Late one night in April 2013, Maria Tonie Farrell of Orillia went to help a woman who was being assaulted in a parking lot by three other people.
The assailants ran off. Tonie tried to calm the victim, who was of course more than a little upset. Someone called the police, and OPP Sgt. Watson arrived on the scene. When Tonie tried to explain what had happened, he swore at her and told her to shut up, knocked her face down on the ground, landed a sucker punch to her head, delivered a karate kick that broke her tibia, and then his full weight landed on top of her. After all that, Sgt. Watson arrested Tonie Farrell, charging her with obstructing a police officer.
Tonie ended up with head and face injuries, lost a tooth, had an injured knee and broken tibia, and bruises all over her body. She now walks with a cane and is unable to work.
When the case came before the judge in December 2014, the judge found Sgt. Watson’s testimony inconsistent and not believable, and found no grounds for the charges against Tonie Farrell. He dismissed the charges, with a scathing rebuke of Sgt. Watson’s aggressive behaviour.
However, when the SIU investigated the case, it found no evidence of misconduct on the part of the officer. Wait a minute. A large, burly police officer takes down and seriously injures a 140 lb., 48 year-old grandmother, who was doing nothing more than helping the victim of an assault . . .
Several people in Orillia are speaking out, organizing a series of protests outside the police station. They are demanding that the police be held accountable. If you too share this sense of outrage