Toronto cop guilty of hitting Somali man
Date: Friday, July 29 @ 04:54:22 MST
Topic: Black Habits Articles
A videotape made by some tourists has helped convict a Toronto police officer of assaulting a Somali man while arresting him two years ago.
After a judge in Brampton handed down the guilty verdict Thursday, Jama Said Jama told reporters he was glad someone finally believed he was telling the truth about what happened on Aug. 4, 2003.
"If I didn't have the video, then things would be in a different situation," he said. "I'm pretty pleased right now."
All along, Jama has insisted that Preston assaulted him in the parking lot of a coffee shop near Albion Road and Highway 27.
Police officers had shown up in response to a call about a fight after a late-night party. Jama has always said he was trying to break up the fight when the officers arrived and waded into the fray.
Jama ended up with a cut and bruised face, and lost a tooth.
At first, police charged the 21-year-old landed immigrant with assaulting an officer, and said he had sustained the injuries before his brush with the police.
That charge was dropped, and Preston was charged instead, when a videotape of the confrontation taken by tourists from Ottawa surfaced. It showed an officer shoving Jama to the pavement and punching him in the head, though he did not appear to be offering any resistance or acting aggressively.
In handing down his verdict, Superior Court Justice Peter Wilkie said the videotape evidence completely contradicted Preston's version of events. He said the officer was prepared to withhold information and misstate the facts in an attempt to draw attention away from himself.
Jama couldn't get into the courtroom to watch the verdict being handed down because it was full of police officers there to support their colleague. He listened to the proceedings in the hallway outside.
Last updated Jul 28 2005 11:11 AM EDT