Man who alleges sex-toy threat by OPP officer wants him fired
Published Wednesday, February 13, 2013 12:25PM EST Last Updated Thursday, February 14, 2013 7:33AM EST
TORONTO -- A police officer seen on video allegedly threatening to sexually assault a tow-truck driver with two pink sex toys should be fired, the man said Wednesday.
Standing outside the detachment where he says the incident happened, Jagdis (Mike) Tirbany said he was distressed that criminal charges against the officer had been dropped.
"How many times is he going to get away with something like this?" Tirbany said.
"They think they have a badge and gun and they can do whatever they want to the public because nobody believes us, the regular citizens."
Tirbany, 46, of Toronto, said the incident occurred inside a north-end Ontario Provincial Police detachment where he had gone last March for fingerprinting in light of an assault charge he was facing.
He said he took the video using a "spy pen" because of a history of problems with the officers involved.
The video shows Tirbany having words with Const. Ludgero Cafe, who accuses Tirbany of having a big mouth and a disregard for the law.
Cafe is seen briefly with what appears to be a sex toy in either hand, and suggests they will be used on Tirbany.
"Which one do you want to use, this one or the other one?" Cafe asks him.
"If you ever end up going to jail, in a nice mostly dark place . . . that's exactly what Bubba's gonna do to you; I will personally send a nice text to take care of you in there."
The driver said Wednesday he initially couldn't make sense of what he was hearing because he was so surprised. But he said there was no doubt about what Cafe had in his hands or the nature of the threat.
Tirbany, a married father of three, alleged he was threatened with being sodomized.
"I was shocked. I didn't expect something like that to come out."
Following an investigation by the province's special investigations unit, Cafe was charged with uttering a threat to cause bodily harm.
Crown prosecutor Ian Bulmer confirmed the charge was withdrawn in February.
"It was screened according to ministry Crown policy on charge screening and it was determined that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction," Bulmer said without elaborating.
Cafe could not immediately be reached for comment, but provincial police spokesman Sgt. Dave Woodford said the force has been waiting for the criminal charges to be resolved and the complaints watchdog to wrap up its investigation before delving into the incident.
"It hasn't gone through our professional standards branch yet," Woodford said, adding internal charges could still be pursued if warranted.
Tirbany's lawyer, Davin Charney, said the prosecution should have gone ahead given the video evidence.
"Who would believe that well paid, trained police officers would do such a thing?" Charney said at a news conference outside the detachment.
"It makes me wonder how many times these kinds of incidents are taking place inside police stations across Canada but either going unreported or, if they're reported, the person is not believed."
The case highlights the failure of the current system when it comes to police accountability, Charney said, adding Tirbany should be praised for coming forward.
"Not everybody speaks out against injustices committed by the police. People are afraid of the police."
While the video at one point shows him chuckling, he said he was simply playing along.
"I had to do that because I was in a room cornered by two of them and I was scared for my life there."
At times, the audio from the video is unintelligible and much of it does not show the officers. Parts of it, where little is happening, have been sped up.
Tirbany, who has an unrelated criminal-negligence conviction relating to a vehicle crash, said the incident has left him distraught. As a result, he gave up his towing business, he said.
"It's so personal. It disturbed me in such a way, that I can't function every day."
Tirbany said he expects to file a lawsuit against the police, alleging sexual assault, intimidation, and wrongful interference with his business.
He also said he has complained to the Office of the Interdependent Police Review Director about the conduct of three officers, including Cafe, and expects a written report in the next few weeks.
The complaint alleges the other officers witnessed Cafe's conduct but failed to report the incident.