Elderly man claims he was roughed up by RCMP
An elderly Coquitlam man says he was unnecessarily roughed up and humiliated by RCMP officers -- all because he was jaywalking.
Eighty-three-year-old Zdenek Smejkal, a retired university professor, was made to lie on the ground, arrested and handcuffed, and put in the back of a police cruiser because officers said they felt endangered by the senior.
"He did come toward [the officer] with this metal rod in a very aggressive manner," RCMP Corp. Peter Thiessen said. "She was successful in removing it, and tried to secure an arrest to determine exactly what the problem was, whether it was a medical problem, a mental problem."
The problem was medical as Smejkal, a Czech immigrant who was imprisoned by the former communist regime in that country, has a prostate condition and needed a bathroom. When he tried to urinate in a bush, officers confronted him, He later lost control of his bladder while lying on the ground and again in the back of the cruiser.
"They called help! For a second car. Yes, I was a dangerous man on the ground in handcuffs. What can I do? I go to the bushes and they attack me from behind and put me in handcuffs! What can I do?" Smejkal said. "I asked 'please allow me to pee.' And I peed myself on the ground, the in the car for the second time."
A witness to the arrest named Sandra said police overreacted and said he did not seem combative or agitated.
"No from what I saw it didn't seem like it, he may have had a cane in his hand," Sandra said.
Smejkal said he was cut and bruised, as well as humiliated, which for him is the hardest part.
"An old man, foreign, university professor, lying on the ground," he said. "Please imagine this, I was in the communist Czechoslovakia in the opposition... Never any policeman touch me."
Thiessen said Smejkal had been charged with disobeying a crosswalk.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Rob McKee.