Calgarian files $1M lawsuit against CPS members over alleged assault
A Calgary man says his dealings with the Calgary Police Service in December 2013 left him with physical and emotional scarring, prompting him to take legal action against those he says are responsible for his condition.
On January 4, 2016, lawyer Tom Engel filed a statement of claim on Godfried Addai’s behalf. The statement names several members of the Calgary Police Service, former chief of police Rick Hanson, and the prosecutors from Addai’s assault of an officer trial among the defendants. The statement requests $1 million in reparations for damages incurred.
According to Addai, on December 28, 2013, he was driving with friends in the community of Ramsay when their car became stuck in the snow during frigid conditions. The then 26-year-old, dressed in a tracksuit and sneakers, exited the vehicle and faced a wind chill nearing -30 Celsius.
Constable Ben Donockley happened to drive by and stopped to help the group of men. Statements from court documents from the assault of an officer trial, which concluded in the spring with Addai’s acquittal, indicate Donockley encountered an aggressive Addai, a claim Addai vehemently denies.
“To my surprise, they just wrestled me to the ground,” Addai told CTV Calgary in a December 2015 interview. “They didn’t read me no rights, nothing, they put handcuffs on me.”
“They put me in the back of the cop van and just started driving.”
Addai says he was dropped off in the East Village, several kilometres from the location of the car, in the freezing cold. The 26-year-old called 9-1-1 looking for help and Constable Trevor Lindsay was dispatched to the call.
In court statements, Lindsay says Addai was swearing and acting aggressively. The CPS member said he felt threatened and pushed Addai to the ground.
Addai says he tried to run but his attempt was halted by the officer’s Taser.
Lindsay called for backup and additional resources, including HAWCS, were deployed. The camera installed on the helicopter captured images of Lindsay purportedly punching, kneeing and dragging Addai.
Following the interaction between Lindsay and Addai, a third CPS member, Constable Tim Curtis, read Addai his rights and arrested him in connection with assaulting a police officer.
The judge in the assault of a police officer trial determined Addai was aggressive and offensive, but not guilty of assault.
Officials with the Calgary Police Service confirm several members have been officially served in connection with the lawsuit but will not offer comment. Addai’s allegations have not been proven in court.
Criminal defence lawyer Tom Engel says the statement of claim was filed to compensate Godfred Addai for the phsyical and mental damages he suffered as well as the liberties while undergoing a wrongful prosecution.
“The only way he could get compensated for that is to sue.”
Engel adds the lawsuit is primarily about money but his client also wants "To deter people who might be inclined to behave like that in the future from doing that again.”