WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA – CBC News has obtained video that shows a Windsor, Ont., police officer beating a doctor who is legally blind.
Det. David Van Buskirk, who attacked Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan on April 22, 2010, pleaded guilty Thursday to assault causing bodily harm.
Video cameras at the Jackson Park Health Centre captured the beating, although much of the physical altercation is slightly out of frame. Afterwards, Van Buskirk wrote in his report that the doctor “”immediately reached out and grabbed my throat and pushed me backward.”
In pleading guilty, Van Buskirk admitted that Abouhassan “did not strike him at all.” He also confirmed that all of the doctor’s reaction “was in lawful resistance to being assaulted by the accused.”
David Van Buskirk has pleaded guilty to assault.David Van Buskirk has pleaded guilty to assault. (CBC News)
Julian Falconer, the lawyer representing Abouhassan, told CBC News that “in the face of denials by this officer and allegations that my client attacked, I think it’s essential that the public see this.”
Abouhassan, who is legally blind, suffered a broken nose, bruised ribs, a torn eyelid and detached retina in the beating.
Adding insult to injury, he was subsequently charged with assaulting a peace officer following the initial investigation by Windsor police, including Det.-Sgts. Paul Bridgeman and Patrick Keane.
Bridgeman watched the video between eight and 10 times before endorsing assault charges against Abouhassan, according to the office of the independent review director.
Both Bridgeman and Keane were charged with discreditable conduct for trying to prevent Abouhassan from filing criminal charges against Van Buskirk. Both were later exonerated.
Falconer said this case is the poster child for the failure of the police disciplinary hearings and a huge embarrassment for Windsor police.
“This was a vicious beating of an innocent doctor-turned-cover-up-turned-conspiracy, pure and simple. And our discipline apparatus couldn’t do a thing about it,” Falconer said.
Abouhassan has filed a lawsuit seeking more that $14 million in damages from the Windsor Police Department, seven of its officers and Smith, the former chief.
Van Buskirk is due to be sentenced on the assault charge Wednesday. Acting police chief Al Frederick has reserved comment until then.