MEDICINE HAT, AB – A Medicine Hat police officer accused of using excessive force during an arrest in 2015 has been found not guilty of all charges.
Constable Darren Holeha was accused of misconduct in relation to a traffic stop on August 24, 2015.
Ron Eresman was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. According to testimony at the hearing the officer asked Eresman for his drivers license, but the then 68-year-old refused to provide it.
The incident led to a physical confrontation between him and the officer during the arrest.
Eresman suffered injuries during the altercation including scrapes and bruises. He claimed the officer hit his head against the police car, and punched him in the side of the head before “throwing” him into the police car. He subsequently filed a complaint about the officer’s conduct with the Medicine Hat Police Service.
Holeha was facing nine counts relating to, unlawful arrest, use of force and misconduct.
During the decision hearing on Thursday, the presiding officer said Eresman's version of events was unreliable. He added the complainant’s testimony differed from his statement to police and what he said to his witnesses.
Erresman was described has hostile and unpredictable during the incident. The Presiding officer said based on the evidence, the injuries Eresman sustained were most likely from being pulled from the vehicle he was driving when he was arrested by Constable Holeha.
The ruling found Constable Holeha not guilty of all nine charges.
Inspector Brent Secondiak said Eresman does have the ability to appeal the decision.
“There’s only two people that can appeal this process, the police officer or the complainant,” Secondiak explained. “In this case if the complainant chose to appeal to the Law Enforcement Review Board, or LERB in Edmonton, then he would be welcome to do that.”
Eresman was at the hearing Thursday afternoon at the Medicine Hat Police detachment, however he declined to comment on the ruling at this time.
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