A Windsor detective is at the centre of a $14.2 million police brutality lawsuit in Windsor, Ontario. The civil suit was filed by Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan. Of the eight officers named in the suit, including the chief, an investigation by the Windsor Star has found that six of the officers have blemished records.
Detective David Van Buskirk is charged with assault and public mischief in relation to the April 2010 beating of Dr. Abouhassan. According to court documents, the endocrinologist was jogging from the train station to a prospective location of his new practice when Van Buskirk confronted him at Jackson Park Medical Centre.
Dr. Abouhassan suffered a concussion, broken nose, bruised ribs and a detached retina. Van Buskirk charged Dr. Abouhassan with assaulting a police officer, a charge that was stayed by the Crown after an investigation laid criminal charges against Van Buskirk instead. This case echoes two other Van Buskirk cases in 1993 and 1994 of allegations of false charges against a victim of police excess.
Lawyer Julian Falconer who represents Dr. Abouhassan states, “That is the way police accountability functions in the province of Ontario. They can duck. They can jive. It is a huge, huge problem”. Furthermore, he states “There is a false sense on the part of a significant number of officers that they should be treated differently when determining whether their actions are lawful”.
Professor David Tanovich, who heads the Law Enforcement Accountability Project at the University of Windsor law school, echoes that “One of the problems is the general perception that if officers engage in misconduct, their partners and even those in the judicial system like Crowns and judges will have their back. This perception has to be addressed in order to deter misconduct”.
Falconer states that strong police leadership is required that will not tolerate misconduct by its officers.
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