From the outside view looking in, it would appear that Niagara Regional Police Constable Nathan Parker has an anger management issue.
This is not the first time that Constable Parker has faced the disciplinary board for his over-reaction to a situation. In June of 2006 he was found guilty of using excessive force after he pepper-sprayed a teenager who was handcuffed in the back of his police cruiser.
Parker's latest run-in with the Niagara Regional Police disciplinary tribunal is over his [alleged] abusive treatment of a cyclist on May 6, 2008. His misconduct hearing has him facing charges of arresting Pino Carbonara unlawfully and without sufficient cause.
The facts of the case get a little murky, since Constable Parker sees himself as above the law and is willing, it appears, to say anything to make his actions palatable to the disciplinary board.
Carbonara's recount of the events that May day have the ring of truth however, which doesn't bode well for Parker.
As the St. Catherines Standard reports:
Under examination by NRP Insp. Lorne Lillico, Carbonara maintained he was riding about one metre from the curb, when Parker drove past him very quickly and extremely close.
"It was a reckless move, in my opinion," he said.
Carbonara testified he gestured at the driver with his left hand and swore at him.
That's when the driver hit his brakes and got out of his SUV, he said.
Carbonara said the male grabbed hold of his jersey and his handle bars and began shouting at him that he was under arrest for damaging his vehicle.
The tribunal heard Parker placed a handcuff on one of Carbonara's wrists and forced him to the ground while at least one of his cycling shoes was still locked in to his pedals.
Parker claimed under oath that he believed Carbonara had intentionally tried to damage his vehicle, a fact I find hard to believe given Parker's vehicle would have sped by the cyclist before he'd have had a chance to do anything but maintain his own safety while the off-duty cop's vehicle nearly wiped him out.
But that's Parker's story and he's sticking with it. And he's got the badge and the gun, so that makes him right. As Parker basically says in his own words, he was willing to use anything to make an example out of the cyclist who dared be upset at nearly being run over by Constable Parker.
Despite the lack of property damage, Parker told the hearing he believed his arrest of Carbonara and the amount of force he used during the arrest were both justified.
"My perception was that he made contact with the vehicle, so causing criminal mischief and damage to property," he said.
Yeah, okay. Let me paraphrase for you, gentle readers...
"I'm the cop. I've got the badge and the gun. That makes me right."
We've seen this mentality many times before, sadly, hacen't we?
RCMP constable Desmond Sandboe, RCMP Const. Jack Cunningham, the Winnipeg SWAT team's overreaction, Toronto Constable Babak Andalib-Goortani, RCMP Constable Geoff Mantler and RCMP Corporal Benjamin (Monty) Robinson are just half a dozen cases that come quickly to mind.
When Carbonara's lawyer suggested that Parker had abused his authority in arresting his client and was now trying to cover his tracks, Constable Parker said only this:
"I did not cover up my actions."
One of Constable Parker's superior officers, Staff Sgt. Chris Scotland disagreed with how Parker handed himself in this case, and some time after Carbonara was arrested Scotland ordered the charge against Carbonara dropped and that the cyclist be released unconditionally.
That's a pretty strong statement from the Blue Wall that your actions were out of line, don't you think Constable Parker?
When your own supervisors won't back your play, one would think you'd get the message that you've been out of line.
Naturally, Parker is upset that Carbonara has brought an official complaint against him, as well as a civil suit.
I guess you shouldn't act like such a colossal jerk if you don't want to suffer the consequences of your actions, Constable Parker.