Gets conditional discharge for pushing prisoner who taunted him with racial slurs
By TRACY MCLAUGHLIN, SPECIAL TO SUN MEDIA
ORILLIA -- An OPP officer was given a conditional discharge yesterday after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a prisoner who called him a "f---ing n----er" while in a fit of drunken rage in his cell.
Const. Carl Nowlin, 33, was charged with assault after the incident occurred in the cells of the Orillia OPP detachment April 9, 2008.
Court heard Nowlin, a member of the OPP Emergency Response Team, was assisting in transporting a prisoner from London, Ont., to Orillia when another intoxicated prisoner started yelling a slew of degrading racial remarks and banging wildly on the cell bars.
Nowlin admitted he entered the prisoner's cell and shoved him, causing the man to stagger backward a couple of inches.
"Mr. Nowlin was treated that way because he was born black ... I can't imagine being yelled at just because I am a white guy," said Nowlin's lawyer, Leo Kinahan.
He said the inmate, Terry Mosses, who had been arrested for theft, was extremely intoxicated. "He was acting like an orangutan," said Kinahan.
Kinahan said Nowlin has an "outstanding" record as a cop, and worked on the front lines in the Caledonia dispute and also helped take down a man who shot and killed a person on Dundas Square in Toronto during the Caribana festival in 2005.
"Const. Nowlin made a two-second lapse in judgment," said Kinahan, who asked the judge for an absolute discharge. "This is not a man who deserves a criminal record."
In court, Nowlin stood before the judge in a suit and tie and apologized.
"This will never happen again," said Nowlin. "I have embarrassed my family and my unit." He also apologized to Mosses (who has since passed away) and his family.
Justice Robert McCreary agreed the shove was a low-end assault, but added Nowlin was not entitled to go into that cell. He sentenced him to a six-month conditional discharge, which will leave Nowlin without a criminal record in six months.
Outside of court, Kinahan said he did not think the incident should have led to criminal charges.
"I think we tend to forget that police officers are human beings who have feelings just like the rest of us," he said. "I mean the entire incident took two seconds. But I guess the Police Services Act people decided it should be handled this way."
The Toronto Sun