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

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read