Court Holds One Officer Accountable, Acquits Other, As Both Faced Charges of Assaulting Mohawk Man

December 20, 2023

 Today, Justice Patrick Hurley of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released his decision in the assault case against Constables Paul Fyke and Jeffrey Smith of the Belleville Police Service. Constables Fyke and Smith were both charged with assault causing bodily harm. These charges stem from an incident at a Taco Bell in Belleville on November 15, 2019, where they assaulted Mario Baptiste Jr., a Mohawk man residing on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

During the altercation Mr. Baptiste was forcibly removed from his table at the restaurant, forced to the ground and restrained. During the restraint, Mr. Baptiste lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital.

The judgement of Justice Hurley came after two weeks of trial proceedings in the matter, which began on October 10th, 2023, and concluded on November 16th, 2023. Constable Smith was found guilty of assault, while Constable Fyke was acquitted.

Mr. Baptiste, commented on the verdict saying:

“While I am pleased that the court found that the officers had no grounds to arrest me for theft, and that Constable Smith has been found guilty of an assault, I am left confused as to how Constable Fyke, who was the catalyst for this entire traumatic experience that I suffered, has escaped any type of liability.”

Legal Counsel for Mr. Baptiste, Asha James of Falconers LLP, said:

“It is clear that Mario Baptiste was profiled and targeted by Constable Fyke, and it is troubling that he has not been held accountable for his conduct in these events. We are hopeful that the conviction of Constable Smith sends a message that this type of vigilante policing is not acceptable.”

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Related Documents:

Baptiste – Fresh as Amended Statement of Claim – July 6, 2022

Defendants – Amended Statement of Defence – September 30, 2022

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