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.
Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:40 pm
I was involved in a situation several years ago which was a complicated issue, but needless to say although I did not do what I was accused of, I take responsibility and full blame for putting myself in a volatile situation and unfortunately reaping the consequences of that. So let it be clear that I am not here to dispute my innocence or guilt for that is a matter for the courts (although many judges along the way remarked that they felt the investigation was severely lacking and in the words of one JP ‘there is something wrong here’ after he advised my lawyer to ‘look into this matter more thoroughly’). But again, none of the judges really dealt with the matter as they should have so I cannot lay that oversight at the feet of the Peterborough OPP. So let us rather focus on the true issue at hand which is that which has been testified to by others and will be testified to by me - the malicious verbal behavior and the bullying tactics which the Peterborough OPP officers employed that is utterly uncalled for, unprofessional and unacceptable.
The following will address the manner in which me and my family was dealt with by the Peterborough OPP by discussing several of the most prominent instances. Let it also be known that all court records will show and by my own testimony there was never a time I resisted arrest or behaved verbally or physically in resistance to the Peterborough OPP. When I was first arrested I had no previous criminal record however the Peterborough OPP showed up with eight officers all pointing drawn and loaded guns at me even going so far as to press the barrel of a loaded shotgun into the base of my skull and demanding I tell them where I was hiding my weapons, stating, ‘We know you're ex-military, where are all your weapons hidden? We know you have military weapons.’ One officer even went so far as to mention the likelihood of me having an explosive type weapon similar to a bazooka. Now I have never even owned a real gun and the extent of anything 'gun-related' that I have ever had in my possession was a bb-gun. Nor have I ever been implicated in or has any suspicion aroused in my life regarding the use of firearms. So this kind of initial contact with the Peterborough OPP was dramatic and overwhelming to say the least. However it only started getting worse as I was brought to the station. For me, yes, but more so for what I would later find out happened to my mother who was quite scared, uninformed and worried about the whole situation of which she was given no information at all.
When I arrived at the OPP station I was being processed down in the holding area as is their procedure, and I remember seeing one officer come in whom I recognized, as I had taught both his daughters swimming lessons and talked with him many times years ago and remembered working side by side doing the Santa Claus parade when I was a security officer. I was overwhelmed and was trying to make sense of what was happening to me so I tried to ask him for some insight as to what I should do and what this was all about to which he started calling me an 'animal' while stating that he thought extremely low of people like me. At this point I was pretty much in tears, but trying to keep everything together on the outside as I knew I had to keep strong and be professional in this situation no matter how bad it could be. Something that the Peterborough OPP could not seem to do even though they were dealing with no stress compared to what I was going through.
I was later brought into an interrogation room by Detective Beddaoui who I understand was given the lead in my case. She asked me all sorts of questions, but I was too shaken to answer and so I stated that it would be best to wait for my lawyer as that is what I understood to be the safest course of action in that situation. At this point she moved her chair right up to where I was seated with my back against the wall so our knees were pretty much touching. This was very uncomfortable to say the least. I did not know where to look and the whole time in the back of my mind I was thinking she was going to hurt me or claim I did something and I only hoped and prayed there was a camera on somewhere filming the whole ordeal. She began to accuse me of all sorts of actions and motives that were horrible and obscene really, things I would never say to anyone and after she made each accusation she would take her hands and slap them down on my thighs while leaning right into my personal space. I cannot begin to describe how off putting this is and troublesome when you are already in a compromised emotional state and you know you cannot do anything to even protect your own personal few inches of space around your own body. Finally this was over and I was returned to my cell to await transfer to Central East Correctional Center until a court date could be scheduled.
What I was to later learn was that the next day my mom would receive a very hurtful and terrible phone call by the same Detective Beddaoui. My mother's account is as follows:
At the time of the initial arrest I was talking to my son on the telephone. Since he had no idea at that point why the police were at his home, I was left anxiously wondering what had happened until the next day when my son's wife telephoned me in response to the message I had left on her answering machine. She informed me that my son had been arrested and listed the things that he had been charged with. My immediate response was to challenge the accusations since I have been closely involved with helping them resolve their marital difficulties over the past year, and I knew many of the accusations were untrue. Now I realize that it was for the courts to decide, but it explains why I was 'discussing the case' with her. Later that same day Det. Beddaoui called me to warn me my son would lose his opportunity at bail if I discussed the case with his wife again. I quickly apologized and explained that I was totally unaware of the fact that I was not allowed to discuss the case. Since I was only responding to information that had been given me I felt that Det. Beddaoui's warning of this nature was harsh and unnecessary, but to make matters worse she went on to make further comments that were totally unprofessional and caused me considerable distress. I was then informed by Det. Beddaoui that ‘I had major issues with my son’ and that ‘he was capable of extreme violence...’ She then, to my horror, went on to say that I ‘had been given a gift, of being able to see my granddaughter grow up’. I said nothing in response to Det. Beddaoui's accusations because I was so shaken, and as my husband and daughter can testify I immediately burst into tears after hanging up the telephone. The comment about my granddaughter was the most disturbing since my son had not even been accused of harming his daughter so I am still at a loss as to where this comment came from. My whole conversation with Det. Beddaoui consisted of her running down my son describing him as a sociopath and doing this in the harshest tones even yelling at me throughout the conversation. Much more was said than just the quotes given and still much more was insinuated in the tone of voice and context.
According to the law a person is innocent until proven guilty, but Det. Beddaoui's remarks implied that my son had already been proven guilty and of such a heinous crime as trying to harm his baby daughter. I assure you that if Det. Beddaoui was aware of all the facts she would not even hint at such a thing. The problem was she did not have all the facts and had only heard one side of the story, which disqualifies her as pronouncing any kind of judgment. Her role in this case, as I understood it, was to collect information. It does not include bullying the mother of the accused. I use the term bullying because Det. Beddaoui was speaking to me from a position of authority when she telephoned me to warn me not to speak about the case with my son's wife. As I said, I quickly apologized because I have always respected that authority. So I was wondering why it was necessary to further intimidate me with harsh judgmental opinions at a time when I was so vulnerable. As a school teacher and a mother I have always taught my children the importance of respect for authority, especially when it comes to the police because I realize what a vital job they have in our society. But with every position of authority comes the responsibility of never abusing that power. It is my belief that Det. Beddaoui did abuse that power on (date given) and it is my hope that this letter will bring this to light and help discourage any future abuses.
Here ends my mother's account. Let me further add the fact that neither my mother nor my father were ever approached my either Det. Beddaoui or any other police officer for a statement or account of what had happened regarding the charges laid (later I was to find out they did not correctly investigate the allegation and neither did they believe the charges or even have grounds for the charges). To treat my mother who is the sweetest individual, a professional of the highest order, holding her Master’s in Education and retiring from a successful career teaching children, in such a manner is entirely without excuse. Shortly thereafter my mother did file a complaint with the Peterborough OPP regarding that incident and was invited to a first stage interview to discuss the complaint where she was asked if she wanted to escalate it. But we were all so scared by that point with the proceedings that she worried risking my well-being should I ever be in their custody so she was hesitant to push the issue farther.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing was after my trial when I was at the OPP station to register myself in accordance with the ruling. The lead detective on my case, Det. Beddaoui, saw me there and took me into the interrogation room "just to chat". There she cavalierly said “I know all those things that you were accused of were not true but, you know how it is’.
As an addition I want to make mention of a practice which was very common by the OPP Special Constables during prisoner transport to and from the Correctional Center. Let me be clear that I have no knowledge of what detachment the special constables are based out of so I am not trying to attach their behavior specifically to the Peterborough OPP detachment. After loading us into the 'paddy wagon' they would proceed to do donuts around the parking lot coming to extremely hard stops and laughing quite loudly from the front cab. When you have 10-12 (or however many they fit in total) all shackled together wrist and ankle on hard metal benches, they all slam into each other and hit their bodies and heads off the metal framing all around in addition to causing twists and torsional pain and injury of the wrists and ankles from having 200 pound men being twisted from each other while wearing metal shackles against bare skin. It would be nice if we were treated as innocent until proven guilty. Understand that this is a court transport so these are not convicts for the most part, but rather men and women awaiting their day in court who either have been arrested over the weekend or cannot afford the money needed to be released on recognizance (bail).
There were many things that were done in this whole ordeal and I have tried to make it a distant memory and forgive and forget, but when I hear about what happened to men like Michael Jack I realize that this behavior of bullying and malicious intent and unaccountability is alive and well in the Peterborough OPP and I must speak out. What has happened in my life has happened, and I am prepared to live with it, but I cannot sit idly by and watch or hear of another man or woman like myself being falsely accused and laden with charges that have not been investigated at all or being treated as less than human, or the few good police that would make a difference, like Michael Jack and others being drummed out of this rotten detachment. We need to be able to trust in those who hold authority over us. Michael is fighting for that trust to be regained. I encourage others to share your story. What is going on in the Peterborough OPP is not right and needs to be stopped. They have found a way that they think they can 'legally' abuse people and we need to hold them accountable in the positions they hold.