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.

Protest Outside OPP Detachment

Postby Thomas » Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:40 am

Demonstration was about woman assaulted by an Orillia police officer in 2013.

(Orillia) - A noisy but peaceful demonstration outside the Orillia OPP detachment.

About 20 people were there on Monday to voice their displeasure that an officer assigned at the detachment was not charged in the assault of a civilian in 2013.

Detachment Commander Inspector Pat Morris says the protest went for about 90 minutes and there were no incidents.

He says they had media officers and the provincial liaison team outside to remind the protesters not to block access to the detachment in order for officers to respond to calls.

Morris says the investigations by the SIU and boards that oversee the policing are often too complex to the ordinary citizen.

He says they try to help out and make them better understand the situation.

Morris stresses that officers are there to serve the public and they answer to public and to the police services board.

He says there are infrastructures in place where there is oversight in the event an incident involving police goes badly.

The Ontario Special Investigations Unit determined that Sergeant Russell Watson should not face charges for assaulting Tonie Farrell on April 2, 2013.

Farrell was initially charged with obstructing police but the case was dismissed and the presiding judge was critical of Watson in his involvement.

Farrell tried to come to the aid of another woman who was beaten by several men that evening.

http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news ... wsID=72151
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Protesters picket Orillia OPP detachment

Postby Thomas » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:06 pm

Shouting "down with dirty cops," protesters voiced their anger Monday in front of the Orillia OPP detachment in support of a woman who was attacked by a local police officer.

About 18 protesters gathered in front of the Peter Street South detachment around the noon hour carrying placards with messages such as "police force equals brutal force."

They were there to show support for Maria "Tonie" Farrell. While assisting a victim of an assault in April 2013, Farrell was attacked by the attending officer, an Orillia OPP sergeant, court heard last year while Farrell was on trial for assaulting the officer.

That the officer remains a member of the provincial police angered the protesters.

"The guy shouldn’t be a policeman," said Harry Stone, who was protesting Monday.

Many of the demonstrators were passionate in directing their anger at the officer and the police force. Paul Holland said the officer is especially not suited to be a member of the police service in a city such as Orillia.

"This is a small town; we’re not Toronto. Why do they have to be so violent with us?" Holland said. "We’re just a bunch of small people in a small town and we’ve got RoboCop coming down here, acting like a bully."

Many of the protesters identified themselves as friends of Farrell.

"A member of your family or your community is hurt because of extreme tactics by a member of the police force and then the (Orillia) Police Services Board plays hot potato," said protester Larry Schafhauser. "It becomes a political issue. Their hands become tied because of the situation they’re in. So, we’re here to give it a push and get this taken care of so it doesn’t happen again."

However, being an operational issue of OPP, Orillia Police Services Board chair Pat Hehn, a city councillor, said the board had little to do with the situation.

"It’s not something the police services board gets involved in at all," she said. "It’s not something we really can discuss."

Speaking for herself, she offered support to local OPP officers.

"I personally know that residents are really well served by our police officers," Hehn said.

Lawyer Angela McLeod was not surprised people gathered to show their support for Farrell, her client.

"I’m glad people feel empowered sufficiently to take action," McLeod said. "Every kind of action ... is wonderful."

In the month since Farrell was acquitted, McLeod has received "numerous emails" daily from people who are "really pissed off" about injuries suffered by Farrell at the hands of the officer.

But there has been silence from several institutions — ones McLeod feels could help right the wrong that happened to Farrell. According to McLeod, neither she nor her client has received any communication from OPP, the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) or the Ontario ombudsman.


McLeod lamented the "indignation" she and her client have faced through the process.

"Nobody will address the concern we’ve spoken to," she said. "The absence (of dignifying the concern) echoes so loud."

OPP addressed the issue Friday in a news release via Twitter.

The release stated the sergeant was subject to three investigations: from the SIU, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and a Section 11 Police Services Act investigation, which happened parallel to the SIU investigation to ensure proper policies and procedures were followed.

In the release, OPP said it was not able to comment on the SIU or OIPRD investigations, but it noted the OPP Professional Standards Bureau "conducted a thorough, conduct-related investigation and reported its findings back to OIPRD."

The news release also stated the Professional Standards Bureau investigation "did not find any misconduct on the officer’s part."

Rosemary Parker, a spokesperson for OIPRD, could not comment on the case.

"We can’t talk about individual complaints," she said. "Privacy is protected by the Police Services Act."

Only if a complaint is determined to be "serious" by the commissioner will details become public, she said. At that point, a hearing would be called, at the purview of the commissioner, which would be public.

Farrell was initially charged with assaulting the sergeant, a crime of which she was cleared late last year.

In his ruling, Justice George Beatty 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.

While the officer remains a member of the police service, it’s up the the community to take action, Schafhauser said.

"You come in contact with these people," he said. "Suddenly, the woman who is smiling across the counter at you every day is brutally attacked; you have a hand in it as well."

Orillia OPP Const. Jim Edwards said the detachment understood the demonstrators would be exercising their right to protest and had no problem with them being there.

However, he had no official comment on the reason they were protesting.

Calls to the SIU were not returned by deadline.

http://www.bwglive.ca/news/380384/prote ... lia-opp-de
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Protesters picket Orillia OPP detachment

Postby Thomas » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:34 pm

Shouting "down with dirty cops," protesters voiced their anger Monday in front of the Orillia OPP detachment in support of a woman who was attacked by a local police officer.

About 18 protesters gathered in front of the Peter Street South detachment around the noon hour carrying placards with messages such as "police force equals brutal force." They were there to show support for Maria "Tonie" Farrell. While assisting a victim of an assault in April 2013, Farrell was attacked by the attending officer, an Orillia OPP sergeant, court heard last year while Farrell was on trial for assaulting the officer.

That the officer remains a member of the provincial police angered the protesters.

"The guy shouldn’t be a policeman," said Harry Stone, who was protesting Monday.

Many of the demonstrators were passionate in directing their anger at the officer and the police force. Paul Holland said the officer is especially not suited to be a member of the police service in a city such as Orillia.

"This is a small town; we’re not Toronto. Why do they have to be so violent with us?" Holland said. "We’re just a bunch of small people in a small town and we’ve got RoboCop coming down here, acting like a bully."

Many of the protesters identified themselves as friends of Farrell.

"A member of your family or your community is hurt because of extreme tactics by a member of the police force and then the (Orillia) Police Services Board plays hot potato," said protester Larry Schafhauser. "It becomes a political issue. Their hands become tied because of the situation they’re in. So, we’re here to give it a push and get this taken care of so it doesn’t happen again."

However, being an operational issue of OPP, Orillia Police Services Board chair Pat Hehn, a city councillor, said the board had little to do with the situation.

"It’s not something the police services board gets involved in at all," she said. "It’s not something we really can discuss."

Speaking for herself, she offered support to local OPP officers.

"I personally know that residents are really well served by our police officers," Hehn said.

Lawyer Angela McLeod was not surprised people gathered to show their support for Farrell, her client.

"I’m glad people feel empowered sufficiently to take action," McLeod said. "Every kind of action ... is wonderful."

In the month since Farrell was acquitted, McLeod has received "numerous emails" daily from people who are "really pissed off" about injuries suffered by Farrell at the hands of the officer.

But there has been silence from several institutions — ones McLeod feels could help right the wrong that happened to Farrell. According to McLeod, neither she nor her client has received any communication from OPP, the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) or the Ontario ombudsman.

McLeod lamented the "indignation" she and her client have faced through the process.

"Nobody will address the concern we’ve spoken to," she said. "The absence (of dignifying the concern) echoes so loud."

OPP addressed the issue Friday in a news release via Twitter.

The release stated the sergeant was subject to three investigations: from the SIU, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and a Section 11 Police Services Act investigation, which happened parallel to the SIU investigation to ensure proper policies and procedures were followed.

In the release, OPP said it was not able to comment on the SIU or OIPRD investigations, but it noted the OPP Professional Standards Bureau "conducted a thorough, conduct-related investigation and reported its findings back to OIPRD."

The news release also stated the Professional Standards Bureau investigation "did not find any misconduct on the officer’s part."

Rosemary Parker, a spokesperson for OIPRD, could not comment on the case.

"We can’t talk about individual complaints," she said. "Privacy is protected by the Police Services Act."

Only if a complaint is determined to be "serious" by the commissioner will details become public, she said. At that point, a hearing would be called, at the purview of the commissioner, which would be public.

Farrell was initially charged with assaulting the sergeant, a crime of which she was cleared late last year.

In his ruling, Justice George Beatty 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.

The SIU requested a transcript of the court proceedings following the conclusion of the trial.

"The SIU is in receipt of the judgement and transcripts," Monica Hudon, communications co-ordinator with the SIU wrote in an e-mail. "They are currently under review."

No timeline was provided for the SIU's review except that it would be "as expediently as possible while holding paramount the thoroughness which must be the hallmark of any competent investigative body."

While the officer remains a member of the police service, it’s up the the community to take action, Schafhauser said.

"You come in contact with these people," he said. "Suddenly, the woman who is smiling across the counter at you every day is brutally attacked; you have a hand in it as well."

Orillia OPP Const. Jim Edwards said the detachment understood the demonstrators would be exercising their right to protest and had no problem with them being there. However, he had no official comment on the reason they were protesting.

Note: This story has been updated to include comments provided by the province's Special Investigation Unit.

http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/2015/0 ... detachment
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SIU reopens case of woman injured after altercation with OPP

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:04 am

SIU reopens case of woman seriously injured after altercation with OPP officer

Tonie Farrell suffered a broken knee in incident involving Sgt. Russell Watson, a judge ruled late last year.

Ontario’s police watchdog is reopening the case of an Orillia woman left with “catastrophic” injuries after an altercation with an OPP officer two years ago.

Tonie Farrell, a 48-year-old grandmother, was initially charged with assaulting OPP Sgt. Russell Watson by allegedly grabbing his lapel on April 2, 2013. Farrell said she was trying to help him find three people she saw assault another woman behind an Orillia convenience store, but was told by Watson to “shut the f—k up.”

Ontario Court Justice George Beatty threw out the charge against Farrell last December, writing that Farrell was simply a “Good Samaritan” trying to help the police officer. Farrell testified that Watson karate kicked her to the ground then jumped on top of her and punched her on the left side of the face. She was left with a broken knee, bruises and a missing tooth. She said she now walks with a cane and takes daily pain medication.

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

After reviewing Beatty’s decision and transcripts from the trial, Special Investigations Unit director Tony Loparco took the rare step of reopening the case on Wednesday.

OPP spokesman Sgt. Peter Leon said the OPP and Watson would not be commenting on the SIU’s decision. He said Watson remains on the job and has not faced disciplinary proceedings. The OPP’s Professional Standards Bureau found no wrongdoing after it conducted its own internal investigation, he said.

Farrell, who now lives with her elderly parents, could not be reached for comment. Her lawyer, Angela McLeod, said she was happy not only for Farrell, but also for the public.

“My office has been inundated with calls and messages from the community, from police officers and concerned citizens from across the country,” she said. “I hope that this news will bring a renewed sense of faith in the SIU.”

The SIU initially concluded after a month-long investigation in 2013 that there were no grounds to charge Watson. He was interviewed by SIU investigators, but he did not provide his notes, as is his legal right, spokeswoman Jasbir Dhillon told the Star last year. 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.

Scott told the Star in December that the case should be reopened given the new information in Beatty’s ruling.

Watson testified at Farrell’s trial that she 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 in his ruling. “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.”

This is the third case reopened this year by the SIU. The agency announced in January it was taking a second look at two cases, one from 2009 and the other from 2010, where a person died in an encounter with Brantford Police Service officers.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/03 ... ficer.html
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SIU reopens case of ‘Good Samaritan’ woman beaten by OPP off

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:16 am

Tonie Farrell suffered a broken knee in altercation with Sgt. Russell Watson, a judge ruled late last year.

The Special Investigations Unit has reopened the case of a “Good Samaritan” beaten by an OPP officer in Orillia in 2013.

A judge already found late last year that Tonie Farrell, 48, was simply trying to help OPP Sgt. Russell Watson find the people who had assaulted another woman on April 2, 2013 when he told her to “shut the f—k up” and karate kicked her to the ground.

The case ended up in Ontario Court after Farrell was charged with assaulting Watson for allegedly grabbing his lapel during the altercation.

Justice George Beatty dismissed the charge against Farrell.

“(Watson) 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.

She could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday. Her mother, Maria, said Farrell was pleased with the decision.

“She’s still in a lot of pain, it will never be right, that leg,” said Maria. “And not only that, it’s psychological. It’s not just her that suffers, it’s the whole family.”

Farrell’s lawyer, Angela McLeod, said she was happy not only for Tonie, but also for the public.

“My office has been inundated with calls and messages from the community, from police officers and concerned citizens from across the country,” she said. “I hope that this news will bring a renewed sense of faith in the SIU.”

OPP Sgt. Peter Leon said Watson and the OPP had no comment, referring requests to the SIU.

OPP Professional Standards had also conducted its own internal investigation into Watson, and found no wrongdoing.

The SIU originally found no grounds to charge Watson, but announced on Wednesday that the case had been reopened.

“As a result of comments made by Justice Beatty in his ‘reasons for judgment’ regarding the conduct of Sgt. Watson, the SIU decided to review the file, including the judge’s reasons and the transcripts from Ms. Farrell’s trial, to assess whether there were grounds to reopen the investigation,” said the SIU news release. “As a result of that review, the SIU has reopened the investigation.”

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/54589 ... p-officer/

http://www.northumberlandnews.com/news- ... p-officer/
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SIU reopens case of Orillia woman beaten by officer

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:20 am

The Special Investigations Unit is taking another look at a case involving an Orillia woman, beaten by an OPP officer last year. A judge found that Tonie Farrell was trying to assist a woman who’d been assaulted, when a police officer karate kicked her to the ground causing a serious injury. The Judge dismissed a charge against her and was critical of the officer.

The SIU originally found no grounds to charge the police officer but has now reopened the case.

SIU News Release below:

SIU Reopens Orillia Custody Injuries Investigation

Case Number: 13-PCI-083

Mississauga (4 March, 2015) — The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has reopened an investigation looking into the injuries sustained in 2013 by Maria Farrell. Ms. Farrell’s injuries resulted from an interaction with Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Sergeant (Sgt) Russell Watson.

The initial SIU investigation determined that in the early morning hours of April 2, 2013, the OPP responded to the area of Colborne Street East and West Street South in Orillia. Upon arrival, Sgt Watson located Ms. Farrell with another individual. An interaction occurred between Ms. Farrell and the officer, in the course of which Ms. Farrell’s left leg was broken.

The SIU concluded at the time that there were no reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence was committed by Sgt Watson.

As a result of the incident, Ms. Farrell was charged by police with assaulting and obstructing a police officer. In December of 2014, Ontario Court Justice George Beatty dismissed the charges.

As a result of comments made by Justice Beatty in his “reasons for judgment” regarding the conduct of Sgt Watson, the SIU decided to review the file, including the judge’s reasons and the transcripts from Ms. Farrell’s trial, to assess whether there were grounds to reopen the investigation. As a result of that review, the SIU has reopened the investigation.

While the investigation is ongoing, no further comment will be made.

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

• consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
• depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
• report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General

http://kicx106.com/siu-reopens-case-ori ... n-officer/

http://metronews.ca/news/canada/1303245 ... p-officer/
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SIU reopens case of alleged OPP beating of Good Samaritan

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:31 am

The Special Investigations Unit will take another look at a case in which a woman says she stopped to help the victim of a mugging and was then badly beaten and maimed by an Ontario Provincial Police officer.

The case involving Maria Farrell stems from an incident that occurred in Orillia, Ont., nearly two years ago. She suffered a broken leg during an interaction with a police officer at that time.

The SIU, which investigates incidents involving police in Ontario where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault, initially looked at the case and did not lay charges. It announced Wednesday that it is reopening its investigation.

Farrell, who goes by the name Tonie, heard a woman screaming as she was walking by the area of Colborne Street East and West Street South in April 2013. She saw a woman being beaten by three people. The assailants fled when Farrell ran toward them. She then consoled the victim, who she says was clearly distraught.

When OPP Sgt. Russell Watson arrived at the scene, an altercation followed that a judge has said caused "catastrophic injuries" to Farrell.

Farrell alleges Watson kicked her in the side of her knee, breaking her leg and sending her to the ground. She says he then punched her in the face and climbed on top of her, pressing her face into the concrete.

It is alleged that he and two other officers then dragged her 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, told CBC Radio's As It Happens last year.

Farrell initially faced charges of assaulting and obstructing a police officer. The charges were dismissed in December 2014.

It was that dismissal that prompted the SIU to reopen its investigation. Justice George Beatty admonished the OPP officer in his reasons for judgment, sharply criticizing Watson's behaviour.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/s ... -1.2981413
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SIU reopens case of woman who was injured during interaction

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:33 am

SIU reopens case of woman who was injured during interaction with OPP in Orillia

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Ontario's police watchdog is reopening an investigation into injuries suffered by a woman during an incident involving a provincial police sergeant in Orillia.

The Special Investigations Unit says Maria Farrell was injured in 2013 during an "interaction" with OPP Sgt. Russell Watson.

Its initial investigation determined that early on April 2, 2013, provincial police responded to a call in the central Ontario city, and that Watson arrived to find Farrell and another person.

The police watchdog says there was an interaction between Farrell and the officer and that the woman's left leg was broken.

The SIU concluded at the time that there were no reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence was committed by Watson.

Farrell was charged by police with assaulting and obstructing a police officer but Ontario Court Justice George Beatty dismissed the charges in December.

As a result of comments made by Beatty regarding Watson's conduct, the SIU decided to review the file, including the judge's reasons for judgment and transcripts from Farrell's trial.

Following that review, the SIU says it decided to reopen the case but will make no further comment while the investigation is ongoing.

The SIU is an arm's-length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

http://www.cp24.com/news/siu-reopens-ca ... -1.2263746

http://globalnews.ca/news/1863630/siu-r ... n-orillia/

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/police-wat ... -1.2263755
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SIU reopens OPP attack on Good Samaritan

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:38 am

TORONTO - The province’s police watchdog has announced it will reopen the investigation of an OPP officer who a judge said caused “catastrophic injuries” to an Orillia woman who was only trying to help.

But Tonie Farrell says the news comes “too late” to soothe the grandmother of two, who hobbles with a cane and suffers from constant pain from her injuries.

“Why did it take them so long?” Farrell asked Wednesday. “And why didn’t they do a proper investigation in the first place?”

Farrell was initially charged with assaulting Sgt. Russ Watson during an incident outside of a convenience store April 2, 2013. Two people were assaulting an intoxicated woman and Farrell said she was trying to point out the assailants when she was “sucker punched,” “karate kicked” and beaten. She was then cuffed and put into a police cruiser with her leg dangling as she wailed in pain.

She suffered injuries to her face, head, neck, back, a crushed knee that required two operations, and a broken tibia that required a plate and seven screws.

Farrell hired a lawyer and hobbled to court on crutches for months during her trial.

In December, a judge found her not guilty and instead slammed the officer for his brutality.

“Ms. Farrell was acting as a Good Samaritan,” Justice George Beatty said in his ruling. “She had no criminal record and she wanted to assist Sgt. Watson in identifying the assailants.”

The judge also noted Watson was “curt and aggressive” on the witness stand, “indicative of a controlling nature.”

Beatty added: “Sgt. Watson provided no explanation as to how Ms. Farrell’s tibia was broken, or indeed, the reasons for the bruises on her legs, arms and the loss of a tooth.”

While Farrell was in hospital, an investigator with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) went to her bedside to take photographs of her injuries. But in the end, the SIU found no grounds to press charges, largely because Watson refused to hand over his notes — as is a police officer’s right.

However, on Wednesday the SIU announced it will reopen the investigation.

“As a result of comments made by Justice Beatty in his reasons for judgment regarding the conduct of Sgt. Watson … the SIU has reopened the investigation,” spokesman Monica Hudon said.

The news has failed to cause Farrell joy.

“I can barely walk,” she said. “The pain is constant and I’m not healing well … I was just too old to get that beat up.”

She can only walk with a cane and during the winter she has been trapped indoors.

“I just pray that this time, they do the right thing,” she said.

She says now, when she sees a police cruiser, she is terrified.


From the beginning, Farrell’s lawyer, Angela McLeod, called out for a new investigation. “I’m pleased for Tonie and I hope this will bring renewed faith in the SIU,” McLeod said Wednesday.

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/03/04/si ... ritan-case
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SIU reopens OPP beating case

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:40 pm

The province’s police watchdog has announced it will reopen the investigation of an OPP officer who a judge said caused “catastrophic injuries” to an Orillia woman who was only trying to help.

But Tonie Farrell said the news comes “too late” to soothe the grandmother of two, who hobbles with a cane and suffers constant pain from her injuries.

“Why did it take them so long?” Farrell asked Wednesday. “And why didn’t they do a proper investigation in the first place?”

Farrell was initially charged with assaulting Orillia OPP Sgt. Russ Watson during an incident outside of a convenience store April 2, 2013. Two people were assaulting an intoxicated woman and Farrell said she was trying to point out the assailants when she was “sucker punched,” “karate kicked” and beaten. She was then cuffed and put into a police cruiser with her leg dangling as she wailed in pain.

She suffered injuries to her face, head, neck, back, a crushed knee that required two operations and a broken tibia that required a plate and seven screws.

Farrell hired a lawyer and hobbled to court on crutches for months during her trial.

In December, a judge found her not guilty and instead slammed the officer for his brutality.

“Ms. Farrell was acting as a Good Samaritan,” Justice George Beatty said in his ruling. “She had no criminal record and she wanted to assist Sgt. Watson in identifying the assailants.”

The judge also noted Watson was “curt and aggressive” on the witness stand, “indicative of a controlling nature.”

Beatty added: “Sgt. Watson provided no explanation as to how Ms. Farrell’s tibia was broken or, indeed, the reasons for the bruises on her legs, arms and the loss of a tooth.”

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SIU Reopens Orillia Custody Injuries Investigation

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:43 pm

Mississauga (4 March, 2015) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has reopened an investigation looking into the injuries sustained in 2013 by Maria Farrell. Ms. Farrell’s injuries resulted from an interaction with Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Sergeant (Sgt) Russell Watson.

The initial SIU investigation determined that in the early morning hours of April 2, 2013, the OPP responded to the area of Colborne Street East and West Street South in Orillia. Upon arrival, Sgt Watson located Ms. Farrell with another individual. An interaction occurred between Ms. Farrell and the officer, in the course of which Ms. Farrell’s left leg was broken.

The SIU concluded at the time that there were no reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence was committed by Sgt Watson.

As a result of the incident, Ms. Farrell was charged by police with assaulting and obstructing a police officer. In December of 2014, Ontario Court Justice George Beatty dismissed the charges.

As a result of comments made by Justice Beatty in his “reasons for judgment” regarding the conduct of Sgt Watson, the SIU decided to review the file, including the judge’s reasons and the transcripts from Ms. Farrell’s trial, to assess whether there were grounds to reopen the investigation. As a result of that review, the SIU has reopened the investigation.

While the investigation is ongoing, no further comment will be made.

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

- consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
- report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General.

Monica Hudon

SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES

Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342

http://www.siu.on.ca/en/news_template.php?nrid=2196
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OPP officer in centre of beating case in good standing

Postby Thomas » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:37 am

Despite a scathing ruling by a judge who found that Sgt. Russ Watson “karate kicked” and “sucker punched” a helpless woman, he remains in good standing as a police officer, the OPP confirm.

On Wednesday, Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) announced it would reopen an investigation into Watson regarding Tonie Farrell’s injuries.

The grandmother of two received what the judge called “catastrophic” injuries when she acted as a “Good Samaritan” during an incident outside an Orillia convenience store April 2, 2013. She has undergone several surgeries for a shattered knee, a broken tibia and other injuries and will permanently need a cane and a scooter.

While Farrell was initially charged with assaulting Watson, Justice George Beatty found her not guilty and said it was the officer who laid a beating on Farrell for no reason.

“Sgt. Watson is a large and powerfully built man,” the judge said in his ruling, noting Farrell weighed 140 pounds. “There is no doubt that she would be in pain from multiple injuries and was trying to cover her face from further damage.”

The SIU initially took photographs of Farrell’s injuries but found no grounds to lay charges against Watson. However, following the judge’s ruling, the SIU announced it would revisit the case.

“As a result of comments made by Justice Beatty in his ‘reasons for judgment’ regarding the conduct of Sgt. Watson, the SIU decided to review the file, including the judge’s reasons and the transcripts from Ms. Farrell’s trial, to assess whether there were grounds to reopen the investigation.

“As a result of that review, the SIU has reopened the investigation,” spokesman Monica Hudan said in a statement Wednesday.

OPP Sgt. Peter Leon confirmed Watson remains on the job as a sergeant with the Orillia OPP and there have been no findings against him.

“Two Professional Standards Branch investigations were conducted,” Leon said. “One was as a result of the complaint received by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and one in relation to the original SIU investigation. No wrongdoing (was) identified.”

The OIPRD states that the findings of investigations are shared only with the complainant, the officer(s) involved and the chief/commissioner of the police service that employs the officer.

The Toronto Sun reached Watson’s voicemail at his Orillia office but there has been no response.

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/03/05/op ... d-standing
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SIU reopens probe into case of woman injured in Orillia

Postby Thomas » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:39 am

An Orillia woman who was injured in an incident involving an OPP sergeant says she is thrillied to hear that Ontario's police watchdog will reopen a new investigation into the case.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says Maria Tonie Farrell was injured in 2013 during an "interaction" with OPP Sgt. Russell Watson.

Farrell suffered a broken leg during what the SIU is calling an interaction with Sgt. Watson in downtown Orillia.

Farrell had said she was trying to report a crime to the officer when she was kicked to the ground by Watson.

Farrell was charged by police with assaulting and obstructing a police officer but Ontario Court Justice George Beatty dismissed the charges in December.

Following that review, the SIU says it decided to reopen the case but will make no further comment while the investigation is ongoing.

Farrell told CTV News on Wednesday night that she is happy to hear the latest news. She says her recovery from the injuries is still very painful and she is still seeing numerous specialists.

Both Farrell and her lawyer believe the officer should be held accountable.

“For Tonie it would mean an opportunity to have Mr. Watson held accountable. Every day she lives with the difficulty of the pain, the trauma of having been so brutally assaulted and no one has been held accountable for that so this is an opportunity for someone to be finally be held accountable,” says Farrell’s lawyer Angela McLeod.

The OPP told CTV News last month that Sergeant Watson remained on duty in Orillia.

The OPP told CTV News on Wednesday they will not be commenting on the SIU’s investigation and the SIU says it will not comment until its investigation is finished.

The SIU is an arm's-length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

http://barrie.ctvnews.ca/siu-reopens-pr ... -1.2263837
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subject of SIU probe still working at Orillia detachment

Postby Thomas » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:03 am

OPP confirms sergeant, subject of SIU probe, still working at Orillia detachment

Despite a scathing ruling by a judge who found Orillia Sgt. Russ Watson “karate kicked” and “sucker punched” a helpless woman, he remains in good standing as a police officer, the OPP confirms.

Wednesday, Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) announced it would reopen an investigation into Watson regarding Orillia resident Tonie Farrell’s injuries.

The grandmother of two received what the judge called “catastrophic” injuries when she acted as a “Good Samaritan” during an incident outside an Orillia convenience store April 2, 2013. She has undergone several surgeries for a shattered knee, a broken tibia and other injuries and will permanently need a cane and a scooter.

While Farrell was initially charged with assaulting Watson, Justice George Beatty found her not guilty and said it was the officer who laid a beating on Farrell for no reason.

“Sgt. Watson is a large and powerfully built man,” the judge said in his ruling, noting Farrell weighed 140 pounds. “There is no doubt that she would be in pain from multiple injuries and was trying to cover her face from further damage.”

The SIU took photographs of Farrell’s injuries but found no grounds to lay charges against Watson. However, following the judge’s ruling, the SIU announced it would revisit the case.

“As a result of comments made by Justice Beatty in his ‘reasons for judgment’ regarding the conduct of Sgt. Watson, the SIU decided to review the file, including the judge’s reasons and the transcripts from Ms. Farrell’s trial, to assess whether there were grounds to reopen the investigation.

“As a result of that review, the SIU has reopened the investigation,” spokesperson Monica Hudon said in a statement Wednesday.

OPP Sgt. Peter Leon confirmed Watson remains on the job as a sergeant with Orillia OPP and there have been no findings against him.

“Two Professional Standards Branch investigations were conducted,” Leon said. “One was as a result of the complaint received by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and one, in relation to the original SIU investigation. No wrongdoing (was) identified.”

The OIPRD states the findings of investigations are shared only with the complainant, the officer(s) involved and the chief/commissioner of the police service that employs the officer.

QMI Agency reached Watson’s voicemail at his Orillia office, but there has been no response.

http://www.orilliapacket.com/2015/03/05 ... detachment
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Good Samaritan sues cop, OPP over attack

Postby Thomas » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:18 am

ORILLIA - An Orillia grandmother who suffered “catastrophic” injuries in an altercation with a police officer has launched a $4-million lawsuit against the cop and the OPP, saying she’s “fed up” with waiting for justice.

Russell Watson, of the Orillia OPP, is named in the suit for his “attack” on Maria "Tonie" Farrell who suffered a crushed knee, broken tibia and spinal injuries in an April 2, 2013 incident.

“The actions of Sgt. Watson were harsh, vindictive, unprofessional, reprehensible, malicious and extreme,” claims the statement, filed in the Superior Court of Justice. The claim also alleges Watson “tackled,” “karate kicked” and “sucker punched” the woman for no reason.

Last December, a provincial court judge slammed the actions of the officer who tried — but failed — to have her convicted for assaulting him. After a year of hobbling to court on crutches, Farrell, 48, a former Tim Hortons cashier, was found not guilty.

During the trial, Watson testified Farrell assaulted him by grabbing the lapel on his patrol jacket. 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, arms and the loss of a tooth,” Provincial Court Justice George Beatty said in his ruling. “Ms. Farrell was acting as a Good Samaritan ... She wanted to assist Sgt. Watson in identifying the assailants.”

Farrell was still in her Tim’s uniform that night when she heard the screams of a woman being assaulted behind a convenience store, court heard. She ran to help the woman and when Watson arrived on scene, alone, she frantically tried to point out the assailants who ran off, the trial was told.

Farrell said the officer told her to “shut the f--- up,” then karate kicked her, causing her to fall and smack her head on pavement, according to evidence presented at the trial.

“I was screaming in agony,” Farrell said in an interview, alleging the officer then “started stomping on me.”

Wailing in pain, her leg dangling, she was handcuffed and put into the back of a cruiser, according to Farrell’s statement of claim. She was then taken to hospital where she had the first of several surgeries to repair her leg and knee.

In a foggy, pain-filled state when she came out of the anesthetic, she learned she was being charged with assault, the claim said.

“I was overwhelmed ... I had never been charged before — I had never even been in a courtroom before. My world turned upside down,” she said.

The lawsuit claims the officer laid a “false” and “malicious” prosecution against Farrell to avoid being charged.

“He caused a criminal prosecution against the plaintiff in order to discredit her ... to protect himself from allegations of wrongdoing,” the claim alleges. “He deliberately misstated the events in his notes in hopes of securing a conviction (against Farrell).”

The claim also alleged Watson has a history of using excessive force and blamed the OPP for negligence.

“It (the OPP) knew or ought to have known that Sgt. Watson had a history of using excessive or unwarranted force,” says the claim. “It failed to identify that Sgt. Watson was a danger to the public when this fact was known or ought to have been known.”

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

Lawyer Darcy Romaine, who represents Farrell, said he is shocked by what happened to his client.

“This was a Tim Hortons cashier who was trying to help somebody,” he insisted.

Farrell said she lives with daily pain from her leg, neck and spinal injuries. After one year on crutches, she now walks with a cane but needs a scooter outdoors.

“My life has changed,” she said in an interview. “Every hour I’m in pain, my leg can’t bend. I can’t even lift up my little grandchildren.”

As a cashier, she earned $197 a week and kept a small apartment. Now, unable to work, she has moved to her elderly parents’ home.

The province’s Special Investigations Unit found “no reasonable grounds” to lay charges against the officer. However, after the judge’s ruling made headlines, the SIU announced it ordered transcripts of the trial and will review the case.

Outraged that the officer was never charged, several of Farrell’s friends and other members of the public have lobbied in front of the OPP headquarters with large posters.

Meanwhile, Watson remains in good standing as a police officer. A photograph that hangs on a wall at the local Legion, entitled “Words Are Not Enough,” shows Watson in uniform with a group of other officers who served in Afghanistan. Watson was a liaison with the military and helped in the training of police officers in Afghanistan in 2011.

Watson could not be reached for comment despite attempts to reach him by telephone.

OPP have refused to comment on the case. No statements of defence have yet been filed with the courts.

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/03/29/go ... ver-attack

http://www.thewhig.com/2015/03/29/good- ... ver-attack
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