Police settle in traffic stop case

Driver who sued over Bay Street arrest
accepts undisclosed sum out of court

Katie DeRosa, Victoria Times Colonist, Nov. 18, 2010


Victoria police have settled out of court and apologized to a man suing for false arrest, false imprisonment and assault in relation to a traffic stop two and a half years ago.

Mike Stebih of Saanich said he was wrongfully arrested by two plainclothes Victoria officers who pulled him over on Bay Street on Feb. 6, 2008.

Stebih demanded the officers show their badges to prove they were police officers and then refused to hand over his ID.

Const. John Musicco and Const. Jennifer Young pulled Stebih from the vehicle, handcuffed him and searched the van.

While Stebih was in the back of the police car, the officers used profane language to describe him, calling him a “f---ing retard” and a “f---ing idiot,” not knowing they were being recorded on a device Stebih had switched on.

The criminal charge of obstruction against Stebih was stayed when the recording revealed inconsistencies between the officers’ testimony and what was really said.

A non-disclosure agreement in the civil suit prevents the department from revealing the size of the settlement, Victoria police spokesman Sgt. Grant Hamilton said.

Police Chief Jamie Graham gave Stebih a letter of apology, acknowledging there were some mistakes made by the officers involved, Hamilton said.

Stebih refused to comment on the settlement.

A Police Act investigation by the Victoria Police Department found the officers guilty of misconduct, but Stebih disagreed with the discipline Graham imposed, Hamilton said.

Stebih appealed the decision and the investigation was handed over to the Delta Police Department. That has concluded, but the two officers have time to review that decision and decide whether they want to dispute it, Hamilton said.

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