Kamloops cop who assaulted homeless man gets conditional discharge | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops cop who assaulted homeless man gets conditional discharge

KAMLOOPS — A Kamloops RCMP constable has received a conditional discharge for assaulting a homeless man in handcuffs while on duty in August 2017.

Const. Joedy Todd Henderson, 45, has been a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police force for 16 years. B.C. Provincial Court Judge Roy Dickey sentenced him today, Jan. 22, to a conditional charge, meaning although he was convicted, he won't have the burden of a criminal record.

Henderson was charged after an incident on Aug. 25, 2017, when a bylaw officer was in the process of ticketing a man occupying an unauthorized temporary shelter space. When the bylaw officer asked to take a photo of the man, he began to walk away and therefore called for police assistance. However there was miscommunication in what type of call police were responding to.

Police were told it was a much more serious call than it really was, Dickey says.

When Const. Henderson arrived, Dickey describes that there were heightened emotions by officers attending. The man was sitting on the pavement in handcuffs and appeared “calm,” said Dickey.

When the bylaw officer attempted to take his photo again, the man raised his knees to his face. Dickey says Const. Henderson grabbed the man by his throat and raised him to his feet, but the Henderson argues he raised the man by his shoulders.

“He then attempted to control his head so his photo could be taken, Const. Henderson admits that he had no right to force (the man) to stand there and have his photo taken,” Dickey says.

The man attempted to pull his head away from the officer’s hands and that’s when Const. Henderson delivered knee strikes to the side of the man’s body and placed him into the rear of his police vehicle where the man accidentally struck his head.

The man suffered bruising from the incident with Henderson, Dickey says.

There were no other submissions from Henderson’s lawyer, Neville McDougall, or Crown prosecutor Andrew Vandersluys who was seeking a suspended sentence of 12 months.

Dickey says Henderson’s actions were a breach of public trust as police officers are provided special powers of authority to protect and serve the public. The judge also explains how Henderson suffers from work-related post-traumatic stress from an incident where he was almost run over. The police officer had also dealt with several stressful incidents prior to this day, according to Dickey.

“The victim was in handcuffs and posed no threat,” Dickey says, adding Henderson was an experienced officer.

“Despite the breach of trust, a conditional discharge adequately addresses the issues of deterrence and denunciation,” Dickey says. “I find that a conditional discharge is not contrary to the public interest.”

The conditional discharge will allow a probation period of one year. Henderson will have to complete 30 hours of community service hours at the Valleyview Community Business Association by June 30, 2019. If he abides by those orders, he will have no criminal record. 

He must also report to a probation officer. Henderson declined to comment after his court appearance. Henderson was joined by Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Brian O’Callaghan.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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