An Alberta sheriff has launched a $4-million lawsuit against a woman who was convicted of assaulting him during a traffic stop two years ago.
In his statement of claim, Sgt. Robert Behiels alleges he has suffered a damaged reputation and loss of income and has been the victim of ridicule since he stopped Simona Tibu for speeding near Camrose in 2013.
Once removed from the car, Tibu struggled with the officer, screamed for help and tried to get away. The incident was captured on Behiels's dashcam.
Tibu, a dentist in Camrose, was convicted in April of assaulting a peace officer and resisting arrest. Earlier this week, she was given a one-year suspended sentence and was ordered to have no contact with Behiels or to come within 10 feet of his home.
Behiels's lawsuit accuses Tibu of defamation, alleging she falsely accused him of physical and sexual assault both in a complaint to the Law Enforcement and Oversight Branch of Alberta's Justice Ministry and in interviews with media organizations.
The lawsuit alleges that Tibu posted on Facebook under another name, writing that the officer attacked her because she spoke with a heavy accent and he thought she was an immigrant.
The lawsuit also alleges that Tibu made numerous visits to Behiels's workplace and repeated her accusations in front of coworkers.
None of the claims in the lawsuit have been tested in court, and Tibu has not yet filed a statement of defence.
'High-handed, callous and arrogant' behaviour, lawsuit claims
According to the lawsuit, Tibu allegedly filed requests for meritless restraining orders in an attempt to harm Behiels's reputation.
The lawsuit also alleges she provided false information that led to the sheriff being charged for assault and sexual assault — charges that were terminated by a judge before the case went to trial.
Behiels claims he suffered "personal embarrassment and humiliation" and had to pay to defend himself in court. As a result of the complaints, he was placed on desk duty and lost both income and potential promotion opportunities, his lawsuit says.
The court action asks for $1 million in punitive damages, calling Tibu's behaviour "malicious, high-handed, callous and arrogant."
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