Military police broke woman’s hand in ‘shocking’ response to what they were told was a prank call: lawsuit

OTTAWA  — The wife of a soldier at is suing for false , wrongful imprisonment and assault after they busted down her door in the middle of the night and forced her out of bed at gunpoint, then pushed her face down on the floor only to break one of her hands by aggressively pulling her up by the handcuffs, according to a statement of claim.

It was April 8, 2016, at about 2:16 a.m., and military police had been staking out Stratuik’s home for hours after they got a call that there were two dead inside her home, that the back parking lot was rigged with bombs and that there were outlawed guns in the house. During the stakeout, military police enlisted the help of the Ontario Provincial Police, who dispatched a K-9 unit, according to the claim filed in Ontario Superior Court.

But there were no dead bodies. There were no bombs. And there were no outlawed guns.

Military police were advised by the OPP that the call was a hoax, and that there had been similar swatting calls earlier at different locations across Ontario, but they busted down the door with a battering ram just the same, according to the court .

Although the OPP told the military police they had investigated and that the call was a prank, the base police stormed in with guns drawn, according to the claim that has yet to be tested in court. Stratuik was home alone and in bed. Her husband was out of town.

According to the $850,000 claim — plus undisclosed special damages — Stratuik says she was ordered out of bed and on to the floor and told to shut up. She told a military police officer she recently had surgery on her right hand. She said she started to comply but before she could an officer pushed her face down on the floor.

Errol McGihon/Postmedia News
Errol McGihon/Postmedia NewsLawyer Greenspon says his client, Brittany Stratuik, "was in a shocking way" by military police at CFB Petawawa.

She was handcuffed and then yanked up off the floor, causing her severe pain. Her statement of claim includes a surgeon’s confirmation that her hand was broken during the arrest and that the break was unrelated to her previous injury. Surgery was required after the incident. She also nerve damage and has no feeling in her right hand and her fourth and fifth fingers, according to court filings.

Stratuik is seeking undisclosed damages for “assault, arrest and injuries suffered from embarrassment, humiliation, exhaustion, pain and stress due to the events.” Stratuik’s claim says she no longer feels safe in her own home and suffers anxiety attacks.

After they took off her handcuffs, one military police officer told Stratuik that he had “scared the s–t out of” her neighbour after pointing his C8 rifle at him, according to the statement of claim. The same military police officer allegedly told her that it was a “s–tty situation but I was just doing (my) job.”

The Department of National plans to file a statement of .

In an email, a spokesperson said the statement of claim was received last week and “we are currently looking into the allegations.”

Asked for comment, Stratuik’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said: “She was treated in a shocking way and suffered mental and physical damage and that’s the reason for the lawsuit.”

About Gary Dimmock, Ottawa Citizen, Postmedia News