Written by Gary Dimmock for Ottawa Citizen.
A former Hells Angel is suing Ottawa police for false arrest, alleging he was charged with illegally possessing weed even after he showed officers a medical marijuana licence issued by Health Canada for treatment of his post-traumatic stress disorder.
In a statement of claim filed in Ottawa court, Michael Clairoux says he injured himself when he fell during a panic attack while in custody following the arrest on July 1, 2014. As well, he says, the arrest has aggravated his PTSD symptoms.
According to the statement, Clairoux was watching a Canada Day music show in the ByWard Market when two police officers took exception to his Hells Angels T-shirt and told him to leave. Clairoux, 42, claims he offered to go to a friend’s to change his shirt, but was told by Const. Nick Benard that he could not return.
As Clairoux and his friends left, police demanded that one person show identification, according to the court filing. Clairoux told his friend that police had no legal right to ask for ID and he didn’t have to comply, the statement says.
“Officers became angry and continued to insist that (the friend) identify himself and provide a driver’s licence or identification,” according to the claim filed by lawyer Bruce Simpson.
The filing says Clairoux, who had begun to experience a “high level of anxiety and feared a panic attack,” reached for his medical marijuana. He showed police his licence but was arrested for illegal possession anyway, according to the claim.