The Abbotsford Law Courts (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

The Abbotsford Law Courts (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

2 Mexican farmworkers sue police for alleged assault and dog attack in Abbotsford

Innocent pair allege officers were ‘abusive and racist’ while looking for drug smugglers

Two seasonal farmworkers from Mexico are each seeking more than $35,000 in damages after an incident in Abbotsford last year resulted in one of them being attacked by a police dog and allegedly punched and kicked by an officer.

The incident took place July 20, 2020 at a farm near the Canada-U.S. border on Mt. Lehman Road, where the pair were working and living.

Police officers were searching for two suspects in a major drug-smuggling case near the border, and came across the two farmworkers on the Mt. Lehman property.

According to court documents, one of the men was talking on the phone to his wife in Mexico when he noticed three officers – one with the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) and two with the RCMP – running towards him.

He said one of the officers, a member of the APD, released his dog. The worker alleges that the officer “started kicking and punching him, while the dog continued to bite him.”

The lawsuit states that the man suffered bites and scratches from the dog and was in pain from allegedly being assaulted by the officer. His employer took him to hospital for treatment, the documents state.

The other man was also talking on the phone to his wife when he saw the officers on the property.

While the APD officer was dealing with the other man, the two RCMP officers took out their weapons, pointed them at the second man and asked him to lie on the ground, the documents state.

The man was then handcuffed and detained for “at least seven to 12 minutes,” according to the lawsuit.

Their employer confirmed with police that the two men worked for him and lived on the property. Neither one was arrested.

RELATED: Mexican consulate wants answers after ‘assault’ on farmworker by police officers in Abbotsford

The men have since filed lawsuits in small claims court in Abbotsford, seeking special, general, punitive and aggravated damages from the City of Abbotsford, the APD officer involved, and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

They both say that the “psychological and emotional trauma” of the incident resulted in their returning to Mexico a month before their contract in Canada had ended.

They describe the actions of the officers as “grossly negligent, reckless, abusive and racist.”

No responses have yet been filed to the men’s lawsuits, and the allegations have not been proven in court.

Following the incident last year, the General Consulate of Mexico sent an email to APD Chief Mike Serr, questioning the actions of the officers involved.

The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner also got involved to determine if any disciplinary action should occur to the officers, but later concluded that no action was required.

The RCMP also issued a press release, but did not mention the incident with the farmworkers. The release indicated that one of two men suspected of using an ATV and a trailer to smuggle a large amount of methamphetamine over the border had been arrested.

RELATED: Police seize nearly 200 kg of meth near U.S. border in Abbotsford

Police seized 198 kilograms (440 pounds) of meth, and said it was one of the largest seizures of the drug in Canadian history.

Zacchary Hecock, an American, was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and importing/exporting a controlled substance. His case is still making its way through the local courts, with his next appearance scheduled for September.



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Cops and CourtslawsuitPolice

Just Posted

North Westside residents can dispose of their unwanted bulky items between June 30 and July 14, 2021. (File photo)
North Westside residents can soon get rid of unwanted bulky items

Large household items can be disposed of at North Westside Transfer Station June 30 to July 14

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D area. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control to Electoral Area D; director calls for respectful discussion

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read