Judge rules conduct of Winnipeg police officers was 'malicious' and 'high-handed' in responding to disturbance complaint
A judge has awarded a family nearly $100,000 in damages after ruling four Winnipeg police officers responding to a disturbance complaint more than four years ago unlawfully entered a family’s hotel room and breached their charter rights.
The written decision was released Monday by Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Jeff Harris.
It comes following a civil suit launched by Ola Beaulieu, Andrew Beaulieu, Kyra Beaulieu and Kyuss Beaulieu against the City of Winnipeg and one Winnipeg Police Service officer.
“The conduct of WPS officers ‘departs markedly from ordinary standards of decency.’ The WPS officers entered the plaintiffs’ hotel room without lawful reason and, with that knowledge, “back-filled” a story both in the Report and before this court in an attempt to justify their egregious conduct,” Harris concluded. “Once in the room, their conduct was malicious and high-handed.”
“It offends the court’s sense of decency and must be deterred and punished.”
The decision states on Dec. 26, 2014 Ola and Andrew took their children Kyra and Kyuss and a friend to the Clarion Hotel in Winnipeg as a late Christmas gift. That night, Winnipeg police responded to the hotel after a call came from hotel management advising a man was knocking on doors to rooms on the second floor and causing a disturbance.
The decision states four officers responded and went to the Beaulieu’s room and entered without having a warrant to do so.
Once in the room, the decision states a number of physical altercations occurred between the Beaulieus and police.
In his ruling Justice Harris determined Ola, Andrew and Kyra were unlawfully detained.
Kyra claimed an officer took her cell phone and pushed her into a table.
“Contact with her is not contact that is generally accepted or expected in the ordinary course of life,” Harris wrote. “Both contacts were offensive.”
“I conclude that Kyra has made her case in battery.”
Harris also ruled the force used by officers on Ola and Andrew was “offensive” and “far outside” what can be expected in the ordinary course of life.
As a result of a punch, Ola suffered a soft tissue injury which bled and a laceration to her upper lip for which she received a suture. Ola suffered chip fracture to her nose and says she continues to experience pain when her nose is rubbed or pressed on and pain in the bridge of her nose pretty much daily.
Andrew suffered extensive bruising, a blackened right eye and a scalp injury – some as a result of WPS attempts to restrain him, the decision states.
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba said in a news release Friday it’s “investigating allegations against several members of the Winnipeg Police Service” following the decision.
The IIU said it was notified by the WPS about the circumstances on Thursday.
The Winnipeg Police Service said the city of Winnipeg is currently reviewing the decision and considering its options.
Police said one of the officers involved has retired, the rest remain employed with the Winnipeg Police Service.