Judge slams OPP officer, acquits Good Samaritan

Police brutality is the wanton use of excessive force, usually physical, but potentially in the form of verbal attacks and psychological intimidation, by a police officer. Widespread police brutality exists in many countries, even those that prosecute it. It is one of several forms of police misconduct, which include: false arrest, intimidation, racial profiling, political repression, surveillance abuse, sexual abuse and police corruption.

Judge slams OPP officer, acquits Good Samaritan

Postby Thomas » Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:46 am

ORILLIA - A 49-year-old-grandmother who was acting as a "Good Samaritan" was karate-kicked, sucker-punched, beaten and left with "catastrophic injuries" by a police officer, a judge said Tuesday.

It has been two long years since Maria "Tonie" Farrell was charged with assaulting a police officer in an incident that has left her crippled from a shattered knee.

But in his ruling, Justice George Beatty exonerated — and validated — Farrell when he found that it was OPP Sgt. Russ Watson who attacked her while on duty April 2, 2013.

Outside of court, Farrell — still in pain — wept and embraced her lawyer.

"This is the best Christmas present ever," she said. "I’ve been going through hell ... but I knew the truth would prevail."

Her defence lawyer, Angela McLeod, wept with her. "The greatest injustice was righted today," McLeod said.

During the on-and-off trial that dragged out over a year, court heard Farrell, an employee at Tim Hortons, was still in her uniform after work when she heard a woman screaming.

She ran behind a Mac’s convenience store in time to see a woman being punched in the face by a male who ran off. Farrell rushed to the woman’s assistance and when Watson arrived alone on the scene she tried to point out the direction of the assailant.

But she said the officer was aggressive and told her to "shut the f--- up."

"Mrs. Farrell was acting as Good Samaritan who went to the assistance of a woman who was being assaulted," the judge said. "She had no criminal record and wanted to assist Sgt. Watson."

He described the officer as a "controlling," "large and powerfully built" man.

"Watson kicked her to the side, a karate-kick that snapped her leg," said the judge. Farrell screamed in agony as she tried to defend herself.

"Watson then jumped on her and punched her on the left side of her face. She turned face-down and Sgt. Watson kept kneeing her in the back," Beatty said.

With her leg dangling, crying out in pain, Farrell was then handcuffed and taken to the cruiser.

She had injuries to her neck and back, a crushed knee that required several operations, a knee replacement and lost a back tooth. She now lives with her elderly parents because she will never be able to work again and can’t afford to pay rent.


During his testimony, Watson said he suspected Farrell had been drinking. He said she was disruptive and "took a poke" at him, then resisted arrest. But the judge didn’t believe him.

"Sgt. Watson provided no explanation as to how Ms. Farrell’s tibia was broken, or indeed, the reasons for the bruises on her legs and arms and the loss of a tooth," Beatty said. "His notes did not record the hammer strike to her left eye, which was basically a sucker punch … he suffered no injury and her injuries were catastrophic."

The judge said even if Farrell’s "excitement and zeal was distractive," her only intent was to help.

"Police officers are trained and experienced in handling people who may be intoxicated, drug addicted, mentally ill, armed or violent. They apply their psychological skills and use the minimum of force in maintaining the peace and protecting the public," Beatty said.

"That did not happen in this case."

The Special Investigation Unit investigated the case and found no reasonable grounds to charge Watson, although he refused to produce his notes.

"Our records show he came in for an interview but he would not provide his notes," SIU spokesman Jasbir Brar said. "That is within his legal rights."

The OPP did not respond to calls for comment Tuesday.

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/12/16/ju ... -samaritan
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Re: Judge slams OPP officer, acquits Good Samaritan

Postby Gkuke » Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:05 pm

The SIU should fire the useless idiot that investigated this case. A typical cop loving investigator that obviously protected this lying corrupt cop. This is what the public can expect from these useless, overpaid, bias investigators.

What happened SIU?

Did you forget to ask the victim any questions?

Did you immediately discredit the victim as a result of your bias opinion of the cop and the victim?

Since when is a cop not obligated to provide his notes?

Did this cop not provide his notes in the disclosure that was provided to the grandmother when she had to go to trial on this dirty cop's fabricated charges?

Seems more Judges are coming out of the 'bias cop protecting closet' and realizing that these corrupt cops need to be told off and centered out in order to begin to hold them accountable.

This notes for you Justice Robert Graydon and the very Honorable Lisa Cameron and Mary Vallee who had obvious evidence of corrupt cops in front of them yet opted to ignore it in their decisions.

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SIU urged to probe OPP officer's attack on grandma

Postby Thomas » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:24 pm

ORILLIA - The lawyer representing a woman who a judge found was karate-kicked and beaten by an OPP officer is crying out to the province’s police watchdog to launch a criminal investigation.

“My client has been permanently maimed,” said Barrie lawyer Angela McLeod, who wants the Special Investigations Unit to investigate. “This officer should be charged with aggravated assault.”

Justice George Beatty ruled Tuesday that OPP Sgt. Russell Watson caused “catastrophic” injuries to Maria “Tonie” Farrell, 48, who was an innocent witness trying to help during an incident in Orillia on April 2, 2013.

Farrell, a Tim Hortons cashier, was still in her uniform when she ran to the rescue of a woman who was being attacked. She was attempting to tell Watson which way the attacker went when he told her to “shut the f--- up.”

The officer then kicked and beat her, forced her into his cruiser with her broken leg dangling while she screamed in pain, then charged her with assaulting him, the judge said.

Farrell suffered a broken tibia, a crushed knee that required several operations and injuries to her neck, head and back.

Immobile and in pain, the grandmother faced further charges because she couldn’t go to court to answer to her assault charge. She then reached out to McLeod, who went to her home.

McLeod contacted the SIU to obtain the police officer’s notes. She was told Watson had refused to hand them over to investigators and refused to do an interview, so the SIU dropped its investigation because it had “no reasonable grounds” to prosecute.

“It’s ludicrous,” McLeod said Wednesday. “The SIU has failed my client and it has failed the people of Ontario.”

McLeod took the case to trial and won. Now, with the judge’s powerful ruling, McLeod wants to see a new investigation.

“This case cries out for the SIU to reopen the case, and if not, the Ontario ombudsman should step in,” McLeod said.

Spokesman Jasbir Brar said the SIU is looking into the matter.

“We have requested a copy of the judge’s decision,” Brar said. “If there is new information, we can reopen a criminal investigation.”

Brar confirmed police are not required to hand over notes or agree to interviews in SIU investigations.

“It is the legal right of an officer who is being investigated to decline interviews or to provide their notes,” she said. “It is based on their rights to protect themselves from self-incrimination.”

She noted the rule is similar to other civilians who have the right to remain silent if police are investigating them.

The OPP did not respond to calls Tuesday or Wednesday, but in an e-mail referred any questions to the SIU and the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD).

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/12/17/si ... on-grandma
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Charges Dropped in Assault Case

Postby Thomas » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:50 am

Judge rules it was the officer who assaulted the victim and not the other way around.

(Orillia) - Charges have been dropped against a woman in Orillia who had been accused of assaulting a police officer.

The judge in the case says it was the officer who attacked Maria 'Tonie' Farrell, leaving her with what he called 'catastrophic' injuries.

It was in April of 2013, Farrell was helping a woman who had been beaten up outside a convenience store.

The police officer who responded didn't chase after the suspect as she told him to, but ended up arresting Farrell.

However, during the arrest, Farrell was karate-kicked, sucker-punched and beaten.

She can no longer walk because one of her knees was shattered in the attack.

The Barrie Examiner reports the officer was never charged, but he was investigated by the police watchdog group, the Special Investigations Unit.

He refused to produce his notes from the event, as is his right.

OPP Sergeant Russ Watson testified that he suspected Farrell had been drinking.

He said she was disruptive and "took a poke" at him, then resisted arrest.

There has been no comment on the case from the OPP.

http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news ... wsID=71486
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‘Good Samaritan’ from Orillia acquitted; continues to fight

Postby Thomas » Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:22 am

‘Good Samaritan’ from Orillia acquitted; continues to fight for justice

In a case even the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) calls rare, a judge had some harsh words for an OPP Sergeant who claimed that he had been assaulted by an Orillia woman – charges that have been thrown out.

Tonie Farrell, 48, continues to limp her way around with a cane after two surgeries after a violent incident involving an OPP officer in 2013.

On April 2, 2013, Farrell, a mother of six and a grandmother of two, witnessed an assault between two young guys and one young girl in downtown Orillia. Moments later police arrived and Farrell says she tried to give Sergeant Russell Watson a description of the suspects.

“He told me to shut the f*** up and I stepped back and I asked is that the way you talk to people? I said what’s your name? Badge number? And I step to the write it and as I did he kicked me a karate kick to my leg,” says Farrell. “And he kept pounding on me, I was on the ground with my arms underneath me and he was on my back and he was pounding my head into the cement.”

Farrell was taken to hospital. She had a broken tibia and a crushed knee. Farrell was charged with assaulting a peace officer and obstruction.

The SIU looked into the incident but says it found no reasonable grounds to lay any charges against the officer. Sergeant Watson was interviewed by the SIU but did not provide a copy of his notes.

Earlier this week Farrell was found not guilty on both charges. In handing down his sentence, Justice George Beatty said Sergeant Watson was not injured while Farrell’s injures were catastrophic.

“We would really hope the SIU now with Justice Beatty’s ruling would take another look at the investigation would reopen it or initiate, to be frank, and consider whether he should be charged in our opinion he should be,” says defence lawyer Angela McLeod.

On Thursday, the SIU told CTV News "In light of the recent court findings, the SIU will be reviewing Justice Beatty’s decision."

“I believe if I had done that to someone I’d be in jail and I think that he should at least have to stand-up to the same thing if anyone else did that to someone,” says Farrell.

CTV News asked the OPP if the force or Sergeant Watson would answer questions about the case and was told no. Police would also not say if Sergeant Watson had been assigned to administrative duties after the incident.

Farrell says she plans on moving forward with a civil suit against the police officer and she is still hopeful the officer will be charged.

http://barrie.ctvnews.ca/good-samaritan ... -1.2154543
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Good deed punished — at the hands of a cop

Postby Thomas » Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:10 pm

In a scathing ruling, a judge throws out charges against Orillia’s Tonie Farrell, who went to the aid of a screaming woman and ended up severely injured.

It was just after 2 a.m. on April 2, 2013, when Tonie Farrell, on her way to a convenience store, heard a woman’s screams.

“I knew somebody was in trouble. That’s my instinct,” the 48-year-old Orillia woman told the Star, explaining why she decided to run into the darkness to help.

She said she found a woman being assaulted by three people, who fled as she approached. Within minutes, Farrell would suffer a shattered knee, bruises all over her body and a missing tooth, but not at the hands of one of the assailants.

In a scathing ruling earlier this month, Ontario Court Justice George Beatty threw out charges of assaulting and obstructing a police officer that had been leveled against Farrell, whom he described as simply a “Good Samaritan.” Instead, he lashed out at the officer Farrell was charged with assaulting at the scene, OPP Sgt. Russell Watson.
“He suffered no injury and her injuries were catastrophic,” he wrote.


Farrell said she now walks with a cane and takes daily pain medication. She said she’s been off work since the incident, and is living with her elderly parents.

Watson remains employed with the OPP and is not facing disciplinary proceedings. “A statement made by a judge or a justice during a trial of an accused is not a finding against an officer,” OPP spokesman Sgt. Peter Leon wrote in an email.

He said Watson did not wish to comment.

Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, originally concluded there were no reasonable grounds to charge Watson. Farrell and her lawyer, Angela McLeod, are pushing for the investigation to be reopened given Beatty’s ruling. McLeod said that if the SIU refuses, she wants the watchdog to “provide the public with an answer as to why.”

Farrell, who had wrapped up her shift at Tim Hortons earlier that evening, testified that she recognized the assault victim as a former colleague, and moved her into the light. She testified she had been at a bar before the incident, where she had had two beers with a friend, and was on her way to get cigarettes and snacks.

“I was shocked, and she was hysterical. I wanted to find out what had happened,” Farrell told the Star. “She was crying and carrying on. I couldn’t get any straight story out of her.”

According to Beatty’s ruling, Watson was the first officer on scene. Farrell testified that he was aggressive and told her to “shut the f--- up” as she tried to describe the assailants. She said she asked for his name and badge number, and said that as she stepped away, “Sgt. Watson kicked her to the side, a karate kick that snapped her leg.”

Watson is a “large and powerfully built man,” Beatty wrote. Farrell is 5-foot-8 and weighed about 140 pounds in 2013.

“She hit the ground head first, then turned and told Sgt. Watson, ‘You broke my leg,’” Beatty wrote of Farrell’s testimony. “Sgt. Watson then jumped on her and punched her on the left side of her face. She turned face-down with both fists under her and Sgt. Watson kept kneeing her in the back and pulling on her left arm. She said, ‘You are going to break my arm,’ and he responded ‘Stop resisting, you are under arrest.’”

The assault victim, Pauline Sherwood, screamed, “She had nothing to do with this,” according to Farrell’s testimony.

Watson testified that Farrell had been drinking, but “he was uncertain how much.” He said he found Farrell distracting and “very animated” and took her to the ground to arrest her when she wouldn’t comply with his orders.

“Sgt. Watson provided no explanation as to how Ms. Farrell’s tibia was broken, or indeed, the reasons for the bruises on her legs and arms and the loss of a tooth,” wrote Beatty. “His notes did not record the ‘hammer strike’ to her left eye, which was basically a sucker punch. Only P.C. Catterall saw the blow. Sgt. Watson testified that she grabbed his right lapel, although his notes indicated his left lapel. His recollection of events is suspect.”

Beatty did not find Farrell tried to grab Watson’s lapel, and he said the allegation that she tried to kick his legs was “not supported by the evidence.”

He wrote that “Ms. Farrell testified that she fell on her face after being kicked and tried to protect herself by putting her fists under herself. The fall would explain the crushing injury to her knee and banging her head.”

Beatty concluded that “Ms. Farrell showed no intent to obstruct Sgt. Watson in his investigation. Her excitement and zeal may have been distracting for Sgt. Watson, who was trying to deal with a hysterical and uncooperative Pauline Sherwood, but she intended to assist the investigation.

“Police officers are trained and experienced in handling people who may be intoxicated, drug addicted, mentally ill, armed or violent. They apply their psychological skills and the minimum force in maintaining the peace. That did not happen in this case.”

The SIU conducted a month-long investigation in 2013 and interviewed Watson, but he did not provide his notes, as is his legal right, said spokeswoman Brar. She said that aside from Watson, the SIU interviewed four witness officers and five civilian witnesses, but that then-director Ian Scott found no reasonable grounds to lay charges against Watson.

Frequently, the SIU informs the public that it is investigating a police officer by issuing a news release, as well as a release containing a summary of findings once the investigation is complete. That did not happen in this case.

Brar said that “in order to manage information needs and available resources,” the SIU typically only issues news releases in cases involving death, serious vehicle injuries, a firearm “or where there is significant public interest.”

“This was an incident involving a custody injury that did not garner much public interest at the time of occurrence, therefore no initial press release was issued.

Accordingly, there was no news release once the investigation was completed.”

Brar said last week that director Tony Loparco was awaiting Beatty’s decision and transcripts from the trial “to determine whether the case merits a reopening.” Because the case is being reviewed, she said she could not provide the Star with a summary of the SIU’s findings from its original investigation.

Leon, the OPP spokesman, said the police force conducted investigations “specific to the complaint that was received” from the Office of the Independent Police Review Director. He did not provide further details, and the OIPRD said it couldn’t comment unless a complaint leads to a public disciplinary hearing.

Farrell, a mother to four and stepmother to two, said all she wants right now is peace. She was satisfied with Beatty’s ruling, saying she always knew she would win “because I was telling the truth.” She expressed support for the SIU investigators, saying she found them helpful, but said the investigation should never have been closed.

She told the Star her injuries have taken a toll on her entire family. On her initial release from hospital, she said, she was in a wheelchair and had to be carried into her parents’ home by relatives. She has undergone two surgeries, but says it remains unclear if her knee will ever be right. Her body is always sore, she says, the migraines severe.

“I was 46, healthy and active,” she said. “I don’t get out and about like I used to. I do have family members supporting me, but it’s not the same. I just try to deal with it ... They think I should be happy (because of the ruling). But I’m not happy. I live with this 24 hours a day. I don’t have my life back, while he (Watson) carries on.

The worst is that I have his horrifying face in my nightmares.”

http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2014/ ... a_cop.html

http://www.cambridgetimes.ca/news-story ... -of-a-cop/

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/52352 ... -of-a-cop/
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Judge's Scathing Ruling Acquits Woman Of Assaulting Officer

Postby Thomas » Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:21 pm

Judge's Scathing Ruling Acquits Woman Of Assaulting Officer, Blames Cop

A Canadian judge has exonerated an Ontario woman charged with assaulting a police officer and said in his ruling earlier this month that it was the officer who was overly aggressive, leaving the woman crippled after an April 2013 incident.

The Toronto Sun reports Justice George Beatty said Ontario Provincial Police Officer Russ Watson “sucker” punched 48-year-old Maria “Tonie” Farrell and left her with “catastrophic” injuries, including a broken leg, a crushed knee, multiple bruises and a missing tooth.


Farrell, who still walks with a cane and suffers from daily pain, said through tears after the ruling was delivered Dec. 16 she was pleased.

“This is the best Christmas present ever,” she said. “I’ve been going through hell ... but I knew the truth would prevail.”

Her defense attorney, Angela McLeod, agreed.

“The greatest injustice was righted today,” McLeod said.

The struggle that left Farrell injured occurred last year after her shift at a nearby restaurant. After having a couple of drinks at a local bar she was walking to a convenience store and heard a woman being assaulted behind a building. She ran to the woman’s aid and the assailants ran off.

When Watson responded to the scene, Farrell says she tried to give the officer information about what had happened.

Watson maintains that Farrell was overly animated and he could tell she had been drinking.

Farrell testified in court that Watson told her to “shut the f*** up.”

Beatty wrote in his ruling that Watson is a “large and powerfully built man,” according to The Toronto Star. Beatty said he believed that when the 140-pound Farrell demanded Watson’s name and badge number he “kicked her to the side, a karate kick that snapped her leg.”

“She hit the ground head first, then turned and told Sgt. Watson, ‘You broke my leg,’” Beatty wrote in his ruling, recounting Farrell’s own testimony. “Sgt. Watson then jumped on her and punched her on the left side of her face. She turned face-down with both fists under her and Sgt. Watson kept kneeing her in the back and pulling on her left arm.”

“Ms. Farrell testified that she fell on her face after being kicked and tried to protect herself by putting her fists under herself. The fall would explain the crushing injury to her knee and banging her head,” Beatty’s scathing ruling continued.

Beatty said even if Farrell had been animated and intoxicated, Watson had the training to handle the situation without using violence.

Watson remains on the police force and has not been charged with a crime.

The OPP’s watchdog organization, the Special Investigations Unit, or SIU, conducted a month-long investigation into the incident last year, but then-director Ian Scott determined there was not enough evidence to charge Watson.

McLeod says that is unacceptable. She told the Canadian Online Explorer earlier this month she thought the SIU should reopen the investigation.

“My client has been permanently maimed,” McLeod said. “This officer should be charged with aggravated assault.”

“It's ludicrous,” she added. “The SIU has failed my client and it has failed the people of Ontario.”

She said she hopes Beatty’s ruling and denunciation of Watson’s actions will cause them to reconsider the case.

Jasbir Brar, a spokeswoman for the SIU, said the OPP’s new director, Tony Loparco, had been waiting for the judge’s decision and for a chance to read court transcripts before deciding whether to review the investigation.

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/ ... blames-cop
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Ombudsman questions SIU’s secrecy over cop

Postby Thomas » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:44 am

Ombudsman questions SIU’s secrecy over cop implicated in Good Samaritan’s beating

Police watchdog failed to charge OPP Sgt. Russell Watson last year after an altercation that left a woman with a busted knee and missing tooth

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin is demanding to know why the province’s police watchdog is keeping secret its findings from an investigation into an altercation involving an OPP officer that left an Orillia woman with a busted knee last year.

The Special Investigations Unit decided in May 2013 not to lay assault charges against Sgt. Russell Watson, but never issued a news release with a summary of its findings, as is typically the case.

Marin said the summary should have been released publicly when the investigation was completed. He said he has asked his staff to “follow up” with the SIU.

“Right now I don’t have all the information, except to say I’m very concerned about secrecy getting back into the SIU,” Marin told the Toronto Star on Tuesday. “Transparency and confidence in the SIU and the police dictate that there should be a public account of its investigations.”

Marin’s instruction to staff is in response to a Star story about Tonie Farrell, 48, who was initially charged with assaulting and obstructing Watson after he responded to an assault on another woman shortly after 2 a.m. on April 2, 2013. An Orillia judge threw out the charges against Farrell two weeks ago, and instead lashed out at Watson.

Farrell suffered a busted knee, the loss of a tooth and bruises all over her body in the altercation with Watson.

“He suffered no injury and her injuries were catastrophic,” wrote Ontario Court Justice George Beatty.

He wrote that Farrell was a “Good Samaritan” who was trying to help a woman she said was assaulted by three assailants near an Orillia convenience store. Farrell testified that when she tried to provide a description of the attackers to Watson, he told her to “shut the f--- up” and kicked her to the ground shortly after she asked him for his name and badge number.

Watson testified that Farrell was “very animated” and distracting, and that he believed she had been drinking. He remains employed with the OPP, and is not facing disciplinary proceedings.

SIU spokeswoman Jasbir Brar reiterated on Tuesday that SIU director Tony Loparco is waiting to receive Beatty’s decision and transcripts from the trial before deciding on whether to reopen the case. She previously said that because the matter is under review, she could not provide the Star with a summary of findings from the SIU’s initial investigation into Watson.

She did not comment directly on Marin’s announcement.

Marin said that right now his office is simply conducting an assessment, which could potentially lead to a full investigation.

The ombudsman’s office oversees more than 500 government organizations, including the SIU. An investigation by the ombudsman almost always leads to a public report containing non-binding recommendations.

The office has previously released two reports into the SIU, in 2008 and 2011. The first report, titled Oversight of Police: Oversight Unseen, recommended that the government amend legislation so that the SIU director’s report be publicly disclosed in cases where no charges have been laid against police officers. That recommendation has yet to be adopted.

Farrell, who said she now walks with a cane and takes daily pain medication, and her lawyer, Angela McLeod, have been calling on the SIU to reopen its investigation in light of Beatty’s ruling. McLeod previously told the Star that she filed a freedom of information request for the SIU’s report into Watson to prepare for Farrell’s trial, but was told she couldn’t have it.

http://www.insidehalton.com/news-story/ ... s-beating/
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Ex-SIU chief says probe into cop beating of Good Samaritan

Postby Thomas » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:48 am

Ex-SIU chief says probe into cop beating of Good Samaritan should be reopened

The former director of Ontario’s police watchdog said the Special Investigations Unit should reopen a case he closed into an OPP officer who left an Orillia woman with a busted knee given new information from a recent court ruling.

Ian Scott decided in May 2013, after a one-month investigation, not to charge Sgt. Russell Watson. He told the Star on Tuesday that he didn’t remember the case, adding “All I can say is that I made the decision not to charge based upon the information available at the time.”

He spoke on the same day another former SIU director, Ontario Ombudsman André Marin, said he is looking into why the SIU is keeping secret its findings from that initial investigation into Watson.

Watson was investigated after an altercation with 48-year-old Tonie Farrell on April 2, 2013 that left Farrell with a damaged knee, bruises all over her body and a missing tooth. Watson was responding to an apparent assault of another woman near an Orillia convenience store. Farrell testified that she was in the area and witnessed the woman being assaulted by three assailants and went to her aide.

Farrell was originally charged with assaulting and obstructing Watson, but those charges were dismissed two weeks ago by Ontario Court Justice George Beatty, who instead lashed out at Watson.

“He suffered no injury and her injuries were catastrophic,” wrote Beatty.

Scott said that “if more information surfaced as a result of the trial against Ms. Farrell, the SIU should reopen the case and have another look at it.”

Current SIU director Tony Loparco is still waiting for Beatty’s decision and transcripts from the trial to decide on reopening the case, said SIU spokeswoman Jasbir Brar.

Scott decided in May 2013 not to lay charges against Watson, but the SIU never issued a news release with a summary of its findings, as is typically the case. Brar said because the matter is under review, she could not provide the Star with a summary of findings from the initial investigation. She did not comment directly on Marin’s announcement.

Marin said the summary should have been released publicly when the investigation was completed. He said he has asked his staff to “follow up” with the SIU.

“Right now I don’t have all the information, except to say I’m very concerned about secrecy getting back into the SIU,” Marin told the Star on Tuesday. “Transparency and confidence in the SIU and the police dictate that there should be a public account of its investigations.”

Beatty wrote that Farrell was a “Good Samaritan” who was trying to help the woman she said was assaulted by three people. Farrell testified that when she tried to provide a description of the attackers to Watson, he told her to “shut the f--- up” and kicked her to the ground shortly after she asked him for his name and badge number.

Watson testified that Farrell was “very animated” and distracting, and that he believed she had been drinking. He remains employed with the OPP, and is not facing disciplinary proceedings.

An OPP spokesman said Watson did not wish to comment.

Marin said that right now his office is simply conducting an assessment, which could potentially lead to a full investigation.

The Ombudsman’s office oversees more than 500 government organizations, including the SIU. An investigation by the ombudsman almost always leads to a public report containing non-binding recommendations.

The office has previously released two reports into the SIU, in 2008 and 2011. The first report, titled “Oversight of Police: Oversight Unseen,” recommended that the government amend legislation so that the SIU director’s report be publicly disclosed in cases where no charges have been laid against police officers. That recommendation has yet to be adopted.

Farrell, who said she now walks with a cane and takes daily pain medication, and her lawyer Angela McLeod have been calling on the SIU to reopen its investigation in light of Beatty’s ruling. McLeod previously told the Star she filed a freedom of information request for the SIU’s report into Watson to prepare for Farrell’s trial, but was told she couldn’t have it.

http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/ ... ating.html
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She was helping a mugging victim - and an OPP cop beat her

Postby Thomas » Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:37 pm

She was helping a mugging victim - and an Ontario cop beat her up for it

Tonie Farrell is a grandmother, and the sort of person who posts messages on her Facebook page that say, "be an encourager. The world has enough critics already." So why was she beaten and permanently maimed by an Ontario Provincial Police officer when she'd stopped to help a mugging victim?

That's the question she and her lawyer, Angela McLeod, are trying to answer after a judge this month issued a blistering judgement against OPP Sergeant Russell Watson, saying his attack on the 49-year-old caused "catastrophic injuries."

Ironically, the judge issued his statement while categorically dismissing charges of obstructing a police officer laid against Ms. Farrell by Sgt. Watson.

In April, 2013, Ms. Farrell was out walking when she heard a woman screaming. The woman was being beaten by three people, who fled when Ms. Farrell ran toward them. She then consoled the victim, who was clearly distraught, Ms. Farrell tells As It Happens guest host Helen Mann.

Then Sgt. Watson showed up. Ms. Farrell said she wanted to give him a description of the woman's assailants, and tell them which way they had run. When she tried to do so, she says, he put his face into hers and shouted, 'shut the f--k up.' "I was actually shocked," she says. "I asked him, 'Is that the way you talk to people?'"

After she asked for his name and badge number, things got really ugly. Ms. Farrell says Sgt. Watson kicked her in the side of her knee, breaking her leg and sending her to the ground. He then punched her in the face and climbed on top of her, pressing her face into the concrete, she adds. "I thought I was going to die."

Then, he and two other officers dragged her, broken leg and all, to a police car, and had to struggle to get her in the car because her leg wouldn't bend properly, her lawyer, Angela McLeod, adds.

In hospital, she was charged with assaulting and obstructing a police officer.


At the trial, however, the judge would have none of Sgt. Watson's case. He suffered no injuries, the judge wrote, but Ms. Farrell suffered "catastrophic injuries." Indeed, Ms. Farrell has been unable to work since the incident, and her leg is permanently maimed.

Although Ontario's Special Investigations Unit was said to have investigated the case, no disciplinary action has been taken against Sgt. Watson and he remains on the job in Orillia, Ms. McLeod adds.

That may change, however, as news of the beating gets out. Yesterday, former SIU director and current Ontario Ombudsman André Marin said the case should be re-opened.

Ms. McLeod said they've received letters and calls of support from people all over Ontario. "I think people are scared," she says. "Scared that this can happen to someone who's only trying to help."

Neither the Orillia OPP nor the Special Investigations Unit responded to requests for interviews prior to us going to air, although in a statement, OPP spokesperson Sergeant Peter Leon said, "A statement made by a judge or a justice during a trial of an accused is not a finding against an officer."

http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/features/ ... up-for-it/
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Orillia woman waits for investigation into her beating

Postby Thomas » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:25 am

ORILLIA - An innocent woman who suffered catastrophic injuries in a beating that a judge determined came at the hands of a police officer is waiting impatiently to hear the outcome of an investigation into her case.

Maria “Tonie” Farrell, a 48-year-old grandmother and former Tim Horton’s cashier, was taken to hospital on April 2, 2013 with injuries to her neck, back, a broken tibia and crushed knee that required several operations. She now lives with her elderly parents because she will never be able to work again.

For a full year, she had to hobble to court because Orillia OPP Sgt. Russ Watson charged her with assault. But on verdict day last month, Justice George Beatty found her not guilty, and instead slammed the police officer for attacking the innocent woman who was acting as a good Samaritan.

She suffered her injuries outside a convenience store after she raced to the aid of a woman who was being assaulted and tried to help by pointing out the woman’s assailants.

Sitting in her tidy Orillia home, hobbling in pain with the help of a cane, Farrell said she was visited in hospital by an officer from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) who brought a professional photographer to photograph her extensive injuries.

“I will never heal,” she said. “I guess I was just too old to get that beat up.”

The verdict inspired Farrell’s son, RJ Farrell, to buy her a bitter-sweet Christmas present — a gavel engraved with “not guilty.”

Farrell’s lawyer, Angela McLeod, is calling for Ontario’s ombudsman to step in.

“The SIU refuses to address the concerns of the court regarding officer Watson’s actions,” said McLeod. “The citizens of Orillia want an answer; the people of Ontario want an answer; and most of all, Tonie Farrell deserves an answer.”

OPP have not returned calls on whether the officer will face discipline. Office of the Ombudsman spokesman Linda Williamson said “there is nothing new to report on our end at this time.”

The SIU said it is still waiting for transcripts of case before any further steps are taken.

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/01/07/or ... er-beating
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Orillia beating victim waiting in limbo

Postby Thomas » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:28 am

It was the most bittersweet Christmas gift she ever received.

But for Maria "Tonie" Farrell, an innocent witness who was beaten by a police officer, it brought a smile to her face.

Her son, R.J. Farrell, bought his mom a gavel with the words "not guilty" engraved on it after the police officer tried - but failed - to have her convicted of assaulting him.

Sitting in her tidy Orillia home, Farrell hobbles to the table to the silver-plated gavel as her proud son sits by.

"My mom fought the law - and my mom won," R.J. said.

It has been a tough year for the 48-year-old grandmother and Tim Hortons cashier.

For a full year, she had to hobble to court, on crutches, in pain, with the help of family members while OPP took her to trial.

But on verdict day last month, Justice George Beatty found her not guilty and instead slammed the police officer for attacking an innocent woman who was acting as a Good Samaritan by trying to point out the other woman's assailants.


Court heard Farrell raced to the aid of a screaming woman who was being assaulted on the street when she was attacked by the attending officer, OPP Sgt. Russell Watson, April 2, 2013.

Farrell was badly beaten and suffered permanent injuries.

In his ruling, the judge said the officer was a "controlling, large and powerfully built" man who beat, sucker-punched and karate-kicked Farrell and snapped her leg as she screamed in agony and held her hands up to try to defend herself.

She suffered injuries to her neck, back, a broken tibia and crushed knee that required several operations and a knee replacement. She now lives with her elderly parents because she will never be able to work again and can't afford to pay rent.

She can't walk without a cane and uses a scooter to go out. During winter, she has to stay indoors.

She will never be able to lift her two young grandchildren.

"I will never heal," she said. "I guess I was just too old to get that beat up."

Her son sat through the trial and said as it drew to an end, he knew his mom would not lose, and so ordered the gavel even before he heard the verdict.

"I knew," said R.J.

He said the turning point was when Watson took the stand and was questioned intensely by Farrell's lawyer.

"I was shaking my head. His answers weren't making sense. Nothing he said made any sense to me. He was outraged, red-faced and irritated - and the judge saw that."


The son said he saw the gavel at a store long before the incident.

"I thought, 'Well, that's nifty,' and I wondered why anyone would want one of these," he said. "I didn't know at the time my mother would have to fight for her own justice."

Now, the family gather around Farrell and say they want more justice - with the judge's powerful ruling, they want Watson charged.

When Farrell was arrested, she was taken to hospital because she was screaming in pain. While in hospital, she was visited by a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigator.

"The investigator, David Ford, told me the officer would be charged with aggravated assault," said Farrell. "But then, later, he told me no charges would be laid because the officer refused to make a statement or produce his notes, so there was noting he could do "¦ I don't understand it."

Farrell's lawyer, Angela McLeod, said she is shocked and is calling for the Ontario ombudsman to step in.

"The SIU refuses to address the concerns of the court regarding officer Watson's actions," said McLeod. "The citizens of Orillia want an answer; the people of Ontario want an answer; and most of all, Tonie Farrell deserves an answer."

In the meantime, nobody at the top is commenting. OPP has not returned calls on whether the officer will face discipline. Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario spokesperson Linda Williamson said "there is nothing new to report on our end at this time." SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon said her office is still waiting for transcripts of case before any decision is made to reopen the investigation.

http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/2015/0 ... g-in-limbo
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‘Good Samaritan’ case a disgrace

Postby Thomas » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:53 am

Re: Good Samaritan brutally beaten by OPP officer, Dec. 30

I was appalled to read about OPP Sgt. Russell Watson’s life-shattering assault on Tonie Farrell, and even more appalled to hear that he will face no consequences. This is another in a long line of incidents proving that our police are a law unto themselves.

If they are particularly stupid or their acts particularly egregious, judges may scold them, but the SIU will find there’s no grounds to lay a charge, and their superiors will not even discipline, much less dismiss them. Evidently Watson’s OPP superiors consider punching and kicking women to be all in a day’s work.

When police officers lie under oath, they are not charged with perjury. When they conspire to cover for each other and subvert the course of justice, they are not charged with conspiracy. That “blue wall of silence” seems to reach around the entire justice system.

If an individual’s safety is based on happening not to cross a police officer’s path at the wrong moment (or in the “wrong” skin), we’re in serious trouble. Governments at all levels must take steps to bring police under the rule of law. We cannot trust our justice system or our police if they can break the law with impunity.

Nina Littman-Sharp, Toronto


Officer assaults citizen, causes serious, permanent injury. Officer charges citizen with assault and obstruction. SIU investigates officer but lays no charges. Judge dismisses charges against citizen, condemns officer’s actions.

Sadly, this case is not unique; it demonstrates the double standard that exists when the citizen victim of the assault is charged while the police perpetrator suffers no legal or disciplinary consequences. By setting the bar for charging police far too high, the SIU is failing its duty to protect Ontarians from the “bad apples” who perpetuate a culture of violence in police forces across the province.

How many more victims will it take before citizens take to the streets to demand accountability?

M. Goldstein, Mississauga


What section of the police training manual condones kicking? And is this such an every day occurrence that it couldn’t be recalled by Ian Scott? Did he see the video? Enough of the secrecy, open the Orillia beating case.

Patricia Wilkes, Toronto


As I read this article, I became ever more appalled as Tonie Farrell was transformed from Good Samaritan to an abused victim to an accused defendant and then the SIU finding of no wrongdoing. Truly a disgrace.

The most infuriating and confusing aspect of this sorry tale is present in the following passage from the Dec. 30th article: “The SIU conducted a month-long investigation in 2013 and interviewed Watson, but he did not provide his notes, as is his legal right.”

This is a mind-boggling situation. I have never been a police officer nor faced violent danger in my employment. Nonetheless, I have never for one second considered the notes that I took with the pen and paper or computer (supplied by the employer and used during a paid workday) to be my property or facts that I could keep secret.

I worked as a quality assurance manager, and as such I performed investigations into quality issues, and as a member of the joint health and safety committee also conducted investigations on safety incidents. I cannot imagine a circumstance where my refusal to fully co-operate with my co-workers and management supervisors would not result in disciplinary action, which would appear on my HR records and, if there were repeat infractions, result in my dismissal.

My wife and close friends with whom I discussed this issue were similarly confused at learning that the rules appear to allow police officers to withhold information and not fully and completely assist and comply with investigations.

I wish to request the Star to prepare an article to explain to readers like myself the legal logic behind the ability (or “right”) of officers to withhold their field notes. This article should include a complete review of the pros and cons of this “right.” It would be very enlightening to learn of situations where the exercising of this “right” is clearly the correct course of action as well as the flip-side, such as the Farrell vs. Watson case and others like it.

Stan Taylor, Brampton


I read with dismay about the Good Samaritan brutally beaten by OPP Officer. The thought of a nice lady abused this way by an OPP officer whose salary is paid for by my taxes is too much to bear. This story has all the trappings of Ferguson, Mo. in some ways because it creates much distrust of the law and we know where that leads. Let’s clean this matter up quikly and get some justice here.

My advice to the Good Samaritan is to find the right lawyer and sue, sue, sue. I hope your injuries heal so you can get back to your normal way of life Good Luck!

Michael Kirk, Caledon


Until such time as individual policemen are held accountable for such horrendous crimes, the entire police force will continue to bear the burden of guilt. We know that the vast majority of police officers are fine upstanding individuals who put their lives on the line for us day in and day out. But the underperforming police officers must be removed and appropriately dealt with, and not just passed over with the hope that we will forget.

Jim Frizzle, Burlington


“No reasonable grounds to charge.” Seriously? One needs no more proof that the SIU should be disbanded immediately and without further delay. How this bully cop still has his job is, sadly, not a mystery, but it is so highly offensive and an insult to the public.

Many are ignoring the obvious. The fact that the Crown did not report the cop for his dishonest testimony, under oath, is another failure of the system. Even if the OIPRD would investigate, given their G20 track record, chances are overwhelming, nothing would happen.

No private criminal charges? Come on, the cop’s job is not to assault innocent members of the public. Of course the police union will tell us we should not jump to conclusions, and that the officer has a solid track record, and all the other usual verbage. The whole thing stinks, is outrageous, and disgusting. We deserve so much better.

Given what is taking place south of the border, now is the time for our government to take action and do the right thing and, more importantly, to be seen to have done the right thing. My heart goes out to Ms Farrell and I hope she is awarded a huge unprecedented settlement.

Jeff Green, Toronto


In last Sunday’s paper we have the picture of Heather Thompson holding up a photo of her son, a schizophrenic who had been shot by police. Yet another mother with a broken heart.

Is there anyone in this city who reads this paper other than me? Does no one else notice how much this is happening? If the mentally-ill young men are not being shot by police, the police are being shot by them and it is not just happening here, but all over the country.

Police Chief Bill Blair should be screaming from the rooftops about losing his officers in this manner and should be demanding publicly that something be done about the funding for mental health. He is the voice of his force and he needs to step up and challenge the government to make the changes necessary to prevent these deaths. Another coroner’s inquest is worthless until we start giving the power to the coroner to bring the findings of the inquest into law.

Sadly our young people with mental illness do not have a voice. We must speak for them. All these mothers with broken hearts. Do not underestimate them. They will go on fighting for their children whether they are alive or dead, and a mother with a broken heart can be a very dangerous thing.

Judy Wisdom, Scarborough

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_ ... grace.html
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Protesters demand justice outside Orillia OPP detachment

Postby Thomas » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:51 pm

Protesters waved signs and shouted slogans outside the Orillia OPP detachment Monday, demanding justice for a local woman who suffered injuries at the hands of a police officer.

Much of the anger was directed at Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit for its decision in May 2013 not to charge Sgt. Russell Watson.

Watson was investigated after an altercation with Orillia’s Tonie Farrell that left the local woman with a damaged knee, multiple bruises and a missing tooth.

Speaking outside the detachment today, Farrell’s sister, Barbara Farrell said, “the SIU closed the books too fast” on the case.

“If it was any one of us that did that to another person, we would be in jail right now,” she said. “We want to know why the system is not protecting the innocent.”

On April 2, 2013, Watson was responding to an apparent assault of another woman near an Orillia convenience store.

Farrell testified that she was in the area and witnessed the woman being assaulted by three assailants and went to her aide.

Farrell was originally charged with assaulting and obstructing Watson, but those charges were dismissed in December by Ontario Court Justice George Beatty.

“(Watson) suffered no injury and her injuries were catastrophic,” wrote Beatty.

Beatty described Farrell as a “Good Samaritan” who was attempting to help the woman she said was being assaulted by three people.

Farrell testified that when she tried to provide a description of the attackers to Watson, he told her to “shut the f--- up” and kicked her to the ground shortly after she asked him for his name and badge number.

Watson testified that Farrell was “very animated” and distracting, and that he believed she had been drinking.

He remains employed with the OPP, and is not facing disciplinary proceedings.

The former director of the Special Investigations Unit, Ian Scott, recently said the police watchdog should reopen the case, given the information heard in court.

It was Scott who decided not to charge Watson following a one-month investigation that he says was “based upon the information available at the time.”

Farrell, who was 46 at the time of the incident, and her lawyer Angela McLeod have called on the SIU to reopen its investigation in light of Beatty’s ruling.

The SIU has ordered a copy of the court transcript to review the judge’s comments before deciding on whether to reopen the case.

The OPP also intends to review the transcript, it said in a recent media statement.

“Until that transcript is obtained and the reviews are complete, the OPP will reserve any comment.

“The OPP takes allegations of officer misconduct seriously and, if a matter is substantiated at the conclusion of an investigation, will take appropriate action to resolve the matter,” it added.

An investigation “of all available evidence” by the OPP’s Professional Standards Bureau “did not find any misconduct on the officer’s part,” the OPP added.

Farrell, meanwhile, walks with a cane and has lost her ability to earn a living, her sister Barbara says.

“She is crippled for life … she’s got steel rods in her leg,” she told Orillia Today. “She will never work again.”

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin said he is looking into why the SIU had not released a summary of its findings after deciding not to charge Watson.

With files from Torstar

http://www.cambridgetimes.ca/news-story ... etachment/

http://www.muskokaregion.com/news-story ... etachment/
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Rally outside OPP office

Postby Thomas » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:23 am

Supporters of a woman whose leg was broken during an arrest by an Orillia OPP officer in 2013 are calling for a new investigation into the incident.

In April of 2013, 48-year-old Tonie Farrell’s leg was broken during an interaction with a police officer in downtown Orillia.

Originally, Farrell was charged in the case with assaulting a peace officer.

However, charges against her were subsequently dropped and the judge instead pointed the finger at the police officer in question, Sergeant Russell Watson.

He was never charged in the incident, and two independent reviews – including one by the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU), found no wrongdoing on his part.
The SIU has not explained the reasons for its findings.

A group of small but determined protesters say they now want a new investigation to clear the air.

“We care and we are concerned,” said protester Anita Pierce. “Hopefully we can also let civilians know that we care and that we need to stand up and make people realize that this kind of stuff is not allowed and it should not be allowed.”

The SIU says they’re currently reviewing the judgement and transcripts from Farrell’s original case, and will not comment further until that review is complete.

“The OPP will certainly wait to hear what comes from the review,” said OPP Sergeant Peter Leon. “When they've completed their investigation we will certainly deal with the situation at that time.”

In the meantime, Sergeant Watson remains on duty in Orillia.

http://barrie.ctvnews.ca/rally-outside- ... -1.2196410
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