The complainant in a police review board case that started this week is also suing Halifax Regional Municipality.
Susan Doman has alleged Const. Jason Wilson slammed her to the floor with two hands around her neck during an April 2021 arrest in Halifax.
The Halifax Examiner has reported on Doman’s case at the Nova Scotia Police Review Board this week. Three officers have testified so far with slightly varying stories, and the hearing is expected to continue next week.
But well before the hearing began, Doman also filed a notice of action in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Lawyer Mike Dull filed a statement of claim on her behalf in April.
“While the Plaintiff was handcuffed, Constable Jason Wilson put his hands around the Plaintiff’s throat, picked her up and threw her to the floor. The Plaintiff’s head hit the floor with enough force to break a piece of molding,” Dull wrote in the statement.
“The Plaintiff asserts that the HRP officer applied an unreasonable use of force during the arrest which amounts to tortious assault. The Plaintiff was injured as a result of the unreasonable use of force, with no lawful reason or authority for doing so.”
Doman is seeking “general damages, including aggravated damages for personal injuries; special damages; aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages;” plus costs and interest.
The statement notes Doman complained about Wilson’s actions. “An independent internal review concluded that Constable Jason Wilson used excessive force when dealing with the Plaintiff.”
As the Examiner reported on Wednesday, Sgt. Derrick Boyd came to that conclusion in February 2022. Wilson’s actions, he wrote, were “not based on any training, could have caused significant injury,” and “excessive under the circumstances.”
After lawsuit, Halifax sides with officer
Halifax Regional Police has since reversed that finding. It’s taken no position so far at the police review board hearing. And its defence filing in the lawsuit is now mostly in line with Wilson’s account.
“While Cst. Wilson was escorting the Plaintiff toward the front door of the apartment, the Plaintiff attempted to spit on Cst. Wilson. Cst. Wilson physically turned the Plaintiff’s head to prevent her from spitting on him. While Cst. Wilson still had hands on the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff and Cst. Wilson fell to the floor,” Halifax Regional Municipality lawyer Kelsey Nearing wrote in a notice of defence filed with the court in September.
“To the extent that force was used by HRP officers during the course of the Plaintiffs arrest and transport, that force was reasonable, proportionate, and necessary in light of all the circumstances as known and understood by the HRP officers involved at that time.”
HRM denies Doman suffered any personal injury, damage or loss from the incident, and if she did, Nearing wrote, it “resulted in whole or in part from the Plaintiffs own intentional or negligent conduct.”