Two Abbotsford Police officers testified Wednesday in Abbotsford provincial court that they saw a senior officer put his foot on the face of a suspect who had been detained in September 2009.
The two were speaking at the trial of Const. Doug Lemna, a 20-year member of the Abbotsford Police Department who was charged with assault in relation to the incident.
Consts. Rene Hansen and Eddie Gilmartin each testified that they saw Lemna – who was an acting sergeant at the time – place the toes of his boot on the face of suspect Daveen Disbrow while she was cuffed and lying face-down on the ground.
Hansen also said she saw Lemna’s foot make contact with Disbrow’s teeth, while Gilmartin said the contact was to her mouth or nose.
Both were asked to demonstrate the movements in court and, under questioning by defence lawyer David Butcher, agreed that the force used was “very, very minimal.”
Hansen and Gilmartin each testified that they did not notice any injuries to Disbrow’s face before she was released and they did not have paramedics on scene tend to her.
When Disbrow took the stand, she said she had felt “pressure” on her head at one point that might have been a shoe or a foot, but she did not recall who was responsible.
She said the only soreness she experienced after the incident was to her back. She did not file any complaints and did not become involved until she was tracked down by police to make a statement in July 2010.
The incident occurred at about 4 a.m. on Sept. 2, 2009. Disbrow testified that she and her 16-year-old son had ridden their bicycles to a home on Jasper Court.
Disbrow’s home on Hopedale Crescent had been the scene of the murder of Paul Dennis – also know as Paulie Pockets – on Aug. 28, and they believed the occupants of the Jasper Court home were involved.
(Michael Allan Froese last August pleaded guilty to the stabbing death and was sentenced to four years for manslaughter.)
Disbrow said the two yelled at the residents, and her son threw something through a window, smashing it. They then rode away from the scene.
Abbotsford Police received a report of mischief in the area, and three police cars were deployed. They caught up with Disbrow and her son as they were riding through the parking lot of the Abbotsford provincial courthouse, located at the corner of South Fraser Way and Trethewey Street.
Disbrow testified that she jumped off her bicycle and ran toward her son after he was knocked off his bike by one of the patrol cars. Hansen first tried to get her under control, and was then aided by Gilmartin.
The two forced her to the ground, where she was cuffed. Hansen was controlling the upper part of Disbrow’s body, while Gilmartin was sitting across her legs.
The two officers testified that Disbrow was yelling and screaming. It was then that Lemna, who had been dealing with Disbrow’s son until then, walked up to her, made contact with her face, and told her to be quiet, the two said. Disbrow then calmed down.
Paramedics were called to check on her son, and the two were released with fines for cycling infractions.
Hansen, who had been an officer for about 18 months at the time of the incident, said she told two other officers on the scene about what she had witnessed.
” … I was so junior and I hadn’t encountered an incident similar to this before,” she said.
Hansen said she was then approached at headquarters about the circumstances shortly before ending her shift. Further details were not revealed in court, but an internal investigation led to Lemna being charged with assault in February 2010.
The trial continues today.