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Lawsuit claims cop drew gun, called Surrey woman ‘fat’

  - File photo
— image credit: File photo

SURREY — A Surrey woman is suing the Abbotsford Police Department, City of Abbotsford and three constables, claiming a police officer drew her gun on her, forced her to the ground, hit her and called her “bitch” and “fat” after stopping the plaintiff for allegedly speeding 18 kilometres over in a 50 km/h zone.

None of the allegations contained in the notice of civil claim have been proven in court and the matter is expected to go to trial by jury on April 10, for eight days.

The defendants’ response denies Malkeet Kaur Dhaliwal’s allegations and claims she was “lawfully arrested” and “suffered no loss, injury, damage, or expense as alleged, or at all.”

According to Dhaliwal’s claim, filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver,  the care aide worker was driving along Clearbrook Road on Nov. 27, 2011 when Constable Krys Pappius, driving an unmarked police car, clocked her car at 68 km/h in a 50 km/h zone.

The court document states Abbotsford Police Department Collision Reconstructionists later confirmed the GPS modem in Pappius’ car was defective and had been over-reporting vehicle speeds.

Dhaliwal was 48 at the time, and a widow with two daughters. Her claim describes her as a devout Sikh who does not drink alcohol, smoke, eat meat or consume illegal drugs.

She was wearing a traditional Sikh headscarf at the time, as well as her work scrubs, and it was raining heavily and dark. The Newton woman was on her way to provide home care to a client, the document states.

Her notice of civil claim alleges Pappius pulled her over at King Road and “without any justification or provocation” had her exit her car, “shoved or tripped” her to the ground, “drew her gun and pointed the gun at the plaintiff at close range; and forcefully pinned the plaintiff against the ground and handcuffed her.

“While the plaintiff was on the ground Pappius repeatedly physically and verbally assaulted the plaintiff, in particular striking her and calling her ‘bitch’ and ‘fat,’” the lawsuit alleges. The two other defendant constables are identified only as Toews and Saggu. The plaintiff’s notice alleges the three constables searched her car “without any cause,” and did not give her a Charter warning.

She was ticketed for speeding, failing to stop for police and failing to produce a driver’s licence — all of which was later dismissed, Dhaliwal’s claim states.

The defendants’ response, also filed in court, states that the Abbotsford Police Department “is not a legal entity capable of being sued” and identified the constables as employees of the Abbotsford Police Board, not the City.

It also notes that a Police Act investigation into Pappius’ conduct on Nov. 27, 2011 concluded she “committed the disciplinary defaults of discourtesy and abuse of authority.”

At all material times, the defendants’ response states, Constables Toews and Saggu “acted honestly and without malice in the lawful performance and execution of their duties.”

Dhaliwal is seeking damages for post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, ligament and cartilage damage to her knee, various bruises and abrasions, soft tissue damage, and general pain and suffering. Dhaliwal’s notice of claim states she is also seeking punitive damages “for the defendants’ high handed, callous and reprehensible actions.”

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com.

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