Black woman abused by cops
Her crime? Asking why she had been stopped
OTTAWA — Stacy Bonds still cringes every time she sees a police cruiser. It’s been two years since she was arrested, manhandled and stripped of her shirt and bra by Ottawa police officers.
One officer even pulled the woman’s hair, though the 27-year-old was in handcuffs and not resisting.
Special constable Melanie Morris then kneed her in the leg and lower back moments before Sgt. Steve Desjourdy used a pair of scissors to cut her clothes off while other male officers pinned her to the floor in the cellblock, where some of the 89 security cameras captured the scenes a judge branded an “ indignity.” The judge also said Bonds showed no hint of aggression or violence.
Police Chief Vern White called the case appalling.
Still, after her ordeal, Bonds said she doesn’t want to think she was wrongfully arrested and mistreated just because she’s a young, black woman.
“ I hope and pray it’s not a racial thing. I don’t want to make it into a big black-white issue. I think it’s more of an issue of questioning authority and I’d like to tell people ‘ don’t be afraid to ask police questions. It’s your right.’ I’ve learned my rights and I think everyone should learn their rights and make sure they’re not stepped on,” Bonds told the Ottawa Citizen on Saturday.
Bonds, a theatrical makeup artist with no criminal record, was stopped by police in September 2008 while walking home from an after-hours party following a live musical performance downtown.
The police officers ran her name through the system. When nothing came up they told her to go home. When she asked why she had been stopped in the first place, police arrested her and took her to police headquarters, where she was put in a jail cell where she remained topless and in soiled pants for three hours and 15 minutes before being given a jailhouse jumpsuit.
“ The whole thing has shaken my confidence in a lot of things. I have a loss of words. It’s hard to describe what happened. And every time I try to get a grasp on the story, it flies out of my hands. It’s everywhere.
Justice Richard Lajoie, having reviewed the tape, said he didn’t want to play any part in the “ travesty” so he threw out the case against Bonds, who had been charged with assaulting police.
The judge also said Bonds was arrested unlawfully.
He also condemned the officers for the way they treated Bonds once she was in the police booking room.
The officers who handled Bonds are now being probed by the province’s Special Investigations Unit for alleged sexual assault. Once that ends, an internal probe will resume.
— Postmedia News
Stacy Bonds was walking home from an after-hours party in 2008 when she was stopped by police.