Ottawa

Case against Ottawa man dropped over questionable arrest

Charges against a 43-year-old man accused of obstructing and attempting to bribe a police officer have been stayed after Crown prosecutors said there were potential legal issues with the man's arrest.
Defence lawyer Paul Lewandowski said prosecutors are more wary of cases involving police using force. ((CBC))

Charges against a 43-year-old man accused of obstructing and attempting to bribe a police officer have been withdrawn after prosecutors said there were potential legal issues with the man's arrest.

Kenneth Alzingre was arrested on January 20, 2009 during a traffic stop and charged with obstructing a peace officer, bribery and failure to provide a breath sample.

But Crown lawyers said Thursday there are concerns about the use of force during the arrest and that those concerns make the prospect of conviction unlikely.

"If you are a police officer, you're supposed to respect and protect the citizens," Alzingre told CBC News.

"You don't just beat the s--t out of someone for no reason."

Alzingre said the night of the incident he was driving home from the bar. He admitted he had a few drinks, but "not that much."

Alzingre said the police officer who pulled him over was rude to him, so he got out of his car to write down the police cruiser's license plate number. That's when the police officer punched him repeatedly, Alzingre said.

Alzingre said he suffered face and neck injuries in the incident, as well as a minor back injury.

No charges have been filed against the police officer involved.

Case would have been 'nightmare' for police: lawyer

Defence lawyer Paul Lewandowski said if the case carried forward it would have been a "public relations nightmare" for police.

"I think we would have been able to deconstruct what happened in the situation very effectively if it had gone to trial," Lewandowski said.

He said his client's case had many similarities to the case of Stacy Bonds, whose rough treatment in the Ottawa cellblock led to increased scrutiny of how police officers and special constables handle people brought to jail.

Lewandowski said the Crown only raised concerns about the use of force in Alzingre's case after the Bonds incident and a subsequent Ontario Provincial Police investigation into other incidents which began late last year.