Man weeps after seeing video of Halifax officer allegedly striking him

A homeless man wept Wednesday after watching a video of a police officer allegedly strike him in the face outside a Halifax shelter.

Joseph (Patrice) Simard was testifying at the trial of Const. Laurence Gary Basso on charges of assault and falsifying information in Halifax police reports.

The video shows an officer approach Simard as he sat on a milk crate outside the Metro Turning Point shelter.

The 55-year-old Simard had been asked to leave the shelter due to drinking alcohol in his bed.

After a conversation, the officer puts on his gloves, appears to take hold of Simard’s backpack and holds the homeless man by the shoulder.

The homeless man is seen on his knees, and the video shows the officer swinging his arm and striking Simard in the face, and he drops heavily to the ground.

The Serious Incident Response Team has alleged Basso hit the man and broke his nose as he attempted to arrest him at the shelter on Feb. 25.

Defence lawyer James Giacomantonio has told court there is evidence from the video that Simard tried to strike Basso first.

In his testimony, Simard said he was frightened of leaving the shelter because he worried about not being safe in the cold weather, and he asked Basso to take him to the “drunk tank” for the night.

Simard told prosecutor Sylvia Domaradzki he can remember little beyond the officer telling him the police station is “not a hotel.”

He testified the next thing he recalled was being at the police station the next day with an aching head.

After recurring headaches and pain in his head, Simard said he eventually received a diagnosis that he had a broken nose, and he realized from looking in a mirror that he had a black eye.

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