Santokh Bola's family filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Toronto, Ontario, Canada, police department on Nov. 18 because of the beating that Bola took from police during a mistaken arrest on Nov. 1.
The incident was caught on a cell phone video (below) by a witness. In the video, an officer is seen throwing multiple punches, and possibly kicking Bola, notes Metro News.
Bola's family claims in their lawsuit that two cops used excessive force on the 21-year-old intellectually-disabled man without being provoked during an illegal arrest. In court papers, Bola's family said that he had just gotten out of his vehicle and was going into his grandfather's business when the police rushed him with their guns drawn and yelled, "Get down or be shot."
The family's lawsuit claims he suffered multiple injuries, including a possible brain injury from being kicked, punched and kneed.
"Minutes earlier, police had received a call — one of the most dangerous and urgent calls we get — about a man with a knife and we were given a description," Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash told Metro News. "The officers were responding."
Pugash told CBC News that the Office of the Independent Police Review Director is investigating the incident, but added that the "video doesn't tell the whole story."
Toronto police union president Mike McCormack told the news network that the police force feels it's "being judged by a snippet of a video when there's a much longer, broader story about what commands our police officers were responding to."
"What kind of commands did they give this individual?" McCormack added. "Did the individual comply with those commands? And why did they have to use physical force which may be justified."
Ken Byers, one of the Bola family's lawyers, told Metro News: "In my personal experience, my 34 years of practice, I've never had a case where I have witnessed such an excessive abuse of police power and excessive force. There is no reason for it."
Bola's sister Sonia claims that an officer told the family to leave a police station when they complained about the beating "because he didn't appreciate how we were feeling."