Cell phone footage showing a man's altercation with police helped clear him of all assault charges, even though the phone 'mysteriously' disappeared after he was booked.
With front-page news filled with stories about police shootings and misconduct, more and more citizens are recording their encounters with police officers. That’s exactly what Abdi Sheik-Qasim did when he was arrested in 2014.
The Toronto Star reports that Sheik-Osaim was at his uncle’s house in Ontario when police arrived due to a noise complaint that the music was too loud. After Sheik-Osaim lowered the music without hesitation, the police then entered the apartment. Since they did not have a warrant, Sheik-Osaim decided to record the interaction on his cell phone. He was then arrested for assaulting a police officer.
When he was released, he realized his phone was not returned. Luckily for him, he arrived home to find that the video (which can be seen here) had been emailed to him. He had a setting on his phone that automatically uploaded photos and videos to his email.
When the case went to trial, police claimed that Sheik-Osaim had reached for an officer’s belt. But the footaged proved otherwise, showing that it was Sheik-Osaim that had been struck by Officer Piara Dhaliwa.
“I believe that Officer Dhaliwal’s action amounted to an assault against the accused,” Ontario Court Justice Edward Kelly said in his decision, acquitting Sheik-Qasim of all charges.
Justice Kelly did not rule that police deliberately took the cell phone to withhold evidence, but he commented on the fact that it could very well have been done intentionaly.
“The absence of the phone is extremely troubling when considered in light of the testimony of the officers, which I regard to be deliberately misleading,” Kelly said.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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