Police Testimony: Pure Fiction
Untruthful. Inconsistent and inaccurate. Lie. Deliberately mislead. Fabricate. Evasive. Absurd. Disturbing. Deliberate state misconduct.
These are some of the words judges in Canada use to describe police evidence and testimony.
According to Toronto Star reporters, Jesse McLean and David Bruser, police officers, particularly in the province of Ontario, have been accused of outright lying by the judges they give testimony to in a court of law. Furthermore, this dishonesty leads to little consequence to the officers involved.
No law or policy exists requiring a prosecutor or police force to investigate or discipline an officer found to be deliberately lying in court. Result. Few police officers giving deliberately misleading, untruthful, fabricated, absurd, inconsistent and inaccurate, disturbing testimony – deliberate state misconduct – are reported by judges or even brought to the attention of police chiefs to be disciplined and the deceitful officers go on to serve and protect us.
Who are the police officers serving and protecting? Some may assume that police lies may be necessary to catch ‘the bad guys’. Some may assume, if this is true, who cares about a few lies along the way, in the name of true justice. Consider this. Judges catching police officers giving deceitful testimony to support their claims in a court of law, then allow the alleged law-breaker absolution – freedom from discipline or consequence.
Toronto Star reporters, Jesse McLean and David Bruser, report that Niagara Regional Police officers stood roadside, watching as Michael Parsons, a local man with a history of run-ins with the police hollered and taunted Officer Todd Pridle as Parsons allegedly leaned out the window of the SUV he was riding in as it passed Niagara Region officers. Police officers properly stopped the SUV for Parsons hanging out the window.
In a civil trial in 2009, details emerged of what followed, after Niagara Regional Police properly stopped Parsons.
Parsons testified: One of the officers pulled him from the Jeep and held him with an arm around his throat, another behind his head and a knee in his back in a roadside ditch. He then felt the pain of shocks in his scrotum while he screamed and bucked. Parsons estimates being tasered 10 to 15 times.
Officer Michael Woodfine and Officer James Tallevi testified: Parsons came out of the vehicle “animated and angry”, confronted Officer Tallevi standing in a boxer’s “bladed” stance and holding an unknown object in his hand, grappled with Officer Tallevi, pushed him down in a ditch, straddled him and started throwing punches. Officer Woodfine testified that he tasered Parsons three times to protect his fellow officer. Officers testified that Parsons was not tasered after he was cuffed and charged by Tallevi with assaulting police and resisting arrest.
The taser, which records the exact number of times it is fired and for how long was noted by the judge as not being submitted as evidence.
The two officers testimony was shown to be inaccurate when a third officer testifies.
Officer Dino Cirillo testified: in the moments before the struggle began, Parsons had his hands up, a cellphone visible in one of them, when officer Tallevi “immediately” went toward Parsons and put his arm around his throat before tumbling in the ditch.
Judge Harris wrote in his ruling, “None of the police officers was threatened by him, nor were any of them in danger from him. It was in fact, Parsons who was in danger from them.” And, police conduct was “troubling and offensive.”
None of the officers faced an internal disciplinary investigation into the assault, false arrest, false prosecution or courtroom conduct found by the civil court. The Niagara Regional Police force said the officers underwent ethics training.
It is the position of the Black Action Defence Committee and the Never Again! Coalition, that changes to the law must be in effect to alter the presence of misleading, inaccurate or deceitful police officer testimony. Police officers must be held to the same level of accountability under the law as the ordinary civilian and disciplinary measures must be enforced under the law to raise the credibility of all police officers to a standard that is set for all citizens. Police officers must not be regarded as above the law, particularly in instances of fabricated and deceitful testimony and evidence.
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