Judge awards $27,000 to man beaten in police carding incident
Man out walking on Shuter Street after evening prayers at mosque on winter night in 2011
A Toronto police officer "took the law into his own hands" when he stopped a Sudanese man in 2011, said an Ontario Superior Court judge.
Justice Frederick Myers awarded damages of $27,000 on Thursday to Mutaz Elmardy, 38, who says he was stopped by police, punched in the face twice, had his pockets searched, and was kept handcuffed lying down for 20-25 minutes.
"The police had no right to detain Mr. Elmardy for carding alone," Myers ruled, saying police in this case "administered some street justice."
Elmardy sued Const. Andrew Pak and the Toronto Police Services Board for assault, battery, unlawful arrest, and violation of his Charter rights.
Myers found that police had no reasonable suspicion that Elmardy had committed any criminal conduct when Pak and Const. Candice Poole stopped him in the early evening of Jan. 15, 2011.
Elmardy had been walking on Shuter Street after leaving evening prayers at his mosque.
When he was stopped on the cold night, Elmardy had his hands in his pockets.
The judge said what ensued was a "false arrest" and agreed with Elmardy's stand that he'd been denied proper legal treatment.
"I accept his desire to show that he is equal under the law and that the law applies to him as a refugee permanent resident just as much as to anyone."
"The Charter protects all of us," Myers said.
Although Myers noted that Elmardy had been "hostile" to police, he did so because "he did not want to be speaking to the police. He did not give a knowing consent to a search."
On Tuesday, a representative from Toronto Police Services said the Elmardy case has no bearing on the effectiveness of carding.
"You have to look at the facts of the case. You have to look and see if the force that was used was justified," said police spokesman Mark Pugash.
- An earlier version of this story mistakenly said Ontario Justice Myers said Const. Pak stopped Elmardy "for no reason apart from the colour of his skin." That was actually part of Elmardy's claim. The judge did not make any finding that Elmardy was discriminated against on the basis of his race or that he was the victim of "racial profiling."May 13, 2015 1:16 AM ET