A Toronto police officer accused of using excessive force during the arrest of G20 protester Adam Nobody is guilty of assault with a weapon, Justice Louise Botham ruled Thursday.
Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani, 33, had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In his tearful testimony earlier this year, he said that he struck and jabbed Nobody with his baton as he had been taught to do when an individual resists arrest.
Nobody, a 27-year-old stage hand at the time, has denied that he was resisting arrest at the June 26, 2010 protest outside Queen’s Park. At issue was not the lawfulness of the arrest, but whether excessive force was used.
According to an agreed statement of facts, the police had reasonable grounds to arrest Nobody. Charges of obstruction of justice and assaulting a peace officer were later dropped.
Botham found that Andalib-Goortani’s explanation that he did not see the blows delivered by his fellow officers was an afterthought to explain his behaviour. The force used was not necessary to control or arrest Nobody, she said.
Nobody testified that he was chased by police, tackled from behind and landed faced down on the ground. Police officers pinned him to the ground, he said.
As clearly shown in the video evidence, he was then struck repeatedly, said Botham. The videos show police officers punching, kneeing, kicking and striking Nobody with batons, she said.
Andalib-Goortani testified that he hit Nobody with his baton four times on the thigh.
Along with Andalib-Goortani, another Toronto police officer testified that Nobody was aggressive, taunted the police and attempted to incite the crowd to do the same.
Only one police officer testified that Nobody went beyond verbal challenges and was banging on police shields, said Botham.
However, she did not put much weight on this evidence since the officer did not make notes that day. She also said she was troubled by the vivid recollections of Nobody’s behaviour by other Toronto police officers given that he was not mentioned in their notes for that day.
The defence sought to undermine Nobody’s credibility by alleging that he had prior knowledge that violence would break out, said Botham. Nobody denied this.
Nobody and his family have launched a $14.2 million civil lawsuit against the police. The lawsuit involves allegations that are not part of this case.