Two Ottawa police patrol officers have been charged after a busker claims he was roughed up for no reason while performing downtown last fall.
Const. Pat S. Lafreniere, 39, and Const. Kirk Batson are alleged to have unlawfully arrested Denis Seguin, with unecessary force, along Rideau St. on Sept. 1, 2013.
Lafreniere and Batson are each charged with two counts of unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority.
There are two Pat Lafrenieres at Ottawa police, who would not disclose an age to further help distinguish between the two.
Sources told the Sun the Lafreniere charged is 39, the younger of the pair.
The arrest was for the offence of “failing to leave when directed,” according to the notice of disciplinary hearing.
Seguin, a longtime busker, told the Sun at the time that he was “tackled” by one officer and handcuffed before being written a ticket and set free.
He said he was playing an acoustic guitar and singing when officers told him to stop and asked for identification.
“There was one cop that put these black leather gloves on and tackles me,” Seguin told the Sun in the days after his arrest.
“He kept forcing my face down on the pavement and forcing the handcuffs on me.”
Seguin has long busked in the same area on Rideau St., near the Bay. He had a busking licence at the time he spoke to the Sun.
But licence or not, busking is not allowed along Rideau St. He was issued a $386 fine.
He said the ordeal left him with bruises, scraped wrists and a cut over his eye. He filed a complaint against Ottawa police.
It is not the first time Batson has been accused of abusing his authority.
A Police Services Act proceeding is ongoing against Batson, who was charged with two counts of unlawful exercise of authority, in connection with a Nov. 2010 incident with a Polish man who claims it forever altered his trust of police.
The man in that case alleged he suffered facial cuts and chipped teeth from his interaction with Batson. The man recounted that police told him at the time they mistakenly thought he was a thief.
Lafreniere and Batson made a first appearance at the PSA proceeding on Tuesday, with a teleconference slated for mid-April.
Both officers remain on patrol.