NEWS
03/27/2017 19:37 EDT | Updated 03/28/2018 01:12 EDT

Ottawa constable on administrative duty after judge ruled teen's charter rights violated

An Ottawa police constable who punched a teen twice in the head when he was in handcuffs and violated his constitutional rights during an arrest was placed on administrative duty Monday, Chief Charles Bordeleau said. 

Bordeleau told Monday's police services board meeting that he has initiated a "chief's complaint" following an Ontario court of justice ruling last week that both called Const. Nikolas Boldirev's credibility into question and said his 2015 arrest of Mohamed Hamed was unlawful. 

"The chief's complaint will look at any criminal elements, any criminal act being committed, and also we'll look at any conduct issues under the Police Services Act," the chief told reporters at the meeting. 

  • Police officer who punched handcuffed teen violated Canadian charter, judge rules

In the early morning hours of Aug. 31, 2015, Boldirev pulled Hamed over for an apparent failure to signal during a lane change at the intersection of Baseline Road and Woodroffe Avenue. 

Boldirev testified at Hamed's trial that after he asked for the teen's license, he could smell marijuana and saw flakes of the drug on the floor.

Hamed, then 19, resisted as he was being put into the police cruiser, according Justice Julie Bourgeois' decision. 

That's when Boldirev delivered two "distractionary strikes" that Bourgeois ruled displayed excessive force, calling them "completely contrary to the principles of proportionality, necessity and reasonableness" as the chances of Hamed fleeing from cruiser were extremely small.

The officer searched the teen's car and found marijuana in a backpack and counterfeit money in his wallet. 

He was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of counterfeit money, and resisting arrest, but Justice Julie Bourgeois acquitted Hamed of all charges after ruling several of his charter rights were breached by the arresting officer. 

Teen lucky he wasn't seriously injured, judge said

She ruled the arrest was unlawful, as was the search of his vehicle. Hamed's rights were further violated when he wasn't told why he was being arrested and wasn't allowed to talk to a lawyer until well after he was handcuffed and searched.

"That Mr. Hamed was not seriously injured seems to be pure luck," wrote Bourgeois in her decision.

"But that the officer did not even inquire if he required medical attention after testifying that he administered these two punches to the head or facial area with full force, 10 out of 10 on the scale of force, is mind-boggling."

Leo Russomanno, Hamed's lawyer, told CBC News he didn't want to speculate on whether what happened to his client in Boldirev's police cruiser that day warranted criminal charges, but he did note the blows were "very clearly an excessive use of force."

Russomanno said Monday he was happy that Bordeleau had announced a review of the arrest.

"My client's just relieved that he was vindicated and his ordeal is over," Russomanno said.

"This was a long process for him ... he felt like he was basically worthless from that interaction. He was actually quite scared about what might happen to him."

In an email to CBC over the weekend, Bordeleau said it's important to put any case into context.

"Our members are professional and take pride in their work, including those working the frontline and in our investigative units. They successfully take cases to trial and have been credited for excellent work by many, including the judiciary," the statement read.