Charges dropped against Calgary man injured by police dog, refused hospital trip and mocked by officers

·2 min read
Latef Reakwon Tag El Din's weapons charges were stayed after police openly laughed at, mocked and denied him medical attention when he was badly injured by a K9 unit dog during a 2019 arrest.  (Calgary Police Service - image credit)
Latef Reakwon Tag El Din's weapons charges were stayed after police openly laughed at, mocked and denied him medical attention when he was badly injured by a K9 unit dog during a 2019 arrest. (Calgary Police Service - image credit)

In a scathing ruling which described police actions as "unprofessional in the extreme," a Calgary judge has dropped the charges against a man who suffered serious injuries during his arrest but was refused a trip to hospital and instead mocked by officers.

Provincial court Judge Heather Lamoureux agreed with defence lawyer Andrea Urquhart, ruling the only appropriate remedy to the officer's "shocking" treatment of Latef Raekwon Tag El Din was to stay the charges after finding last October that his charter rights had been violated.

Tag El Din had been badly injured by a police dog during his arrest on charges including possession of a loaded firearm.

Despite begging to be taken to hospital while he bled through bandages applied by paramedics, several officers openly mocked, laughed at and sang about Tag El Din's suffering.

"This is more than just a lack of professional conduct," wrote Lamoureux in her decision.

"This is prolonged indifference by numerous officers to address the suffering of the injured accused who is begging to be taken to the hospital … police do not follow their own stated core value of compassion."

Bleeding from face, arm

In November 2019, Tag El Din repeatedly begged to be taken to a doctor as he bled from serious wounds to his arm and face after his arrest.

Instead, police took him to headquarters, placed him in cells and interviewed him, according to video evidence and officer testimony.

Video evidence showed Tag El Din's blood seeping over the top of a bandage and down his arm.

His face was also noticeably injured, Lamoureux noted.

'Lack of empathy and compassion'

Tag El Din testified he felt shaky, sweating and dizzy, barely able to stand and said it felt like his muscles were tearing.

"I have to go to hospital; I'm dying," he said at one point.

One officer replied: "We're all dying."

After he was placed in a holding cell, video shows the officers laughing at Tag El Din and making sarcastic remarks when he complains about being in pain.

At one point an officer sang a song in reference to the accused's injuries.

Lamoureux ruled Tag El Din's charter rights were breached because he suffered cruel and unusual punishment when his "repeated pleas" for medical attention were ignored and mocked.

"The court concludes that the officers in this case are displaying issues of lack of empathy and compassion which cry out for further education by police educators and police colleagues," wrote Lamoureux.

The Calgary Police Service has previously said it is reviewing the judge's decisions related to this case before deciding whether to take further action against the officers involved.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting