Police sued for ‘gratuitous bullying’ during Greely child porn raid that's turned up nothing

A Greely family is suing Ottawa police for wrongful arrest, assault and false imprisonment after a 2014 child porn raid that so far has failed to turn up any evidence of wrongdoing.


ublished on: May 11, 2015 | Last Updated: May 11, 2015 3:02 PM EDT


Bonnie Seguin was still in her bathrobe when she opened the front door for police.

They weren’t there to say good morning, and the tactical officer leading the charge yelled for her to get on the ground. In terror, she dropped to the floor only to be ordered — at gunpoint — to crawl on her stomach. Then, she says, the unidentified officer kicked her legs apart and stood over her with his assault rifle trained at her head, telling her to stay face down on the floor.

She was then handcuffed, and when she asked why she was being arrested, an Ottawa police officer told her: “You are a f-cking pedophile — you know what the charges are, pervert.”

This account of a Feb. 4, 2014, police raid at the Seguins’ home is contained in the family’s lawsuit against the Ottawa Police Service. In the statement of claim, several family members are alleging assault, unlawful arrest and false imprisonment. None of the allegations has been proven in court, and Ottawa Police Services Board chairman Eli El-Chantiry declined to comment on the case because it’s before the courts.

The tip that sparked the investigation came on May 9, 2013, when Microsoft reported that 89 child porn images had been uploaded from an online hosting site linked to an IP address at a home in Greely. Nine months later, police executed a search warrant at the Seguin residence, home to several people — including tenants in two apartment units.


The Seguin family says police trashed their home — even breaking down doors that were unlocked. Seguin says she gave police the passwords to all the computers seized from the home and told them where they could find the router. None of the computers or electronic devices seized from the home contained any child pornography.

“She was at all times as co-operative as she could be,” the statement of claim says. “Nevertheless, she was handcuffed, assaulted, treated with the utmost disrespect, and, although there was no need to do so, doors were deliberately broken and smashed down, rather than simply opened,” the claim says.

Her treatment at the hands of Ottawa police “amounted to nothing less than gratuitous bullying for whatever perverse motives Officer John Doe may have had,” the lawsuit alleges.

Seguin says the police raid has left her traumatized. She suffers from severe depression, is now tearful much of the time, and any sound or sight that reminds her of the 2014 raid triggers panic, according to the statement of claim.

Seguin was not charged with any crime and was not taken into custody. During her arrest, her bathrobe had opened, and when a handcuffed Seguin asked the unidentified officer to close it, he refused. And when another member of the SWAT team picked up a quilt and suggested he use it to cover her, the officer refused to do so, the statement of claim says.

Another officer told him to “zip it” when he allegedly started calling her vulgar names, the statement says.

The only other person home at the time of the raid was Seguin’s nephew, Joel Seguin. They roused him from sleep, handcuffed him and showed him the back of a police cruiser as neighbours stood outside watching, according to the lawsuit.

“I felt exploited,” Joel Seguin said in an interview. Police held him in a cell at the Elgin Street headquarters for 12 hours and let him go without charge, according to the lawsuit.

Moments before the raid, police saw Seguin’s son leaving for school. They followed Justin Seguin and later arrested him in the Algonquin College parking lot. He was also held for 12 hours and released without charge. The police — without a warrant — seized a thumb drive, iPhone and a laptop from his backpack, according to the statement of claim.

Police didn’t find any child pornography on his phone or thumb drive. Police still don’t know about the laptop; they told an Ottawa judge in March they had been trying “24/7” ever since without success to crack the student’s 26-digit alphanumeric password. The judge granted police another 12 months to try to break the code.

The judge also ruled that though the police didn’t have a warrant to seize his laptop, the search was justified because there was a “realistic risk that any evidence contained on the hard drive would have been destroyed before the police had the time to obtain a warrant.”

Because of the urgent circumstances, the judge ruled there was no Charter breach. Breach or not, the judge said, she would not have returned the laptop either way.

Bonnie Seguin, her son Justin and nephew Joel, are all named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which seeks $450,000, against the Ottawa Police Service, Det. Tami Casselman, and “Officer John Doe”, a member of the force’s SWAT team. The owners of the house are also named as plaintiffs and are suing for $10,000 to cover the damage allegedly caused by police during the raid.

The city has filed a notice of intent to defend.