The head of the Ottawa Police Association said he believes an appeal in warranted after a cop was found guilty this week of excessive force for kneeing a teenager in the head and back.
It dates back to an arrest May 10, 2009 when plain-clothes Const. Kevin Jacobs, in an unmarked cruiser, spotted 18 year-old Mark Krupa going 160 km per hour on Hwy. 417.
The young man claims he wasn’t convinced Jacobs was a cop and fled.
Krupa was eventually pulled over by a uniformed officer in a cruiser, and Jacobs joined the scene where he claims to have found Krupa resisting being handcuffed by two officers.
Jacobs delivered a knee strike before taking him to the ground.
Part of the reason Jacobs was found to have used excessive force by Supt. Jill Skinner at a Police Service Act hearing Wednesday was due to Krupa’s size — he was only 150 pounds at the time.
But, OPA president Matt Skof said cops are trained to never underestimate suspects.
“Assuming that someone’s weight is an indicator of one’s abilities is very dangerous in policing,” he said. “Most of us will have several stories about arresting that wiry guy who took several officers to get under control.”
Skof did this once himself — which led to several minutes of struggling, and having to call in back-up just to get handcuffs on the person.
“Underestimating those wiry guys is a classic mistake, made by officers early in their career. Kevin Jacobs is an experienced officer.”
He said there is nothing unusual about knee strikes, or one being delivered by the third officer to an arrest.
“They are part of our training,” he said. “This decision could have an effect on our use of force policy.”
Skof said no arrest is choreographed and cops like Jacobs have to make split-second decisions on the proper amount of force required to bring someone under control.
“I believe this was within the parameters,” he said. “He made a critical analysis and decided to assist.”
Krupa, in a civil suit filed in Ottawa court, is seeking $375,000 in damages, while his mother, Danuta, is claiming $100,000 in damages.
He claims to have suffered a black eye, extensive abrasions to his face and head, sprains and bruising of his chest, shoulder and wrists as well as mental distress.
Krupa was charged with racing and failing to stop for police. His licence was suspended and car impounded for a week. Those charges were later dropped and Krupa was given a speeding ticket.