Iqaluit cop pleads guilty to assault on wife
“You of all people should know wives are not punching bags”
An Iqaluit RCMP officer pleaded guilty in court last Wednesday to assaulting his common-law wife.
Const. Michael Salomonie, 28, received a conditional discharge with one year of probation. That means if he meets the terms of his probation, which includes a curfew and anger management counseling, he won’t get a criminal record.
Still, his career as an RCMP officer is likely finished.
“You of all people should know that wives, spouses, are not punching bags, are not to be assaulted,” scolded Judge René Foisy during his judgment.
“You deal with people who do that, and I’m sure you tell people that’s a no no.”’
During the early hours of Sept. 29, 2005, Salomonie and his wife, Ooloosie Taukie, began to argue about cheating inside their Capital Suites apartment.
It was an old argument that first arose when he returned from the RCMP’s training camp in Regina in October, 2002. During his lonely six months away from home, Salomonie had slept with another woman.
Anger and resentment followed. The court heard that Taukie retaliated by drinking to excess, taking recreational drugs and gambling, according to defence lawyer Andy Mahar.
“That made his position as a police officer very difficult,” said Mahar.
The stress made Salomonie snap on Sept. 29, according to Mahar, after he picked up an intoxicated Taukie while on duty around 3 a.m. and drove her to their apartment, then returned an hour and a half later off-duty.
They argued, then he grabbed her.
According to the Crown lawyer, Salomonie grabbed Taukie by the neck and dragged her to the stairs, where they struggled until one of their young children began to cry.
According to the defence, Salomonie only grabbed Taukie by the back of her shirt.
In either case, both agree the struggle left Taukie stripped of her shirt and bra.
Two other counts of assault were stayed during the trial, as well as one charge of careless use of a firearm.
In June 2003, Salomonie, then 25, received a conditional discharge for an assault that dated back to Feb. 15 that year, when he grabbed a man’s neck in a local bar.
Salomonie has been suspended without pay since February 21. An internal review by the RCMP will determine whether he stays with the force.
But one term of his probation imposes a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., making a return to his job unlikely.
During the trial Mahar pleaded with the judge not to convict Salomonie, warning it would jeopardize Salomonie’s ability to work in a related field.
He said Salomonie hoped to use his RCMP training in the future by working as a security guard in one of Nunavut’s mines, or as a wildlife officer.
But those jobs all require a clean criminal record.
“He’s got no hope if there’s a conviction,” Mahar said.
During his judgment, Foisy said he would have convicted Salomonie if he had a past history of spousal abuse, or if the assault had caused more serious harm.
He also gave Salamonie credit for pleading guilty, and saving Taukie from having to testify in court.
The judge ordered Salomonie to take an anger management course and any other counseling suggested by a probation officer, and to complete 75 hours of community service.
Another condition of Salomonie’s probation requires him to live apart from Taukie, unless a probation officer decides otherwise.
They only separated one Saturday before the trial, according to Mahar.
“There’s no question these people love each other. They still love each other. They’re expecting another child,” he said.