Ontario, Jul 25 (Canadian-Media): A lawsuit seeking $400,000 in damages against the Ontario Government, two identified Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers and a number of unknown officers was filed in Toronto on July 22, media reports said.
OPP. Image credit: Twitter handle
According to the lawsuit, OPP allegedly falsifying their notes to justify a racially influenced violent takedown of two First Nations brothers in the front yard and driveway of May's home in Orillia, Ont. and was captured in cellphone video that was obtained by CBC News .
It alleges that the two officers, acting on a report that a "Native male" had fallen off a bicycle, illegally assaulted Randall May, 57, of Nipissing First Nation, and Aaron Keeshig, 50, of Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation.
According to the statement of claim, the lawsuit also alleged that an OPP officer, assigned to investigate a complaint over the incident filed by May, offered to have May's charges dropped if he abandoned the complaint.
"In order to justify the illegal assault, detention and arrest, the police falsified police notes, falsely accused both brothers of offences they did not commit and wrongly charged Mr. May of assaulting police," said the statement of claim, filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. "Mr. May and Mr. Keeshig, who are both First Nations men, assert that the illegal, violent and entirely unjustified treatment they suffered was the result of racial profiling, racial bias and discrimination."
The OPP said in a statement that the OPP's professional standards bureau investigated the complaint filed by May in February 2019, at the direction of the police watchdog, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and that the internal investigation concluded that the allegations were "unsubstantiated" and that the findings were relayed by the OIPRD to May.
The file was closed in May 2019, the OPP's statement said.
May told CBC News he doesn't remember ever receiving the results of the investigation from the OIPRD. The lawsuit claims he suffered the worst during the takedown. He was not only thrown to the ground and punched but also repeatedly Tasered to the point where he lost control of his bodily functions, according to the statement of claim.
"I could hear myself screaming," May said in an interview with CBC News outside his home, at the spot where the incident occurred on Sept. 15, 2018.
The statement of claim alleges that the officers "illegally" detained May and Keeshig, not informing them the reason for their arrest. The document said the brothers were the victims of "assault and battery" at the hands of the officers.
The legal action takes place at a time of awareness of racial profiling by the police against Black and Indigenous people and amid worldwide protests over recent high-profile incidents of police brutality. Two Indigenous people in Canada were shot and killed by police in New Brunswick within a span of eight days in June. Chantal Moore, 26, was killed by police in Edmundston during a wellness check at her home, while the RCMP fatally shot Rodney Levi, 48, of Metepenagiag First Nation.