Ex-Calgary police officer who body-slammed handcuffed suspect sentenced to 90 days in jail
A former Calgary police officer who body-slammed a handcuffed suspect behind an arrest processing unit more than six years ago has been sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Const. Trevor Lindsay was convicted in a May 25, 2015 aggravated assault against Daniel Haworth, who suffered a fractured skull and brain injury while handcuffed and thrown to the ground headfirst by the officer.
Justice Michael Lema told the court in his ruling Friday that Lindsay was in a position of trust as a police officer, and should not have used significant force.
He added, however, that Lindsay’s aggravated assault had no premeditation and was a result of poor judgement.
“I find that a term of incarceration is warranted to express the court’s denunciation of Mr. Lindsay’s excessive reaction here, which caused a major injury with significant after effect,” Lema said.
“This is also to send a message to others in comparable positions that quickly disproportionate uses of force are unacceptable, with offenders to be called to account.”
Court heard that Lindsay’s reasoning for using force was to prevent Haworth from spitting blood at him, but Justice Lema noted the suspect posed no threat as he was handcuffed at the time.
“He was justified using some limited force, to prevent any risk of contact with blood. The uses of force were reactive, albeit disproportionate, in other words, they were not premeditated and use of force was aimed at protecting not only himself, but also his close-at-hand police department.”
Lindsay’s sentence of 90 days can be served intermittently and comes with a one-year probationary period with terms still to be determined.
The former constable resigned from the Calgary Police Service last September, and letters of good character were presented in court on behalf of the ex-officer by defence lawyer Don MacLeod.
MacLeod also pointed to a psychological assessment of Lindsay that said any time behind bars would be considered harsh for Lindsay, who currently lives with a missing partial limb.
Crown prosecutor John Baharustani suggests those letters presented in court don’t lessen the severity of the crime and Lindsay’s assault should have warranted a jail term of two to three years.
He also noted that Lindsay was in a position of trust over Haworth during the body-slamming incident because of his job as a police officer.
Court heard that Haworth suffered a significant brain injury resulting in a brain bleed. He died months later of a drug overdose.
Lindsay is expected to begin serving his sentence on Oct. 29 and details on his one-year probation period are to be signed and set by a judge next week.
The family of Daniel Haworth say a violent arrest led to Daniel's brain damage. (Courtesy: Haworth family)
LINDSAY’S ALLEGEDLY VIOLENT HISTORY
Prosecutor Baharustani also previously noted two other violent incidents Lindsay was involved in, including a Dec. 28, 2013 encounter with Godfried Addai, a Calgarian who was arrested in Calgary’s East Village area.
Addai, who was 26-years old at the time, had been travelling with friends when their vehicle became stuck in the snow in the southeast community of Ramsay.
An officer spotted the stuck vehicle, and, according to the officer’s statement, encountered an aggressive Adai. The 26-year-old was handcuffed, placed in a police van and driven to the East Village where, according to Addai, he was left to face the bitter cold.
Addai called 911 for help and Lindsay was dispatched to the East Village.
In court documents, Lindsay claimed he felt threatened by a swearing, aggressive Addai and he responded by pushing Addai to the ground.
Addai says he attempted to run away, but his effort was halted when Lindsay discharged a stun gun.
Surveillance video gathered from a HAWCS aerial unit appeared to show Lindsay punching, kneeing and dragging Addai.
Baharustani additionally referenced a 2016 incident where Lindsay admitted to breaking the phone of a homeless man.
"What we have here is a problematic pattern of behaviour that can lead to no other inference than Mr. Lindsay is a bad character in at least some situations,” the prosecutor told Justice Michael Lema.
- With files from CTV's Ryan White
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