A 21-year old St. Catharines man who claims he was brutalized by Niagara Police officers made a brief court appearance this morning. Nick Zaidenko says he ended up in the intensive care unit with a brain injury last month. The incident is now being looked at by the province’s special investigations unit.
Mr. Zaidenko walked into the St. Catharines courthouse this morning for a first appearance on assault while resisting arrest – a charge his lawyer Mitchell Worsoff says is groundless. “Police had no reasonable/probable grounds to arrest him for anything and they were simply attempting to investigate him for something.”
The confrontation with police happened around 1 in the morning on March 7th. Zaidenko says he was walking across Market Square when a female officer pulled up beside him and and asked him for identification. He didn’t want to give I.D because he says didn’t do anything wrong. He says she told him she was investigating a crime. She got out of her cruiser and grabbed him. He grabbed her arm – she called for back up. Zaidenko says he was then assaulted by police and taken to the station. He doesn’t remember anything until he woke up in the intensive care unit.
“There are people who resist arrest and the police are allowed to use reasonable force in that case…I’m extremely troubled by the fact my client was walking home – not driving – after consuming some alcohol. Displaying no impairment of any kind – and he ended up in intensive care for the following three days.”
Nick Zaidenko says he suffered a brain injury “I had suffered two seizures. One happened at the hospital – the medic decided to intubate me because he didn’t want any brain damage.”
Mitchell Worsoff says police officers are saying Zaidenko injured himself while in the holding cell.
This incident happened March 7th. The S.I.U says they were not notified by Niagara Police until March 31st. “That’s very suspicious. The entire matter appears to be very suspicious” says Mr. Worsoff
The SIU has identified 7 witness officers, and one subject officer. Niagara Police Inspector Jim Leigh told us the force can’t comment while the SIU investigation is ongoing.
Mitchell Worsoff is asking for surveillance video that shows Nick Zaidenko downtown that night, video that would show whether he was intoxicated or not.