An Edmonton man who claims police officers used excessive force when they arrested him in 2018 is suing them.
Jean Claude Rukundo is suing two officers, Pierre Lemire and Owen Staudinger, as well as Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee, for $650,000.
The lawsuit stems from Rukundo's arrest at the scene of his wife's accident on July 27, 2018.
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According to a Statement of Claim filed in July, Rukundo arrived at the scene of the crash and called his insurance company. Lemire arrived shortly after, asked Rukundo if he had been involved in the crash, and then told him to leave.
Rukundo said he would leave after he talked to his insurance company.
"Lemire escalated the situation and began cursing at the Plaintiff and demanding he leave the scene immediately," the statement said.
Rukundo complied, but as he was leaving, "Lemire engaged physically with the Plaintiff by pushing him away from the scene of the accident. This occurred after the Plaintiff had begun walking away.
"The Plaintiff responded to the physical force by telling Lemire not to push him and attempted to get away from Lemire while still moving away from the accident scene."
In a statement to CTV News in June, the EPS said Rukundo refused to leave the scene, pushed one of the officers and "assumed an aggressive stance."
According to the Statement of Claim, Lemire punched Rukundo, took him to the ground aggressively, attempted to Taser him, placed his knee on his neck and upper back, swore at him, and refused to release his knee after Rukundo asked him to despite not resisting arrest.
Rukundo was charged with obstructing a peace officer and resisting a peace officer, but those charges were later dropped.
Rukundo filed a complaint against Lemire and Staudinger for excessive use of force and language. His claim calls the arrest "unlawful," and argued the use of force was "disproportionate, unnecessary, and unreasonable."
McFee reviewed the report and gave Lemire an official warning for his use of profanity, the document claims.
According to the Statement of Claim, Rukundo suffered facial bruising, bruising and swelling of the wrists, injuries to his right arm, traumatic brain injury, PTSD and sleep disturbance.
It also says the arrest has resulted in pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, past and future costs of care and out-of-pocket expenses.
Rukundo, a Black man, is suing the officers and McFee for $650,000 because he wants justice, to send a massage pushing for change, and to cover the expenses brought on by injuries and missed time at work, his lawyer told CTV News.
"He was left with really the only alternative of filing the statement of claim and using the issue of money to try and force this change through," James Raworth said. "Is he entitled for compensation for what happened to him? He is. But does the money also serve the purpose for sending the message to police and the public at large that this sort of thing cannot be tolerated? It certainly does.
"It's a bit of a sticker shock to see that much money but it gets people talking, it gets people thinking talking about this, and that's what we're trying to do."
In a statement to CTV News, an EPS spokesperson said McFee is aware of the lawsuit and that police cannot comment until the civil matter is concluded.