tell him you're going to swerve to the center line and open the car door when you see oncoming traffic.

1. Drag him along the wrong side of the street, mount the side walk and smash him into whatever is there until you kill him.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 12:14 PM
What exactly was the problem with not driving away, and calling the cops.

Somehow, I think that the reaction time for an AG is going to be only a couple of minutes in downtown Toronto. And this is downtown Toronto.

He made a choice to pursue a set of actions that almost certainly would cause death.

I will give this much. I have been in the situation of someone - actually two times - trying to carjack me. I began to roll away slowly after they put their hands on the car. They would have gotten their feet run over if they hadn't let go of my car. I rolled away rolling up the windows while moving. I didn't want to hurt the person. But I would have if I needed to.

I gave the person enough warning that they were going to get hurt, and if they'd pursued the action they would have gotten hurt.

At any point Bryant could have stopped the car and yelled at the guy to get off. I'm pretty sure that at that point the person is now aware of your willingness to not continue and is going to get the hell off.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 01:27 PM
I would like to see justice done in this case.

Once Bryant started to drag Sheppard with his car, Bryant became the agressor in the situation. My top ten list was designed to show that there were options available to him, as agressor, in the situation. The choice he made in the situation justifies the charges against him.

If he did what has been alleged, he is guilty of criminal negligence causing death and reckless operation of a vehicle causing death. He should be sentenced accordingly.

He was both reckless and negligent. Negligent in the sense that he did not calibrate his response in a way that was appropriate to the situation.

There is a lot of collateral damage here in the way of family members of both parties, affected. I feel for those people. I feel for Bryant's wife and children, but what he did was not the only option. Personally, I feel that there was something calculated about it.

Bryant is a highly educated political operator. I don't think he was "losing it" when he killed Sheppard. I think he did what he did knowing full well that he could make a case in court and get off.

Personally, I fully expect him to get off with some kind of suspended sentence that will be completely expunged from the record in a few years.

[edit on 3-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 09:00 PM
The problems of being careful to give the appearance of impartiality are being felt in this case.

The Ministry of the Attorney General, which administers justice in the province, is treading carefully to avoid any whiff of political interference.

It's hired top Vancouver criminal lawyer Richard Peck to prosecute the case and isolated the bureaucrats who are overseeing the process from Bryant's former Liberal colleagues, like current Attorney General Chris Bentley.

So far, so good.

One expert predicts an out-of-province judge will also be recruited to preside over Bryant's case, which made headlines across the country.

Another good idea.

"No one for a minute would suggest that a provincial court judge would actually be biased in his favour," said Toronto defence lawyer Jonathan Rosenthal.

Ha, ha, ha. These people, the Ontario establishment, never step out of character in the Kabuki theatre.

"But it certainly would have the apprehension that she would be biased, that she would not be independent, and that's why they'll bring in a judge from another province."

Thankyou. I'm soothed. I want to have a cookie with my milk now, so I can go back to sleep.

The choice of judge ultimately lies with Chief Justice Annemarie Bonkalo of the Ontario Court of Justice, who was appointed by Bryant in 2007.

Is the choice of judge important? Such a lot of bother about these choices is made in the crass, vulgar United States. Maybe that choice should be exported to another province too. I think so.

He also appointed associate chief justices Peter Griffiths and John Payne.

Sylvia Gudzowski, Bonkalo's assistant, said the matter is "currently under consideration," but declined further comment.

Have the whole matter, including the choice of judge to hear the case, decided out of province.

The high-profile case has already raised questions about whether Bryant - who was released from police custody Tuesday without appearing before a judge - received preferential treatment.

After spending the night in police custody, a clean-shaven Bryant emerged to face the cameras dressed in a dark suit that had been delivered to the station.

But it would have been "almost impossible" to get a timely bail hearing for Bryant, which would have required an out-of-province judge and a prosecutor to avoid any potential conflict of interest, said Rosenthal.

"I wouldn't say it was preferential treatment, I would say it's different treatment," he said.

"Let's face it, it's probably the first time that the police ever arrested the attorney general from the province."

I'm trying to decide whether that last bit is hard to believe or easy to believe. Either way is not good.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 09:51 PM
Ok, I'm going to get flamed for this, but I really think some important points have been left out of this thread.

It is very unfortunate that the cyclist lost his life. It is also unfortunate that the driver of the car felt he had no option but to drag the bicyclist until he fell off, or was scraped off by the articles on the street.

Now, here is why I expect to be flamed. I believe that there is a very good possibility that the cyclist caused the initial altercation. Bicycle messengers or couriers are often a menace on the streets. The do not very often follow any of the traffic laws, and if you have ever cut one off as they ride wherever they please, you are sure to get a string of expletives thrown at you as well as bodily threats.

If you were to be in an accident with one of these cyclists, the last thing you would do is abandon your car, if you were a middle aged couple and were to try and out run this person on foot, what chance would you have against a person who spends their life exercising on a bicycle? You would be run down an perhaps assaulted. The fact that this cyclist held onto the car and refused to let go indicates to me that this person was trying to physically address the issue. There is no reason at all you would physically grab a car after an accident.

Now, given the additional information regarding the cyclists past in Edmonton, leads me to believe that following the law would not have been this cyclists main point of concern. Add to that having been in a police car earlier in the evening, and the issue with his girlfriend, leads me to think that the cyclist might not have been in a very positive mood either.

So we have potentially upset cyclist in an altercation with middle aged couple driving a convertible SAAB in Toronto. Couple feels the need to escape the situation and cyclist grabs car. It doesn't take a huge leap of logic to consider the cyclist might have at this point been screaming expletives at the driver and his wife. Driver of the SAAB, continues for 100M until cyclist is no longer attached to car, (I suspect the cyclist let go, as we hear nothing of a severed hand) and Driver calls police.

This situation really could probably have been avoided if: 1) Road cyclists had some form of identification ie: license plates and 2) Were properly considered traffic on the road and adhered to the traffic laws as all of the cars are required to.

I know if I had been the driver in a situation where a cyclist was attempting or approaching my vehicle in a threatening manner, I too would leave the situation. If a cyclist were to then grab onto my car expecting me to stop he would be seriously mistaken.

I have ridden many bicycles throughout my life. I have also in my youth, been a bicycle courier and took my chances on the roads as well. So I'm not saying that this circumstance worked out in the best possible way, but a lot of posts here are blaming the driver without any consideration to what that driver may have been faced with at the time. I am not considering the previous job of the driver, just addressing the circumstances which I believe brought this situation to a head.

Thanks for reading,
Flame on

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 10:05 PM
Rage/Panic/bravado/alcohol.....its a deadly combo. Too bad one of these idiots had to die though. Or is this an example of natural selection.

[edit on 3-9-2009 by The Great Day]

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 10:29 PM

Originally posted by v3_exceed
Driver of the SAAB, continues for 100M until cyclist is no longer attached to car, (I suspect the cyclist let go, as we hear nothing of a severed hand) and Driver calls police.

I agree with a lot of what you are saying. However, in the situation, there was no reason for Bryant to know or to assume anything about what happened to Sheppard earlier in the evening or back in Alberta.

It is clear that this started as an angry confrontation arising from some traffic related incident. Bryant tried to drive away from the confrontation.


Sheppard grabbed Bryant's vehicle.


Bryant continued to drive, dragging Sheppard, probably hoping he would let go.


Sheppard did not let go.

This is a problem.

Bryant continued to drive and, as far as we know, did not call 911.

This is bad.

Bryant should have stopped the car near the construction workers and gotten out with his wife on the passenger side. I don't think an assault would have taken place.

Bryant could have undertaken other manovers that would not have been fatal to Sheppard, including dragging him along at a reasonable rate of speed until he saw a police car.

Your description of what he did do (above) is typical of the way segments of the press are handling this issue. I think the charges he faces represent a true estimation of his conduct. He went way over the line in the scale of his response.

On the subject of cyclists, I agree with the notion that they are often a pain in the ass and violate all manner of traffic signs etc., almost at will. But that really is another issue, one that is being used to cover for outrageous, really murderous, behavior by a former attorney general.

[edit on 3-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 10:51 PM
reply to post by ipsedixit

Good Evening, and thanks for not flaming me.
Ok, you are correct that there is no way the driver would have known about the police altercation earlier in the evening, nor the cyclists past in Edmonton.

I mentioned these two aspects because they lend additional information to the speculation. In all likelihood, the driver only saw an upset cyclist approaching his car where he and his wife sat.

The story reports it was late at night. I have been in Toronto late at night, and like most major cities it is not entirely safe at night. Why did the driver not drive at a slow speed? I would not have as in a convertible this could provide opportunity for the cyclist to climb onto or into the car.

I have to disagree that the manner in which cyclists follow the traffic laws is a smokescreen. In this case I think it is likely the cause of the whole situation. Especially at night in a major city. I don't know for sure who made the 911 call, but in any case the call was made, and the driver did stop.

I don't believe it was a malicious action on the part of the driver, I think he was probably very scared for himself and for his wife. When the cyclist would not let go, he may have panicked and drove more aggressively to shake the cyclist off.

Now, I live on the west coast, close to Vancouver. There have been many instances of cyclists blocking traffic, and threatening drivers who show little compassion for their cause. I have not been to Toronto in some time, but I suspect that it is much the same. The bottom line here is that any person who is on the roads needs to respect the traffic laws, at least to the point where we don't cross on Red, and we check for others if not for their safety, then for our own.

Imagine for a moment, you and a cyclist have an issue late at night when you and your wife are alone in a major city. If that cyclist assaults you and your wife then rides off or simply leaves, what is your recourse? There are no license plates, no qualifications the cyclist needs to pass, and no way to identify that person later, except for your fuzzy memory.

As I said, it is unfortunate, but I suspect many of the people on this board, all bravado aside, would have done something similar if it was their life and their wife put in this situation.

Thanks for reading.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 11:00 PM
reply to post by v3_exceed

I don't think you are fully up to speed with the facts of the case.

The 911 call was made from a hotel after Bryant had driven along the sidewalk on the wrong side of the street, trying to use trees and poles and whatever was there to dislodge Sheppard.

After Sheppard fell under the wheels of Bryant's vehicle and was mortally wounded, Bryant drove away from the scene (very tellingly, a crime for which he has not been charged) to a nearby hotel where he made the 911 call. During the process of dragging Sheppard, the man's shrieks could be heard by nearby construction workers.

I think at some point in all this Bryant clearly had the upper hand. It's possible, considering the shrieking, Sheppard's hand was caught on something. In any case Bryant could have stopped and ended the incident without killing Sheppard, in my view.

[edit on 3-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 11:39 PM
The way I read this scenerio:

1) the initial accident which damaged Sheppard's bike. Argument ensues. Despite having just been in an accident, Bryant takes off. (leaving the scene of an accident)

2) Sheppard grabbed the car in an attempt to get him to stop. I have seen this before - it's extremely stupid, but I have seen people do this. I guess the thinking is that the person will stop the car, rather than risk killing them. Not a bright move, but given the accident that had just happened, trying to stop the person that is trying to leave is perfectly reasonable. The method isn't, but the desire certainly is. Especially if it's a bike courier, whose bike is also their livelihood.

3) Bryant hit the gas. Sheppard, at this point, had two options: Hang on and try to get him to stop, or let go and get very badly hurt. If I found myself hanging from a moving car, I'd be holding on for all I was worth, and doing whatever I could to stop the car.

4) Bryant killed him, and went to a hotel.

5) Bryant spent a few hours at the traffic lockup, had a fresh suit delivered, and was given a chance to change his clothes and have a shave before leaving the station (incredibly unusual for the police to allow that).

6) Bryant allegedly retained the services of a PR firm to handle the media response, and it has been confirmed that he has also had his own team of investigators working on the case, including forensics specialists. Shortly thereafter, the Toronto media seems flooded with stories from Sheppard's past - including statements of his mental state shortly before the incident that contradict the already broadcast comments from the people that were actually with him.

7) Canadian news websites and blogs are flooded with pro-Bryant comments from recently registered members.

He's going to walk free on this. He's got the money, he's got the contacts, and he's got a PR firm to drown out anyone who cries foul.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 11:50 PM
reply to post by vox2442

I think you are absolutely right.

What this is about now is how the establishment in Ontario will and are undertaking to rescue Bryant from his predicament and preserve a facade of respectability in the eyes of the public.

I think that is why he was not charged with leaving the scene of an accident. That is the one part of the story where Bryant has no wiggle room. Presto, that charge magically disappears.

The way the press are reporting Bryant's actions reflects a concern for his future political career, I believe. I think there are people in a position to make sure that no dead drunk from St. George and Dundas area is going to wreck the career of a Liberal Party star.

[edit on 3-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 06:06 AM

Originally posted by ipsedixit
The way the press are reporting Bryant's actions reflects a concern for his future political career, I believe. I think there are people in a position to make sure that no dead drunk from St. George and Dundas area is going to wreck the career of a Liberal Party star.

Scratch the word "liberal" and you have it. This transcends simple party politics - even the traditionally anti-liberal media outlets are on this bandwagon. Everyone is digging in to the smear. Favours to follow.

posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 09:02 AM
reply to post by vox2442

You might be right about that. I think that when people inquire as to why the "leaving the scene" charge was dropped there will be some blather put forward as to the insignificance of the charge relative to the other charges and that a conviction on those charges will have the same effect, as a punishment.

But the reality is that this charge is a very important part of the crime. What the authorities have chosen to do in effect is to punt to the sideline when they are in easy distance of a field goal. I think they are in the process of throwing the game.

To me it looks like a classic "bait and switch". Convince the public that they are going after Bryant on very serious charges while carefully steering him away from a lesser but still serious charge where they have him dead to rights.

Then, with luck and able representation, he may be able to wiggle out of those charges that are laid.

[edit on 4-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 10:51 PM
reply to post by ipsedixit

It's been a long time since I've lived in Toronto (or Canada, for that matter) - I wonder if you could do me a favour, next time you're out?

This article in the Star has Bryant paying his bill at Danforth and Pape at 9:36pm, and then getting in the initial accident at 9:45 - at Bay and Bloor.

Let's say his car was parked directly outside. Give them a minute to get out and into their car. That's 8 minutes. I can't say I ever managed that stretch without hitting at least ONE light - and I'm pretty sure the subway took longer than that to Pape station...

If you're out and about, I'd be interested to see if it's possible to drive that distance in 8 minutes without speeding...

posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 11:21 PM

Originally posted by vox2442
This article in the Star has Bryant paying his bill at Danforth and Pape at 9:36pm, and then getting in the initial accident at 9:45 - at Bay and Bloor.

Danforth and Pape is in "Greektown" where the traffic can be heavy because of the concentration of restaurants and clubs in the area. But assuming light traffic, heading west you have a bottleneck at Broadview (heavy traffic intersection with light), a light at Castlefrank, a light at Sherbourne (another heavy traffic area) a light at Jarvis, a light at Yonge (another heavy traffic area), and then Bay.

I don't drive but a friend who does told me he didn't think it was possible because of the traffic lights. Some lights are synchronized at night I believe, so you might catch them just right, but it is hard to believe.

Maybe the paper has the facts wrong.

Incidentally, it seems that Bryant's defense will hinge on a claim that Sheppard grabbed the steering wheel of the vehicle. I assume he will contend that Sheppard was the one driving recklessly and that he Bryant, the hero, was valiantly trying to regain control of the vehicle, which he did when Sheppard fell off after causing the vehicle to mount the sidewalk on the wrong side of the street, etc., etc.

I'm sure that's going to fool some of the people. The question is, are there witnesses who can dispute his claim? I for one do not believe that is what happened. Just the mechanics of it are unbelievable. However, if you wanted to muddy the waters with a yarn, this would be a good one.

[edit on 5-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

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