Friday, June 5, 2009

More complainants come forward in case against OPP officer charged with using false evidence to issue tickets

LEAP reported earlier this week that Ontario Provincial Police officer Sergeant Dennis Mahoney-Bruer had been charged with three counts of breach of trust and one count of attempting to obstruct justice, after he allegedly falsely charged three drivers with speeding in the past month. Since the Toronto Star reported the story, other complainants have come forward.

This morning, the Star reported that Farzooq Sayed was pulled over by Mahoney-Bruer last Halloween and was ticketed for driving 156 km/hr. Sayed agrees that he was speeding, but alleges that he was not going as fast as 156 km/hr. Sayed recalls: “[t]he police officer came up to my window and the first thing he asked me was, ‘[w]hose car is this?’” Sayed is a 23-year-old racialized man, a student at Centennial College, and drives a Porsche Carrera 4S.

Ismet Breznica, another alleged victim of Mahoney-Bruer’s alleged arbitrary ticketing, was informed earlier this week that the two charges laid against him have now been stayed. Breznica reports that when he inquired with Mahoney-Bruer as to why he was being pulled over, the officer responded by saying “[t]oday I’m only picking white cars.” Breznica was driving a white 2008 Mercedes-Benz. In the Star this morning, Breznica is quoted saying “[s]ometimes it makes me wonder if I want to live my whole life in this country. Don’t treat me like a criminal. I’m not a criminal…”

According to the Star, since Mahoney-Bruer’s charges were reported last week, as many as 250 provincial charges laid by him are now under review. One of the most integral questions to be asked will be why Mahoney-Bruer was doing this, if it is found that he was. Did the race of the drivers play a role? After Sayed’s report it is now clear that at least one complainant is racialized. Is this the case for all of the alleged false arrests? As more people come forward, this information may be unveiled. In the meantime, LEAP hopes that the OPP will consider the role that race may have played during their investigation.

Posted by Ashley Paterson (Law II) (LEAP Summer Intern)

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