Canada

Videotaped punch brings assault conviction for constable

A Toronto police officer who was caught on videotape punching a Somali immigrant during an arrest has been found guilty of assault.

A Toronto police officer who was caught on videotape as he punched a Somali immigrant during an arrest in 2003 has been found guilty of assault. He is to be sentenced on Friday.

Const. Roy Preston was charged after Jama Said Jama complained that he was beaten by police at the scene of a fight in a northwest Toronto coffee shop parking lot. The 21-year-old landed immigrant said he had been trying to break up the fight.

Jama fled after being punched in the face. He was arrested a short distance away and charged with assaulting police and causing a disturbance. He could have been jailed and deported had he been convicted.

Police at first said he had been injured in another incident before he was arrested. The charges against him were dropped, and Preston was charged instead, after a videotape of the confrontation taken by tourists from Ottawa surfaced.

It showed an officer punching Jama, who did not appear to be resisting.

In finding Preston guilty in a Brampton court on Thursday, the judge said the videotape evidence completely contradicted his account of the incident.