Toronto police sued for $5 mn for using excessive force


Santokh Bola at the press conference

Toronto, November 20 (CINEWS): Earlier this month a man was beaten by two police officers without no provocation and they used excessive force during the illegal arrest.
Police then family members alleged that they were treated to indifference when they went to complain about the alleged beating, relatives of Santokh Bola said.
“You go to these people who have higher authority, you expect them to do something about it, but they don’t,” said Bola’s sister Sonia. “It was frustrating, it was angering.”
Bola, 21, of Woodbridge, Ont., had driven to a west-end plaza at about 8 a.m. on Nov. 1 to help out at his grandfather’s store. He had parked and just gotten out of his car when two officers, guns drawn, rushed at him, yelling at him to “get down or be shot,” according to the family’s unproven statement of claim.
Cellphone video taken by a bystander shows the officers then arresting Bola, who yells: “Hello, I didn’t do anything, sir” — something he cries out repeatedly as they proceed to punch him 11 times in quick succession, knee him and kick him.
Bola, who has an intellectual disability, suffered bruises and cuts to his head and face, his existing tremors worsened and he may have received a brain injury, the suit alleges.
“He’s scared. He sleeps with a light on. He’s been having nightmares. This has actually traumatized him. We see the fear in his eyes. It’s so sad,” Sonia Bola said.
Bola himself did not speak at a news conference organized by his lawyers to discuss the lawsuit and screen the video.
Police have yet to file a defence to the untested claim, which seeks $5 million in various damages for Bola, his sister and parents.
However, police spokesman Mark Pugash said the video doesn’t indicate the information the officers had when they arrested Bola, who was released that day without charge.
Pugash disputed family claims that the two officers were responding to a call about an attempted burglary in the area.
“Minutes earlier, police had received a call — one of the most dangerous and urgent calls we get — about a man with a knife and we were given a description,” Pugash said. “The officers were responding.”
It will be up to the courts now — or the Office of the Independent Police Review Director — to determine whether the force used was reasonable under the circumstances.
Ken Byers, one of Bola’s lawyers, said how police behaved was inexcusable. The video, he said, speaks for itself.
The family said they only discovered someone had shot the video a day or so after the incident, when they went looking for witnesses. They refused to say who had taken it.
There are many unanswered questions which may be answered once the court proceedings get underway.

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