Rohan Roberts files human rights complaint against Toronto police

A man who says he was beaten after being stopped and questioned by two Toronto police officers has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal.

Complaint seeks $100K in damages from 2 Toronto officers

Beaten after being stopped and questioned by two Toronto police officers, Roberts files a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal 1:42

A man who says he was beaten after being stopped and questioned by two Toronto police officers has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal.

Rohan Roberts, who lives in the Jane Street and Finch Avenue-area in the city's northwest, alleges racial profiling was the reason he was stopped on December 16, 2014 by the two constables.

After the situation escalated, Roberts had to be taken to hospital for medical attention and would later face three criminal charges including assaulting and threatening the police officers who he says injured him.

All three charges laid against Roberts were withdrawn on April 28, 2015. 

"I know I didn't do it. I would never threaten a police. I never grew up like that," Roberts told CBC News at his lawyer's officer on Thursday.

Roberts said he still remembers thinking "this can't be real" as the officers punched him.

Toronto police did not respond to CBC News requests for comment on this story on Thursday evening.

Roberts's lawyer, Selwyn Pieters, said it's a case of carding that turned violent. He says the incident humiliated and victimized Roberts, who is seeking $100,000 in damages.

Police questioning led to incident

The incident took place around 1:30 a.m., as Roberts, a 41-year-old who works in shipping and receiving, left his apartment complex at 5 Needle Firway to head to a friend's birthday party.

Roberts says he was approached by the officers, who were in a police cruiser. The officers asked Roberts for his identification and questioned him about whether he had any marijuana with him or if he had been smoking. Roberts had not been using drugs or alcohol.

After running his name, the officers returned Roberts's identification and allowed him to leave.

The incident took place at 5 Needle Firway, an apartment complex near Jane and Finch. (Google)
But when he was leaving, Roberts — who had been stopped several times before — told the officers "you guys always like to harass people."

One of the officers asked Roberts what he'd said, and asked if Roberts had threatened to "shoot you pussies?"

Roberts said he made no such threat.

Roberts was rushed by the officers, handcuffed and dragged to a grassy area where he says he was punched in the head multiple times.

He says he thinks the officers stopped after someone in a nearby apartment building took a flash photo. Someone else in the area raced off to alert Roberts's mother, who lives with him.

The officers then put Roberts in a cruiser, where, en route to the hospital, Roberts alleges he was injured again. He said the officer asked him if he thought what had happened was racist, and when he said yes, the officer slammed on the brakes, throwing Roberts into the cruiser's partition.

Lawyer hope tribunal will weigh in on carding issue

Pieters called what happened to Roberts "an abuse of our criminal justice system," and said what happened is directly related to his client's race.

He also pointed out the officers were involved in another controversial incident where a black youth was taken to the ground while after being stopped.

Pieters wants to see the officers punished for what happened — if the human rights tribunal sides with Roberts, the two officers would be responsible for paying the $100,000, not the police force.

But Pieters is also hoping this case will help stop the controversial practice of carding.

"We have to take a stand against carding," he said.

The human rights complaint also names Toronto's police services board, current police Chief Mark Saunders and former police Chief Bill Blair. 


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