Michael Larocque claims he suffered abuse while in an Ottawa police cellblock.
Credits: FILE PHOTO
Michael Larocque is suing the Ottawa Police Services Board for $700,000, alleging his Charter rights were violated.
One of the officers who appears in the lawsuit, Const. Thanh Tran, already faces an assault causing bodily charge for allegedly beating up a homeless man.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Larocque, by his own admission, is no saint.
He'd head-butted his girlfriend in the wee hours of Sept. 12, 2010, and when police tracked him down, they knew he was armed with a knife.
But Larocque was content to come quietly and showed police the sheathed blade when asked to do so.
Without warning, he was allegedly "violently grounded."
"Give me one reason to put one in you," an unnamed cop sneered, according to Larocque.
In the cellblocks an hour later, Tran and Special Constables Mark Johnson and Sebastien Castonguay prepared to take him to a cell.
What happened next was captured on cellblock video, the statement of claim says.
An officer shoves Larocque, hard enough to push him off balance. One allegedly puts Larocque in a chokehold, then deals him an upper-cut to the face.
The claim alleges they drag Larocque into a cell out of sight of the camera, still in a chokehold.
Fifteen seconds later, they're all back in the hallway -- except for Larocque, who said he passed out, gasping for air and from the pain of being kicked and punched as he huddled in the fetal position.
Before the alleged attack, the cellblock footage showed no trace of violence on Larocque's face -- but when he was led away for mug shots two hours later, his right eye had swollen completely shut.
Tran's notes say Larocque banged his head on the police cruiser shortly after his arrest, something Larocque denies.
At his criminal trial, Larocque had asked the judge to stay his charges in light of the alleged abuse. But he could not get bail and, faced with the prospect of months of delay, he pleaded guilty to simple assault.
He got a 90-day intermittent sentence in May and prosecutors dropped the other charges, including a count of resisting police.
Tran will next appear in court on Sept. 18; it's alleged he and Const. Colin Bowie attacked Hugh Styres, unprovoked, in August 2011.