First, my side of the story:
I was at the Old Stable Pub in Port Credit (west of Toronto, by the lake in Mississauga) on the night of November 29th, 2012 (a Thursday) with some friends and acquaintances before we decided to take a drive down the street to another nearby bar and play darts. At that point, I had 2 pints of beer over a span of about 2 hours.
Before we left the pub, I informed everyone (since it was my vehicle we were going in) that I needed to stop down the street to do some banking at an ATM machine. Some of them heard me and some of them did not as there was more than one conversation going on as we left.
When we left the pub, there were 4 people with me in my mini-van. When I pulled out onto the street I noticed a police cruiser in the boat launch area near the Port Credit River (across the street, near the bridge) and it appeared to be making its way to Lakeshore Road which is what I was on, now traveling east bound onto the bridge. It is a 4 lane road with 2 lanes going east and west. I immediately made a lane change (left to right) as I had a right hand turn coming up (on to Stavebank).
I proceeded as if the officer wasn’t interested in me. I drove down the street and onto the bridge and then looked in my rear-view mirror to see where the police cruiser was. The cruiser got onto Lakeshore Road in the other lane (left lane) and began to pick up speed fast. It appeared as though he would be passing me as he was in the lane beside me. I did not see any flashing lights.
I then came up to Stavebank Road, which was just on the other side of the bridge and made a right hand turn. The bank is right on that intersection, not far from the pub. I pulled into the first parking spot as it was available (along that road about 15 feet from Lakeshore Rd). I then took a couple of steps out of my vehicle and saw the flashing lights for the first time. The officer was there standing by his cruiser. I was not even technically pulled over by the officer but stopped and interacted with him as soon as I saw him – as he began speaking to me.
The manner in which he addressed me was clearly an aggressive one as the first words to come from him were in a high volume and to the effect of: “Hold it right there, you’re getting in my car to perform a breathalyser test — right now!!”
He was yelling at me and I responded by saying, “Hold on, hold on”. I did not like the tone he took with me and was going to let him know that I was not going to allow one of our Civil Servants to speak to me that way. A conversation ensued and from my angle of the conversation, that was what I was focused on. There was no reason for him to react the way he did.
Soon after first contact, he began accusing me of being drunk. He said he could smell alcohol all over me which I believe was B.S. as I only had a couple of beers and we were in the middle of the street where he stood about five (5) feet away from me. His behavior was completely out of line with how I believe a police officer should be addressing the matter, such as: a calm demeanor where the officer should have simply got my attention and asked me nicely, and calmly, “to please step over to the sidewalk so that we can have a chat.” None of this occurred – not even close!
So after a few words were exchanged I said things to the officer like “this isn’t proper police protocol” and also asked him, “Are you a rookie?” …because he looked and acted like one.
He then went on to claim that he was executing the RIDE (Reduce Impaired Drivers Everywhere) program and to my knowledge, RIDE operates in a different manner whereas a number of police cruisers would be parked on the road and in a location where both sides of the street are occupied by police officers and detaining vehicles driving by. This simply was not the case in his claim, but I guess staking out local pubs waiting for people to leave in vehicles falls into that category.
The officer asked me a few times while in the middle of talking to him, “What’s your problem?” – as if I had one. I was simply standing up for myself as his behavior was simply out of line with police professionalism. He was “completely disrespectful” and acted inappropriately right from the moment of first contact.
The officer was ignoring what I was saying and continued to be aggressive with me and told me he is arresting me for impaired driving after I again refused his order to get into his vehicle. I did not like his tone and took 2 steps backwards when he tried to grab my left arm. He stopped and I stopped.
We continued to argue and we gradually made our way to the back side of the police cruiser where we exchanged more words. He then got physically aggressive with me and was trying to spin me around by grabbing my arm as he tried to get me into the back of his cruiser. I just stood there and held my position with my hands firmly by my waist.
His behavior was disgraceful and all I tried to do was reason with him as much as I could. I tried to restart the conversation and went about it in a calm manner — and attempted to record it with my phone.
So, I pulled out my phone and said something like, “Hold it a sec, let’s start this conversation over – I want to record this.” He said, “No, No!” and then tried to grab the phone out of my hands, denying me the right to make an accurate account of what was going on. He just kept on with his aggressive behavior.
(It was about at this point when he said something into his shoulder mic — calling for backup.)
He refused to calm down and because he was trying to take my phone I decided I did not want it in his possession and tossed it to my friends (after he backed away from me) who were watching what was happening (about 20-25 feet away) almost from beginning to end. About 15 seconds after that, the officer unexpectedly sprayed me in the face with a substance (pepper spray) twice near my eyes and it eventually trickled into my eyes. Right at that moment I reacted in a manner of total disbelief and said, “Are you f**king kidding me?”
I then looked over at my friends and asked them, “Are you guys f**k’n seeing this?” I was not a happy camper, quite pissed off actually.
More words were exchanged and then soon after that, another officer shows up (a female) and I just decided that that was enough and turned around and allowed myself to be handcuffed and let the whole process of arrest proceed – completely unwarranted.
I was then charged with “one” charge of Impaired Driving.
I then sat in the car for what seemed like an eternity …as I was handcuffed with my hands behind my back while the substance in my eyes was causing a lot of burning pain that I could not treat or address in the position I was in. Other officers showed up and after being in pain for awhile, I started tapping the window with my foot to get someone’s attention. One officer opened the door and asked me what I wanted and I told him that I needed medical treatment because I was sprayed in the eyes with something – he simply closed the door and ignored me.
I was in pain and ignored for about 40-45 minutes before I got to 11 Division where I was allowed to rinse my eyes out with water… and that only seemed to make it worse.
At 11 Division I refused legal counsel and simply stated to just set a date for an appearance in court.
I was then forced to do a breathalyser test and was informed that there was a recording device in the room (video/audio) and then I made some statements on the record. Before I submitted to the test, I asked the officer working the testing device what law states that I had to submit to such an involuntary act and he told me, the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). I stated simply, that the HTA does not apply to me and then — under protest — did the test that resulted in a low reading that did not warrant an impaired charge. (The arresting officer was near by and heard me say this — this is key to what is coming.)
I was held in a cell for a few hours when I was informed that I would be released and would be charged with “one” charge: Assault with Intent to Resisting Arrest. The officer that arrested me was the one that informed me of this and said that I should have just done the breathalyser test when he first interacted with me at the roadside. I responded to him reminding him of how he took an aggressive approach with me right from the moment he first saw me. He was way out of line in conducting his duties.
Soon after, I was brought up into a room after being released from the cell and sat down before the arresting officer and the Staff Sergeant. I was informed that I would have to sign a Promise to Appear.
I signed the Promise to Appear under threat duress and intimidation: if I did not, I would have to sit in jail until I appeared before a judge.
On the appearance date, I received the Disclosure documents and I was in total disbelief when I looked it over. It was nothing short of a complete fabrication…
The officer’s side of the story (report and testimony):
I will point out the highlights here, the key portion of his claims can be seen here in his report. The trial transcript can be seen here. (Note: there appears to be numerous errors in the transcript — typos and then some.)
- This officer claims that I pulled out of the pub parking lot and “when I saw him” I sped up to 80-100 km (in a short distance from A-B).
- He claims that I made a hard right turn — squealing my tires — onto Stavebank Road and “slammed on my brakes” when I parked the van.
- He claims that I got out of my vehicle and “ran 10-15 feet and he chased me”.
- And that I started yelling at him saying things like, “you have no right to stop me” and “I’m above the law” and “above the courts” and “I have sovereignty over all laws” and that “the HTA and Criminal Code does not effect me”. [What a load of BS! The evidence that proves that I would never say anything as ridiculous as these things rests in all the motions I have filed in my HTA trials. In other words, I’m using the courts to defend my liberties. The first document I filed in defense of my liberties is this one (notice the date stamp) along with the Section 7 Charter Application for that case (I did not scan the original Charter Application document with the same date stamp because I filed an amended version later). The core arguments for these documents took about a year and a half to 2 years to put together — this isn’t something I could whip together in a few months so what I’m saying is, is that this is proof that I would never say anything like the claims made above.]
- He claims I was swaying from side to side and that I had a strong odor of alcohol coming from my breath 3-5 feet away from me out in the street. And that my eyes were watery [there’s no denying that after he pepper sprayed me].
- He claims I started yelling at everyone in my van to get out of my van [they were already out just standing there and watching] and that he felt scared because he was surrounded with 5  people behind him.
- He claims that when he tried to put the cuffs on me, I “pushed him twice” on the chest with my open hands/palms [grounds for the assault charge] and then got my “hands up in the air making fists” as to beckon him into a fight.
- Then he claims again that I made the same ridiculous comments above after pushing him.
- He claims it was necessary to use the pepper spray and did so from 5 feet after I pushed him away [it was close range and no pushing was involved of course].
- And after all this he claims that I’m still yelling and that I still want to fight him as my fists are still up in the air beckoning him on.
- He testified that from the time of the conflict to the moment when other officers showed up and were on the scene — it was like “night and day” in how my attitude changed [it was always the same almost right from the beginning, but I was seriously ticked off when he pepper sprayed me].
- He claimed that I was arrested for 2 infractions at the roadside scene.
- He claimed in his testimony that I told him my name was Cy and that I am a free-man-on-the-land which again is total B.S. as I said no such thing whatsoever [there is no doubt that, in all my cases, numerous individuals (police, judges and prosecutors) are clearly trying to label me something that I am not and, as this case shows, it appears as though they are also trying to make these free-man-on-the-land people out to be violent.]
- My lawyer addressed the speed of which I left the bar and traveling a short distance to the bank. The officer testified that the distance was no more than 200 meters and that I accelerated to 80 km and decelerated to near zero in that distance. He stated he even heard “squealing tires”. All this with 5 adults in a 12 year old mini-van.
- He was asked about me pulling my phone out. He remembered something about it but nothing about me trying to record the conversation. He stated on the record that he thought I was going to phone more people to come and back up the 5  that were already there. To quote him exactly, “there is huge officer concerns” (page 38, line 16 of the trial transcript. [Am I the only one that sees how ridiculous of a statement this is? I’m calling for more friends to show up and take on this cop and maybe the whole police force if they get there before other cops do! Seriously?]
- He got the officer to confess that the entry made in his notes regarding the Assault w/ Intent to Resisting Arrest was made at 12:55 am — over 1.5 hours from the time of the event when I was charged with Impaired Operation of a Motor Vehicle. The officer testified that these notes were made after the Impaired charge was dropped and that the roadside notes only reflected the Impaired charge with no indication that an Assault of any kind took place. His explanation for leaving this out: human error, I forgot! This officer got grilled — see page 41, line 6 to page 44 line 17 of the transcript.
My testimony and cross-examination:
I have given you my side of the story above and my testimony pretty much reflects that, but if you want a very interesting read, read the whole cross-examination that I went through. As I have stated numerous times in the past, and to be very clear again, I will state it now: I am NOT a free-man-on-the-land follower (and I have nothing against those people (who are, in my opinion, simply standing up against oppressive laws/governance that are infringing upon their inherent Common Law rights and they are doing so in their own way)) and I have brought arguments before the courts that are heavily sound in principle and supported by case law. I have the law on my side and want to have an intellectual response from prosecutors and judges to get to the Truth of the law that commands us all — That’s it! So far, NO such response has taken place — just complete dodges of getting to the Truth!
In short, all the prosecutor and local police tried to do in this case (and my others) was paint a picture of me (and these free-men and anyone that comes off sounding like them): that I am violent and/or disregard the law (their laws that are statutory)! What you will learn from this case is very important as it shows criminal behavior by the people who are supposed to be serving all our best interests. Malicious prosecution (for one) is criminal behavior! These are the people that we entrust with the duty to protect and preserve our liberties and I have seen nothing but the opposite!!
The witnesses’ testimonies and cross-examination:
The only thing that I am going to say about the 2 witness (2 others were not needed) testimonies is that they stated there was no pushing of the officer by me and I wasn’t driving like an idiot. Their testimonies are within the transcript. I’m trying to keep all witnesses (2 friends and 2 acquaintances) out of the picture because they want to limit their involvement in this kind of stuff [sadly].
The judges decision and how he came to make it:
I will point out the highlights below, the full transcript of the judgment can be seen here. First off, let me say that I was “fortunate” to have a “good judge”. In my HTA cases I did an evaluation of the judges from information I gathered from the Internet after I googled, “What makes a good judge?” Rather then doing the write up, I’m just going to say, this judge gets high marks all around.
Highlights of Justice J. M. Bovard’s REASONS FOR JUDGMENT:
First, he found me — the Defendant — “Not Guilty”. Why?…
- He stated that my testimony was “credible and plausible”. He said that I “…admitted to things that could’ve put him in a bad light and I think that that supports my view that he was testifying in an honest and credible way.”
- He believed the witnesses’ testimonies in regards to whether a “push of the officer took place” or not.
- He stated that he did not find the officer’s testimony credible in regards to me pushing him; the ridiculous comments he claims I made at the roadside; and me being charged at the roadside with the Assault charge and here are the reasons why:
- Because the officer didn’t make any notes of these events at the roadside. He found this to be “…a glaring omission and it is hard to believe that he would not put in his notes until later…”. He goes on to say that the officer made notes about the Impaired Driving and goes on to state, “So why would he leave the other stuff out? It doesn’t make sense to me.“
- He felt that my opinions of the law are bizarre [I would hope that he would feel different if he read my work, but that’s irrelevant] and leaving this out of the roadside notes also does not “make any sense” while he noted all the other important stuff about being impaired.
- Get ready for this one!… The judge felt that the fact that the officer’s notes reflected the bizarre stuff after I made the comment about the HTA not applying to me (at the station) and after the Staff Sergent overruled him on the impaired charge, that it “…raises the suspicion in my mind that he was just trying to find a charge that he could make stick to Mr. Cassista.”
- Once again (in his judgment), the judge points out the glaring omission of the notes, pointing out how I was charged with impaired at the roadside and not the assault and how the officer testified that it was “human error” — that he “just forgot to mention it”. The judge found his testimony hard to believe that he didn’t write it in his notes because “…an assault on him is a serious charge…”
- After the judge commented on the last point I just made above, he again goes on to say that, this is “…a factor which in itself raises the suspicion in my mind that he charged Mr. Cassista with the assault charge because he did not want him to get away scot free.“
- He found the officer’s testimony about me running away “…did not make any sense to me because there is no apparent reason for this behavior.” It “…would’ve been futile” in these circumstances and called it “dramatic” and it being futile because 1) other officers would have been called in to pursue me, 2) my van was there with plates to identify me and, 3) four (4) people who knew me were also there. So trying to “hide my identity” would have been a “futile gesture”.
- And to further add to the last point, the alcohol readings were low and the judge points this out and states that, “It is not believable that in these circumstances Mr. Cassista would bolt from the scene as Officer Bowen said that he did.” There was no reason for me to do any of this!
- So for the above points, Justice Bovard did “…not accept Officer Bowen’s evidence that Mr. Cassista assaulted him with intent to resist arrest or assaulted him in any way.”
This is the Peel Regional Police — they have earned themselves a nick name from those who go to bat for their clients against them: No Deal Peel. Hard nosed to say the least when trying to get convictions or simply making people’s lives much more stressful. But it goes much further than that: check out the news article about a mentally ill woman — very fragile at the age of 80 — being tasered by peel cops who had her outnumbered 3 to 1.
It gets better, tell me this isn’t criminal behavior: Peel Regional Police pressuring key witnesses in a homicide that destroys an innocent man’s life, not to mention he spent 3 and a half years in jail. And these peel cops are “detectives”.
I could write up a ton of stuff like this to close this segment of this case, but I will just leave you with a link to the Toronto Star’s on going exclusive about Police Who Lie (and this is just the stuff we know about).
Update: OK, so there was a counter suit. It is a long story and quite frankly I don’t really care to tell you what I went through in great detail. In short, not really impressed with the lawyers that got involved (3) for different reasons. And at the end of the day, there was little to no remedy for what I got put through.
I was actually forced to settle with an unhappy settlement and if I didn’t they (lawyers for the cops – a Goliath) would have fought me all the way because they would have done as much as possible to paint a bad picture of me and not wanting to shell out a large some of money to me which would have empowered me further in my actions. This is what I believe their thinking was.
As for the officer: All that came of it in the end was a bogus complaint against him – that’s all that I could do. The officer is still on the police force which is scary as fuck as my opinion of him is basically this: he is a danger to others and he is a danger to himself.