A man who says he wanted to be a police officer is rethinking his future after allegedly being beaten by a group of Toronto police officers.
On July 22, Sharmake Abdi, 26, was picking up a paycheque for work he did during the G20 summit for the Commissionaires security company. But as he left the company's office at 80 Church Street in downtown Toronto, he was confronted by police.
"[They] put me right there and dragged me all the way here," said Abdi on Tuesday, pointing out where he was grabbed. "Two [officers] sat on my back. One of them was even punching me."
Abdi, who is of Somali origin, says there were at least eight officers with guns drawn taking part in his arrest. They handcuffed him and put him up against a wall.
"I'm telling them, 'You're making a mistake, you're making a mistake, you're making a mistake.' But then no one is listening to me. [They said] 'Face the wall. Don't turn around. Shut up'."
Police apparently thought they were arresting another man named Sharmake Abdi, who is the same age and ethnic origin as Abdi.
The Sharmake Abdi police were looking for was wanted in connection with the stabbing death of 37-year-old David Darcy on July 14 in Scarborough.
Abdi said police let him go after they saw his birth date wasn't the same as the suspect's — but the damage was done. Abdi had bruises to his head, shoulders and arm.
"I'm throwing up. I'm still having difficulty breathing," Abdi said. "And the pain and the things that are going through my mind — how can I sleep after all that?"
The Toronto Police Service says Abdi matched the suspect's description and that the arresting officers didn't use excessive force.
"You have to understand, they're dealing with a situation where a person is wanted for a homicide investigation where he's allegedly killed someone and he's armed with a weapon," said Toronto police spokesperson Const. Tony Vella.
Abdi wants compensation and an apology from the police, but Vella says that won't happen.
"The officers didn't do anything wrong," Vella said. "They acted appropriately. If he wants to file a complaint, that's his right to do so."
Abdi says he had dreamed of one day becoming a police officer — but not anymore.
"This is the way they treated me? How am I supposed to now be like them," he said.
Abdi says he will file an official complaint and pursue legal action.
The Sharmake Abdi suspected in the Scarborough homicide was taken into custody on July 25 and has been charged with first-degree murder.