Ottawa Police Sgt. Steven Desjourdy leaves the Ottawa court house in Ottawa Monday Sept 24, 2012.
Credits: Tony Caldwell/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency
The woman, who'd been arrested for public intoxication, was belligerent, spitting as she yelled and assaulted a female colleague, Special Const. Michael Bednarek testified.
But she never said she was going to harm herself.
"I don't think she came out and said to me she was going to hang herself then and there," Bednarek said. "I don't recall that."
Desjourdy has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault in the September 2008 incident in the cellblock at the Ottawa police station.
The Crown called cutting off the woman's clothes, then leaving her topless in urine-soaked pants, an act of sexual humiliation. He argued it was payback, but predicted the defence would say it was done for her safety.
In a cellblock video shown in court, Desjourdy cuts the woman's shirt and bra while she's pinned face-down on the floor.
A group of officers grounds her after she appears to resist a search and deliver a mule kick to a special constable.
Officers then take her to a cell, removing her shirt and bra before placing her inside.
Bednarek said he didn't challenge his superior, believing the sergeant might know something he didn't.
"You believe in your leadership," he testified. "It's a paramilitary operation."
The bra and top were removed as she entered a cell because it's dangerous to allow anyone - male or female - to have loose material, Bednarek said.
"We made sure she was facing forward with her back toward us so we couldn't see her breasts," he said.
It was ultimately Desjourdy's decision when the woman got a "blue suit," Bednarek said. It was more than three hours later, despite a policy that prisoners get disposable clothing when they're believed to be suicidal or when they soil themselves.
However, Bednarek demonstrated for defence lawyer Michael Edelson how the jumpsuit can be rolled up and used as a rope.
The Crown had taken Bednarek through police policies, including that same-gender officers search prisoners except in emergencies and that "inherently humiliating and degrading" strip searches can only be done for good reason.
Edelson took Bednarek through a laundry list of dangers in the understaffed cellblock.
Bednarek had to pepper-spray one inmate preparing to lob a cup of feces at him. Another - who had tuberculosis - spat in his face, leaving him unable to kiss his family for six months.
Other cellblock officers have had an ear bitten off, been pricked with a hypodermic - requiring months of anti-HIV drugs - and turned up a knife and a loaded handgun.
"You just never know what's going to happen," Bednarek said.
The trial continues.