Toronto Police Sued for $2.4 million for Repeatedly Tasering UofT Student While Subdued

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A student from the University of Toronto is suing Toronto police for $2.4 million for tasering him repeatedly. The incident took place in August of 2021 and the victim was then 27-year-old Hasani O’Gilvie. As per the police, this was a case of “mistaken identity” and as of now, the victim’s allegations have not been proved in court.

On August 12, 2021, was about to get on a bus to the university’s downtown campus from a North York plaza when he noticed a police cruiser following him. As he “feared for his safety” he snuck into a walkway between a No Frills and another building nearby. Sgt. Rachel Saliba followed O’Gilvie in her car and then exited the vehicle to confront him. The victim provided the officer with his full name, but she did not believe him. Const. Jilliane Baquiran then showed up and as per the claim, was “physically detained” and attempted to arrest O’Gilvie “under threat of Taser” while the victim “assured them that he had not done anything and put his hands up and in front of him to show he was complying.”

A third officer, Const. Seth Rietkoetter, then showed up and “immediately tackled” O’Gilvie. According to the claim, “As the three Defendant officers piled on Mr. Ogilvie, the Defendant Constable Rietkoetter placed his knee and leg on Mr. Ogilvie’s neck.” The victim also mentioned that he was repeatedly tasered while “subdued, not resisting, on the ground, and restraints being applied.”

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The officers, after successfully detaining him, unlawfully went through his bag and found identification that confirmed he was not the man they were looking for. The officers apologized and O’Gilvie fled to safety as he was not the young Black man they suspected. The entire incident was captured on the officer’s bodycams but the allegations have not been proven in court yet. The hearing is scheduled for February 2024.

While the physical injuries sustained by O’Gilvie are not as severe, the psychological damage has been much worse, lawyer David Shellnutt said. As per the lawsuit, ever since the incident, the victim has had nightmares and flashbacks that have left him with insomnia, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.

Toronto police and three officers involved are being sued for $2.4 million. The family of the victim has asked for $50,000 per Charter violation, as well as $250,000 in damages under the Family Law Act.

Vineet Washington

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