A former Regina police officer who kicked an intoxicated man in the stomach, knocking him down, has been convicted of assault causing bodily harm.
Robert K. Power, 41, who was fired from the force last year, will be sentenced Feb. 12 after Provincial Court Judge Doug Kovatch found him guilty on Jan. 24.
Court heard the victim was a 48-year-old downtown resident who had many past brushes with the law for being publicly intoxicated. He would drink hand sanitizer, hair spray, rubbing alcohol — anything he could get his hands on.
He was also flagged on the Regina police computer system as being infected with Hepatitis C and HIV — information that officers can use to assess threats.
Encounter at detox centre
On May 7, 2012, the man was at the Brief Detox Unit, a short-term shelter where drunks can go to sleep it off, when he had an encounter with Power.
Power testified he urged the intoxicated man to check himself into the shelter, but the man refused and when he said he was going to arrest him, he became belligerent.
"F--k you. Do you want to fight me?" Power quoted the man as saying twice.
Pool of blood
The man approached Power with his hands at his sides and when he got close, Power took one step forward and kicked him. The man fell down, hitting his head on cement. The injury left a pool of blood on the ground.
The man was taken to hospital, where he was treated and released back to the shelter.
Court heard the man was about 5 feet, six inches tall and no more than 140 pounds, while Power was 6'1" and at least 215 pounds.
Immediately after the incident, Power told the police service he only pushed the man with his hand.
'He might have hollered some sort of warning or command.' - Judge Doug Kovatch says Power had other options besides kicking the man
However, after being shown surveillance video of the incident, he confirmed that it was a kick.
The main issue for the judge was whether or not the force used was unreasonable.
His lawyer argued self-defence, saying Power believed he was about to be attacked.
Officer had options, judge says
But the judge decided Power had other options.
"He might have hollered some sort of warning or command," Kovatch said in his written decision. "He might have held up his hands and arms to block a blow, or simply have pushed [the man] backward. He might have stepped aside."
In conclusion, the level of force was not reasonable or justified, Kovatch said, adding that Power was "reckless" regarding the consequences to the man.
He convicted the ex-police officer of assault causing bodily harm.
Regina Police Chief Troy Hagen fired Power in March 2013.