Ottawa Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Misconduct For Punching Teen During Traffic Stop

Mohamed Hamed.

An Ottawa police officer who punched a teen twice in the head and was found to have repeatedly breached the teen’s charter rights has pleaded guilty to police misconduct.

Const. Nikolas Boldirev pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority under the Police Services Act. An Ontario judge had admonished Boldirev in March 2017 in a decision that lambasted the Ottawa Police Service for what the judge said were cavalier and systemic breaches of people’s fundamental rights.

On Aug. 13, 2015, Boldirev pulled over a driver — referred to as “M. H.” in the disciplinary hearing — in the area of Baseline Road and Woodroffe Avenue. The man’s criminal trial heard that Mohamed Hamed, then 19, was allegedly pulled over for not signalling a lane change.

Boldirev — an Ottawa police officer since 2010, who before that served as a Canadian Forces police officer for six years — smelled a strong odour of marijuana during the stop and saw flakes of weed on the floor of the vehicle, according to an agreed statement of facts in his disciplinary hearing.

He arrested Hamed and delivered “soft-hand techniques” to get Hamed to loosen a tense stance so he could get him inside the police car. Yet once Hamed was handcuffed and inside the back of the cruiser, Boldirev admitted in court and at his disciplinary hearing to punching the teen twice — as hard as he could — for no justified reason.

Police prosecutor Insp. Mark Patterson told the hearing that Boldirev co-operated fully with the internal investigation against him and acknowledged his wrongdoing. He has no previous discipline on record and has received commendations for his police work and community involvement.

“It is imperative that the public has faith in the police service,” Patterson said at the hearing.

“It is clear that the amount of force used was beyond what was necessary.”

Patterson also said that because police are permitted to use force, the public demands officer integrity and that they show “discipline and restraint” when exercising their duties.

Boldirev’s misconduct led to the failed prosecution of serious charges, Patterson said. Hamed’s criminal trial heard that after he was punched, Boldirev searched Hamed’s van. Inside a backpack, the officer found a sealed Ziploc bag with more than 200 grams of marijuana, scales, a grinder and a pair of counterfeit $100 bills in Hamed’s wallet.

Boldirev also waited 11 minutes after his arrest to provide Hamed his right to call a lawyer, Ontario Court Justice Julie Bourgeois said in her decision, describing what she called an unlawful arrest, excessive use of force and unreasonable search.

The judge tossed out all of the evidence Boldirev found as a result of the charter breaches and found Hamed not guilty of possessing drugs, resisting arrest and possessing counterfeit money.

Chief Charles Bordeleau launched an investigation into Boldirev’s actions when the criminal court’s decision was released last year. That probe, which was conducted by Ottawa police professional standards investigators, was to “look at any criminal element or criminal act that may have been committed, and also look at any conduct issues identified under the Police Services Act,” Bordeleau said at the time.

Boldirev had also been placed on administrative duties and was to have no contact with the public until the investigation was complete.

Boldirev’s disciplinary hearing did not hear any facts related to how or when Boldirev provided Hamed with his right to legal counsel, nor were any penalties put forth related to charter training.

Both the prosecution and Boldirev’s defence jointly submitted a penalty that would see the officer docked seven days of pay, or 56 hours, and forfeit one day of his off-duty time to undergo use-of-force training.

Boldirev declined to speak at his hearing.

A sentencing decision will be handed down by hearing officer Supt. Chris Renwick on March 21.