The province’s Special Investigations Unit is appealing for witnesses, after a man says he was beaten by a Niagara Regional Police officer in St. Catharines. The 21 year old’s injuries left him in the intensive care unit. The man at the centre of this special investigations probe is 21 year old Nick Zaidenko. He says he was rushed to the intensive care unit in St. Catharines on March 7th after a confrontation with the Niagara Regional Police.
Mr. Zaidenko told CHCH News reporter Lauran Sabourin that he was walking through Market Square after leaving a downtown St. Catharines bar when a police officer pulled up beside him in a cruiser. She asked for identification – he refused he says because he didn’t do anything wrong. He says the officer got out of her cruiser and that’s when the confrontation began.
Mr. Zaidenko says the officer repeated the request for his i.d. He asked why, and was told they were investigating a crime in the area. He says when the officer grabbed him – he grabbed her arm. The officer called for backup. Other officers pulled up, and that’s when Nick Zaidenko says he was assaulted. He was taken to the police station, put into a cell, and he says he doesn’t remember anything until he woke up in the intensive care unit three days later. Mr. Zaidenko says he suffered head trauma, and since that incident he now suffers seizures. His drivers licence has been suspended because of the seizures. He says he believes the neurological problems were caused by a police assault – but he says information in the hospital report indicates he was hitting his head in the police cell.
Mr. Zaidenkno filed a complaint with the office of the independent police review director, and was interviewed by their investigator at length. Today, the Special Investigations Unit issued a news release asking for witnesses to that March 7th incident in downtown St. Catharines.
Nick Zaidenko says he’s now facing charges of assault and resisting arrest.