Interaction With Police
Our client, a slight man in his early thirties, came into the office battered and bruised. He claimed he had been severely beaten by a police officer, who also charged him with a number offences including Assaulting a Peace Officer. He explained what happened:
Driving an un-plated vehicle, he was on his way to transfer the car’s ownership. He was pulled over by an officer who wrote him a number of tickets under the Highway Traffic Act. He was then forced to leave the car where it was and was cautioned not to move it without a valid plate. As soon as he could, he said he called a friend who drove him to obtain a temporary plate.He returned to the car and started driving home. As luck would have it, he was spotted by the same officer with whom he had the encounter.
With lights flashing behind him, the pulled into the parking lot of a plaza and rolled his window down, ready to explain.
He recalled how angry the officer looked as rushed to the car and pulled open the door. Feeling immediately threatened, the man says he flung himself to the passenger side to avoid the policeman’s vicious grasp. Becoming even angrier, the officer pulled the man out and inflicted what the man says was a vicious beating on the ground. He was then handcuffed and arrested.
The officer had given a different version of events. He said he reached for keys in the ignition. He claimed the motorist then punched and assaulted him, leading to the take-down and arrest.
While on the ground with the officer’s knee on his back, another driver was waiting to back out of a parking space which was blocked by this commotion. Our client tried to memorize the vehicle’s description and plate number, knowing this driver was a witness to the events. By the time he came to see us, he could only remember a portion of the plate. He asked us to help him find the driver of that car, who he was sure could corroborate his version of events.
When we opened our file, the first thing we did was photograph the injuries. This is a standard procedure in injury-related investigations. Next, we took as many details as possible of the vehicle’s description, the approximate appearance of the driver, and potential variations of the license plate.
After a lengthy investigation leading to what we believed was the correct vehicle, our investigator went out to interview the driver and obtain a witness statement. The witness was surprised. He confirmed that ‘yes’, he did witness the events. He went on to tell us that he was so traumatized by the unwarranted violence on the part of a uniformed police officer, as soon as he got home he called the police non-emergency line to make a complaint.
What he told us next was unbelievable. He was kept on hold by police for so long that he finally gave up and simply hung up the phone. Needless to say, this witness gave us a statement in which he fully corroborated what our client had said. We completed our report and closed our file.
Several months later, the client returned and told us the charges against him had been withdrawn and that his lawyer is currently in negotiations with police. He asked whether we still have the injury photos we took. He said his lawyer would like have copies so that he can show them to the other side to help in the value of his claim.