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‘Good Samaritan’ from Orillia acquitted; continues to fight for justice
In a case even the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) calls rare, a judge had some harsh words for an OPP Sergeant who claimed that he had been assaulted by an Orillia woman – charges that have been thrown out.
Tonie Farrell, 48, continues to limp her way around with a cane after two surgeries after a violent incident involving an OPP officer in 2013.
On April 2, 2013, Farrell, a mother of six and a grandmother of two, witnessed an assault between two young guys and one young girl in downtown Orillia. Moments later police arrived and Farrell says she tried to give Sergeant Russell Watson a description of the suspects.
“He told me to shut the f*** up and I stepped back and I asked is that the way you talk to people? I said what’s your name? Badge number? And I step to the write it and as I did he kicked me a karate kick to my leg,” says Farrell. “And he kept pounding on me, I was on the ground with my arms underneath me and he was on my back and he was pounding my head into the cement.”
Farrell was taken to hospital. She had a broken tibia and a crushed knee. Farrell was charged with assaulting a peace officer and obstruction.
The SIU looked into the incident but says it found no reasonable grounds to lay any charges against the officer. Sergeant Watson was interviewed by the SIU but did not provide a copy of his notes.
Earlier this week Farrell was found not guilty on both charges. In handing down his sentence, Justice George Beatty said Sergeant Watson was not injured while Farrell’s injures were catastrophic.
“We would really hope the SIU now with Justice Beatty’s ruling would take another look at the investigation would reopen it or initiate, to be frank, and consider whether he should be charged in our opinion he should be,” says defence lawyer Angela McLeod.
On Thursday, the SIU told CTV News "In light of the recent court findings, the SIU will be reviewing Justice Beatty’s decision."
“I believe if I had done that to someone I’d be in jail and I think that he should at least have to stand-up to the same thing if anyone else did that to someone,” says Farrell.
CTV News asked the OPP if the force or Sergeant Watson would answer questions about the case and was told no. Police would also not say if Sergeant Watson had been assigned to administrative duties after the incident.
Farrell says she plans on moving forward with a civil suit against the police officer and she is still hopeful the officer will be charged.