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(Jeff Vinnick for The Globe and Mail)
(Jeff Vinnick for The Globe and Mail)

Vancouver police officer sues force over undercover arrest Add to ...

A Vancouver police officer is suing the force after he says he was “violently assaulted and falsely imprisoned” by a fellow officer while on plainclothes duty for a surveillance operation.

Gregory Kodak filed his notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court earlier this week. His allegations have not been proven and a response has not yet been filed. The lawsuit names officer Alison Hill, the police department, the police board, Chief Jim Chu, and the City of Vancouver as defendants.

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The police department declined comment, since the matter is before the courts.

Mr. Kodak says the incident occurred in July 2012. Though he is a member of the Vancouver Police Department he was seconded to the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – the province’s anti-gang force – at the time.

Mr. Kodak says he was in plain clothes as part of the surveillance operation. He was driving an unmarked vehicle downtown and had to drive through some red lights to maintain surveillance of his target.

He says another member of the surveillance team eventually notified him by radio that Mr. Kodak was being trailed by a marked Vancouver police car.

Mr. Kodak says that upon noticing the police vehicle had its emergency equipment activated, he pulled over and waved his portable police radio out the window. He says this is widely understood as a way for plainclothes officer to notify patrol vehicles that a surveillance operation is under way.

He says he saw the marked vehicle deactivate its emergency equipment and he assumed he was free to leave.

He says he had only made it a few blocks when he noticed the police cruiser was back, with its siren and lights activated. This time he says he showed his badge out the window. He says he saw a hand motion from the driver of the police cruiser that he took as a sign he could move on.

Shortly after, the cruiser was again behind him and he says it reactivated its siren. He says he had been pulled over for 20 to 30 seconds when he saw Ms. Hill leave the marked vehicle and approach his car on foot.

Mr. Kodak says he was told to step out of the vehicle and he complied. He says Ms. Hill immediately grabbed his arm and told him to get toward the back of his vehicle. He says she began applying handcuffs and, though he did not resist, struck him in the right upper thigh with her knee and told him to stop resisting.

Mr. Kodak says another member of the surveillance team approached and showed the officer his badge, but was told by Ms. Hill to walk away.

Mr. Kodak says he made repeated requests to have a supervisor attend the scene but was ignored.

He says he was subjected to a pat-down search and asked if he was armed. He said there were firearms in vehicle, along with his badge. He says he was also asked why his operator’s licence did not match the vehicle’s plates. He says he told the officer it was a surveillance vehicle with removable plates.

All the while, Mr. Kodak says, his handcuffed wrists and arms were being held in an elevated and painful position.

Some minutes later, he says, Ms. Hill walked over to his vehicle and returned with his badge. He says no further conversation occurred between them.

Mr. Kodak says he was co-operative at all times and was never given an explanation as to why he had been handcuffed and detained. He said he suffered and continued to suffer injuries that include pain in his fingers, wrist, arm, shoulder, hip and leg. He said he also suffered emotional distress.

Mr. Kodak said he has suffered and continues to suffer loss of income and earning capacity and is seeking, among other things, general damages, special damages, punitive damages, and costs. An exact dollar figure is not provided in his notice of claim.

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