A police dashcam video obtained exclusively by CBC News shows the arrest of a Camrose dentist accused of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest during a traffic stop.
Simona Tibu, 40, was charged with assaulting a peace officer in 2013, but later told a court that she was the true victim — saying the altercation left her fearing for her life.
The video was released after a lengthy legal battle.
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Tibu was driving from Camrose to Edmonton in August 2013 when she was stopped by a sheriff for speeding.
The video, which has no sound, shows the officer speaking to Tibu through the driver’s side window. He eventually opens the door and motions for Tibu to exit.
The encounter escalates quickly from there. Once Tibu stands up, the sheriff pulls a cellphone from her hand and the two struggle. The officer forces her arms behind her back before reaching inside his jacket for his handcuffs.
At some point, Tibu appears to pull away from the officer, who grabs her by the wrists and swings her out toward the highway before slamming her against the car twice. Tibu is seen yelling as the handcuffs are put on.
The video runs a total of 10 minutes before Tibu is forced to the ground and off camera. She was later taken away in an ambulance.
The video was shown in court in October 2014 during a voir dire — a trial within a trial used to resolve legal issues. Tibu has applied for the charges to be stayed. She testified that she had a panic attack during the arrest and thought her life was in danger.
"He pulled me out from a safe place — my car — to a dangerous place — the traffic. I felt my life was not safe," she testified.
She told the court that she suffered a back injury and was left bleeding after the arrest. She said another officer arrived, but didn't do anything about her injuries.
Tibu said she was left traumatized by the arrest.
Witness says force was excessive
Jim Fredericksen, a volunteer firefighter who was driving by the scene, told court Tibu was screaming "help me" during the arrest.
Fredericksen stopped and called 911 at the sheriff’s request. He testified that he did not see the officer strike or punch TIbu, but he told the dispatcher that he thought the force was excessive.
"Now he's getting really violent with her," he said during the 911 call.
Fredericksen also told court that Tibu appeared to almost run out into traffic.
"If she had slipped away and ran across that road, she could have become a fatality."
The video was released following a CBC request to make the recording public. The judge initially denied the request, but the video was released after an appeal.
The voir dire is set to resume Jan. 21, when the officer is expected to give his account of the incident.