Nearly a month ago the story of a Niagara police officer assaulting a photographer in a St. Catherine’s bar made the headlines.
Niagara Police Attack Photographer May 27 2012
“The patron said police came into the bar because they had received a complaint from neighbours about the music being too loud. One officer shone a light into the face of the DJ and he casually pushed it away from his face, the patron said.
Another officer “maliciously grabbed him by the throat, digging his nails into his throat, and he slowly walked him out of the bar,” he added.
The patron said a female officer was also involved. He said people were confused because officers were giving different orders.
The patron said a person began taking pictures, but it upset police.
“He literally dropped his camera, put his hands behind his head and said he didn’t want any trouble. Multiple witnesses saw that happen. They shoved him to the ground, his camera broke off his neck, they grabbed that and smashed it again.”
The patron said even after the photographer was on the ground, he kept telling the police he didn’t want any trouble.
“Some of the people were telling police they were being abusive. The photographer was just documenting that abuse. It was so clear that they just turned to him and didn’t like the fact he was doing that,” said the patron.”
It is also important to note that Michael Farkas (the victim of the police assault), who was working that night as a paid photographer. Sustained injuries that included a broken nose, a fractured orbital bone and a fractured cheekbone. A large pool of blood was left on the pavement. But he did not receive any medical attention before or after being placed in his cell that night. It wasn’t until he was released on bail that he made it to a hospital.
After the SIU investigation, that took place over the last month. Const. Paul Zarafonitis (seen in the picture below) is facing one charge of assault causing bodily harm. He is scheduled to appear in court in St. Catharines on Aug. 1.
Which is a great start. But when a man who was not acting illegally sustains such tremendous injuries from the actions of a violent police officer, then does not even receive the obviously needed medical attention that he required. That falls on the shoulders of all the officers involved in the case, all of the officers who were on duty in the holding area of the police station and the system itself!