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Raw bystander video shows Toronto police beating man in mistaken arrest

Last Updated Nov 18, 2015 at 8:21 pm EDT

A 21-year-old man is suing Toronto police for $5 million after he claims he was brutally beaten during a mistaken arrest.

In his unproven statement of claim, Santokh Bola says he suffered serious injuries during the Nov. 1 incident in a west-end parking lot, which was caught on video by a bystander.

According to the claim, Bola was on his way to help his grandfather at the family business and was getting out of his car when two officers, guns drawn, approached him.

The video shows the officers attempting to arrest him.

One officer can be seen repeatedly punching Bola in the face and head area while another tries to restrain him.

“I didn’t do anything,” Bola can be heard yelling. “Please, I didn’t do anything.

“Oh my god…let me go, let me go! Sir, I beg you!”

An officer can be heard responding: “No you’re under arrest, put your hands over your head.”

Eventually two more officers arrive on the scene to assist.

The statement of claim alleges that the four arresting officers failed to follow procedure and that they violently assaulted Bola, applying excessive force without reasonable or probable grounds.

Full page photo

Full page photo

Bola’s lawyers also accuse the officers of failing to recognize that Bola has an intellectual disability.

“This young man did nothing wrong. He posed no threat to anyone,” said Michael Smitiuch, one of the lawyers representing the Bola family.

“We believe the video shows an appalling lack of judgement and excessive police force that cannot be justified under any circumstances.”

Toronto police head of corporate communications, Mark Pugash, said Bola matched the description of a person believed to be armed with a knife, calling it “one of the most dangerous calls we get.”

He also said he believed the officers followed protocol in a dangerous situation.

All four of the arresting officers remain on duty.

Pugash said the Special Investigations Unit was not called because Bola’s injuries did not meet the threshold. Pugash also adds that the video only shows part of what happened.

Bola’s attorneys say he was treated at Etobicoke General hospital for “serious head injuries,” emotional trauma and abrasions to the face.

No charges were laid against Bola.

The family of Santokh Bola cries on Nov. 18, 2015, after watching a video of his alleged assault by police. 680 NEWS/Momin Qureshi.

680 NEWS reporter Momin Qureshi was at the Wednesday conference. Read his tweets below:

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