Family, friends and supporters of David Hillier protest in front of the WGPS police station in Durham on Thursday, June 25. Protesters demanded that the officers involved in the incident be immediately suspended without pay.
BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — Dozens of people showed their displeasure with police in front of the West Grey Police Service (WGPS) office on George Street in Durham Thursday night. WGPS officers kept a respectful distance while protesters displayed placards calling for an end to police brutality and the defunding of West Grey police.
On Monday, June 22, the lawyer of a 68 year-old Chesley man posted pictures of David Hillier's injuries to Facebook. Davin Charney, a criminal lawyer whose Toronto practice champions justice for victims of police abuse, took to social media to share images of Hillier's bruised body, prompting thousands of shares and emotionally-charged comments, both in opposition to, and in support of, the police.
Charney has filed a Superior Court Notice of Action against West Grey Police Services (WGPS) on behalf of the Hillier family which outlines the alleged brutality which occurred on June 5 at the victim's home.
David Hillier and his son Casey Hillier were arrested after police were called to a deal with a domestic dispute at a home on Concession 14. The names of the two police officers involved in the incident have not been released.
According to family, Hillier's injuries include multiple broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a broken nose and various bruising all over his body. "These are some of the worst injuries I've seen," said Charney who claims he has seen many instances of brutality through the course of his job. "His health has declined since being admitted to hospital. He can't communicate for lengthy periods," he added. According to Charney, one of the two officers involved, inflicted Hillier's injuries with a billy club.
"We hope to put pressure on authorities to take action," said Charney about the reason for the protest. "We want them to know that the community is paying attention," he continued.
Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is looking into the altercation. The SIU provides civilian oversight and police accountability with both police services and community and gets involved in cases whenever there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault in association with police activity. Their investigation will determine whether criminal charges against the two officers are warranted.
"We are optimistic that the SIU will charge the offending officer with aggravated assault, that he will be suspended without pay and ultimately convicted," said Charney.
Neither the SIU, nor WGPS are commenting on the incident before results of the investigation are released. None of the allegations against the West Grey officers have yet been proven in a court of law.
Chris Stephen and Cheryl Hillier have organized a Go Fund Me campaign to cover legal fees which they estimate could reach in excess of $100,000.
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