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Judge acquits Toronto cook, ruling police used excessive force
A judge has stayed impaired driving, assault to resist arrest and other charges against a Toronto cook, ruling police used excessive force and seemed “indifferent to the truth” when testifying.
Const. Christian Dobbs repeatedly struck Raymond Costain with his elbow while arresting him, which was “unnecessary, unjustified and excessive,” provincial court Justice Ford Clements said Wednesday.
“This was unlawful extrajudicial punishment that will shock the public,” Clements said. Costain testified he was left with a permanent scar on his forehead, a sore nose and dizziness when bending down.
The incident was captured by a police car’s onboard camera, which shows Dobbs repeatedly striking Costain, who is hidden from view and face down in front of the King Edward Hotel on King St. E. three years ago.
The testimony of several officers was inconsistent with what is shown on the video, “and leads to the conclusion there was a contrived effort to justify the use of force,” Clements said.
The judge rejected Dobbs’ claim the defendant struck him.
The judge found two officers turned off cruiser cameras filming the scene in a clumsy cover-up attempt. One claimed he turned his off to conserve energy.
Outside court, Costain, 30, a cook at Porzia restaurant, said he was relieved. The father of two said he’s “lost a lot of trust” in police.
His lawyer, Leora Shemesh, said the judge’s courageous decision makes her proud to be a lawyer and she hopes the officers involved will be called to account. They have not been investigated.
Costain was arrested early on April 12, 2010, after he parked his badly damaged car, which had been in an accident, and tried to get a taxi home.
Dobbs and fellow officers believed Costain had tried to run over another constable and led police on a chase.