By: Tony Van Alphen
“I hurt people . . . and then I make their cocaine f—ing appear,” the armed constable barks into the face of the burly, young man. “You see how I work. . . . See what I do.”
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The 8½-minute video, which appeared recently on YouTube, also features the constable appearing to provoke the bald man into hitting him during the sometimes tense grilling beside a house in Oshawa in late 2011.
The Star is not aware of the context of the incident outside what is seen in the video.
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“Shut your f—ing mouth and do something . . . do something please, do f—ing something . . . take a swing, so I can. . . ” says the constable in the video which is barely audible at several points.
Durham police disciplined the constable, who uses the f-word more than three dozen times in the video, for discreditable conduct over the incident. He remains on the force’s “front lines.”
A source familiar with one of the house’s occupants said they set up and filmed videos of police visits after officers had been “harassing” them there for weeks.
In the video, two other officers and another man stand idly by while the seemingly irate constable moves closer to the man, forcing him to step back. The constable appears to frisk the man for drugs, lays a gloved hand on his shoulder and shakes it which prompts the other officers to move in closer.
The man remains calm and doesn’t say much. But as the berating continues, the man asks the constable why he is acting that way.
The constable, who describes the man as “tough guy” counters that he is tiring of his “chirping” and “showing attitude” and instructs him to show more courtesy or there would be consequences.
“You see me again, you’re f—ing . . . ‘Yes sir, no sir, three bags full . . . whatever the f— you want. . . . Can I do a back flip?’ ” the constable says. “Whatever I say, right?”
The constable then says he will file criminal charges of assault against the man if there was more “attitude” from him.
“You give me attitude and I’m gonna f—ing drag you uptown. I’m gonna say you assaulted me. I’m gonna say you threatened me.”
Durham police disclosed that the constable arrived in the area near the city’s downtown in response to a “serious public safety issue.”
Police spokesman Dave Selby would not elaborate or divulge other circumstances surrounding the incident. But in the video, the constable suggests the man is familiar to police.
“You have a little history with us?” the officer asks.
Selby said police became aware of the video in April 2012 and the force’s professional standards branch immediately started an investigation into the officer’s conduct.
Police Chief Mike Ewles penalized the officer a month later. The force will not name the officer or discuss the discipline because it did not involve a formal hearing under the Police Services Act.
“As this was dealt with internally and not subject to a hearing under Part V (of the act), I am not at liberty to discuss further details,” Selby said in an email.
“I can’t identify the name of the officer involved, but after being disciplined, he remains employed with us as a front line police officer.”
Under the act, a police chief may resolve such an issue informally without a hearing if he or she believes it was not of “a serious nature.”
Two sources familiar with the force identified the officer in the video as veteran patrol constable James (Jamie) Ebdon.
A Facebook page with the name “Jamie Ebdon” shows he has raised funds for fallen soldiers in the past and wheels around in a black Ford Mustang with 620 horsepower.
An internal “disposition report” on wrongdoing within the Durham force shows the force charged an officer with discreditable conduct and penalized him with forfeiture of pay for 24 hours of work on two shifts in May 2012. It is the same time that the force said the officer in the video received a penalty and the only internal discipline that month.
“Officer was disrespectful and rude to a member of the public,” adds the report, obtained by the Star.
Ebdon could not be reached for comment despite numerous calls and messages to his police station.
One former senior law enforcement official, who has handled misconduct by officers internally in the past, said the actions in the video are “not very professional and discredit police work.”
He noted the internal discipline appeared appropriate but the incident could have led to criminal charges against the officer had a victim stepped up.
“You need a victim who was willing to testify,” said the former official. “The officer has a gun so the charge could be assault with a weapon. But does the guy feel threatened. In this case, we don’t know that.”
Selby of Durham police said the force did not receive any public complaints about the video