WATCH (above): A Vancouver police officer has pleaded not guilty to one count of assault in connection with the March 2013 arrest of a cyclist. John Daly has the details.
UPDATE: Constable Ismail Bhabha has pleaded not guilty to the assault charge in connection with the incident last March.
A trial begins this morning for a Vancouver police officer charged with assault.
The charge stems from the arrest of a cyclist in March of last year.
The incident was caught on video and posted to Facebook.
Constable Ismail Bhabha is accused of punching the cyclist while attempting to handcuff him in Yaletown.
At the time, the constable said the cyclist rode through a red light and wasn’t wearing a helmet.
Yaletown resident Andi Shae Akhavan said he was riding his bike home in March when he was stopped by police.
He says the officers asked if he noticed that he just went through a red light.
Akhavan said the police then told him they were going to write him up, and proceeded to get out of the car. “They started to write me up, and I basically said ‘don’t you guys have anything better to do? I’m only a block away from my house, I was only you know, just cruising home real quick’, and at that point, I guess, because I asked them if they could be doing something better than arresting a bicyclist, or writing up a ticket for one, they decided to put cuffs on me.”
He said the police didn’t read him his rights before putting handcuffs on him, and what followed from there was caught on video by a passerby.
“They’re putting the cuffs on me, he’s yanking my arm pretty tight, both hands are held back at this point, I turn around to say, and he winds up and hits me in the face.”
Akhavan says the force was so strong it actually broke his tooth, piercing his lip.
The assault charge against Bhabha was laid following an investigation by West Vancouver police.
With files from Peter Meiszner