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

Local hiker Kara Ruff captured this double rainbow hiking Ripple Rock near Campbell River on June 15. Photo courtesy Kara Ruff.
Local hiker captures double rainbow

Double rainbow photographed from Ripple Rock trail viewpoint

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Discovery Island fish farms not allowed to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read