Ontario Cop Sucker-Punched Good Samaritan Grandmother & Broke Her Leg With Karate KickOrilla Packet
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ORILLIA — A 49-year-old grandmother who was acting as a "Good Samaritan" was karate-kicked, sucker-punched, beaten and left with "catastrophic injuries" by a police officer, a judge found on Tuesday.
It has been two long years since Maria 'Tonie' Farrell was charged with assaulting a police officer in an incident that has left her crippled from a shattered knee.
But in his ruling, Justice George Beatty exonerated — and validated — Farrell when he found that it was OPP Sgt. Russ Watson who attacked her while on duty on April 2, 2011. Outside of court, Farrell — still in pain — wept and embraced her lawyer.
"This is the best Christmas present ever," she said. "I've been going through hell ... but I knew the truth would prevail."
Her defence lawyer, Angela McLeod, wept with her.
"The greatest injustice was righted today," McLeod said.
During the on-and-off trial that dragged out more than a year, court heard Farrell, an employee at Tim Hortons, was still in her uniform after work when she heard a woman screaming.
She ran behind a convenience store in time to see a woman being punched in the face by a male who ran off. Farrell rushed to the woman's assistance and when Watson arrived alone on the scene she tried to point out the direction of the assailant.
But she said the officer was aggressive and told her to "shut the f--k up."
"Mrs. Farrell was acting as Good Samaritan who went to the assistance of a woman who was being assaulted," the judge said. "She had no criminal record and wanted to assist Sgt. Watson."
He described the officer as a "controlling," "large and powerfully built" man.
"Watson kicked her to the side, a karate-kick that snapped her leg," said the judge. Farrell screamed in agony as she tried to defend herself.
"Watson then jumped on her and punched her on the left side of her face. She turned face-down and Sgt. Watson kept kneeing her in the back," Beatty said.
With her leg dangling, crying out in pain, Farrell was then handcuffed and taken to the cruiser. She had injuries to her neck and back, a crushed knee that required several operations, a knee replacement and lost a back tooth. She now lives with her elderly parents because she will never be able to work again and can't afford to pay rent.
During his testimony, Watson said he suspected Farrell had been drinking. He said she was disruptive and "took a poke" at him, then resisted arrest.
But the judge didn't believe him.