(UPDATE: Tibu was found guilty of assaulting a peace officer, resisting arrest and obstruction on April 16, 2015. However, the convictions were overturned on Dec. 14, 2015.)
EDMONTON – Camrose dentist Dr. Simona Tibu has been charged with assaulting a peace officer and obstruction following a traffic stop on August 3. The RCMP is investigating Tibu’s complaint that she was assaulted by an Alberta sheriff during that stop.
According to Alberta court documents, Tibu is facing two charges: assaulting a peace officer and resisting arrest (Section 129); and obstructing a peace officer. She is scheduled to appear in court in Camrose on September 18.
Tibu was on her way to see patients in Edmonton that morning, when she was pulled over by an Alberta sheriff for speeding.
Tibu claims the sheriff violently hit her window. When she opened it, he asked her to hand over her drivers license and insurance information.
“I advised him I would do so if he stopped hitting my car.”
Tibu also told him that if he didn’t, she would record him on her phone.
“At that moment, he became very violent. He took his hands through my window, hit my right hand, where I have bruises on it, smashed my cell phone out of my hands, and told me… ‘Get out of your car now.'”
She says she listened to the sheriff, who handcuffed her. With her arms behind her back, Tibu says the sheriff then began hitting her breasts.
Fearing for her life, she began to scream, hoping someone would hear her and help.
Tibu says that only made the sheriff even more aggressive. She claims he pressed his knees into hers until they were bruised, and pushed his pelvis into her back.
“I felt a hit in my head then he smashed my head on the pavement on the road until I was full of blood. Then he told me, ‘Now I’m going to walk all over you.'”
Witnesses did stop at the scene, one called 911, another took pictures:
An RCMP officer eventually arrive, as did an ambulance that took Tibu to hospital. She suffered bruises all over her body.
After speaking with an RCMP officer, Tibu was shocked to learn she was being charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of justice, but the sheriff involved in the alleged incident wasn’t facing any charges.
“I am going to make justice happen,” she says. “No individual should be handcuffed and be beaten by the police. No woman should be handcuffed by the police and be sexually assaulted.”
Tibu has contacted a lawyer, and wants to see charges laid against the sheriff. She has already filed a complaint against him with the The Justice and Solicitor General’s Professional Standards Unit.
A spokesperson in the Solicitor General’s office says that investigation could begin right away, or may have to wait until any RCMP investigation is completed.
On Tuesday, August 13, Global News learned the sheriff in question has been placed on desk duty while an internal investigation takes place.
While the RCMP cannot speak about this incident specifically, it does confirm the case is under investigation.
Investigations of this nature vary in length but sources tell Global News it should take between one and two weeks. The process will involve examining evidence and speaking to witnesses.
“The person that makes the complaint contacts a detachment – in this case, the RCMP, because it was a RCMP jurisdiction – and they explain what’s happened. Quite often, a statement or information will be obtained from the complainant. Officers will be talking to them, finding out what happened,” explains Sgt. Josee Valiquette, a media relations officer with the RCMP.
If there is sufficient evidence, Valiquette says the RCMP would recommend to the Crown that charges be laid against the individual.
“If somebody is charged, under the Criminal Code, the information is sworn, and the information would be available to the public at that point.”
“If there’s not sufficient evidence, of course, we would, in private, notify the complainant and the file would be concluded.”
Meanwhile, a protest is being organized to support Tibu at her first appearance in court, scheduled for September.