Montreal man found not guilty of uttering threats, harassment of police officer
Charges stem from 2015 road rage incident involving off-duty officer
Jeffery Pokora, a man accused of uttering threats, harassment and intimidation towards an off-duty police officer, was was found not guilty Friday on all counts by a judge at the municipal courthouse.
The charges stem from a 2015 road rage incident in which Pokora had a conflict with Montreal police officer Roberto Tomarelli.
In January 2015, Pokora was driving in Lasalle when he followed a man he believed was driving dangerously. He didn't know the man was a police officer.
After a verbal altercation, Pokora blocked the other man's vehicle in a driveway while he called 911. Surveillance video of the incident shows Tomarelli getting into his own vehicle and ramming Pokora's, seriously damaging the car.
The judge cited the video evidence as a major factor in his decision.
'I was in good faith'
Pokora told CBC News that he was relieved to be cleared of the charges.
"I was very happy with the outcome," he said.
"I was in good faith. I feel that it's rectified socially, in the sense that people see I did my best, being a citizen and not a police officer. I did what I felt was in the best interest at that time."
He maintains that he has no idea why Tomarelli reacted the way he did during the January 2015 incident, or why he failed to identify himself as an officer early on.
"He could have diffused the situation immediately had he presented his badge," Pokora said.
Pokora said he felt compelled to follow what he perceived to be a dangerous driver in the first place in the hopes of preventing a potential accident.
Pokora filed a complaint against Tomarelli in connection with the incident, but Crown prosecutors decided not to lay charges after reviewing the file last year.
Pokora also went to the police ethics commission, but it refused to hear the case, saying that because Tomarelli was off-duty at the time of the incident, it didn't have jurisdiction. Pokora is appealing that decision.
In March of this year, Pokora filed a civil lawsuit against Tomarelli seeking $120,000 in damages.
The lawsuit claims Pokora's vehicle was damaged beyond repair in the incident, and that since it happened he is in frequent pain and experiences serious psychological distress.
With files from Elias Abboud