News Local

Man feared for life

Tracy McLaughlin - Special to the Examiner
Tracy McLaughlin Photo - A photo of Michael Ullman, who was allegedly assaulted by three Barrie police officers in July 2009. The officers  trial is underway.

Tracy McLaughlin Photo - A photo of Michael Ullman, who was allegedly assaulted by three Barrie police officers in July 2009. The officers trial is underway.

A 63-year-old retired engineer testified in a Barrie court Tuesday that three police officers entered his house without a search warrant and brutally beat him.

"I thought they were going to kill me," said Michael Ullman. "Honestly, I thought they were going to kill me."

Now on trial, Constables Kevin Calleja, Nathan Bowman and Marco Coniglione of the Barrie Police Service have each pleaded not guilty to charges of assault causing bodily harm stemming from an incident that occurred inside Ullman's home July 6, 2009.

Ullman, received a shattered arm and injuries to other parts of his body. Justice Michael Block has refused the media any access to the court exhibit photos of his injuries.

On the witness stand, Ullman told the court of his long history as an engineer for Irving Oil, Inco, Ontario Hydro and Labatt's.

Ullman also told the court of his "rocky relationship," with his sister and how he asked her to leave his house after an afternoon barbecue at his home on 157 Esther Dr. that day. He said she left and he thought that was the end of it, not knowing she later called police with a complaint.

Suddenly, he said, the three police officers burst through his front door, then closed the door behind them.

"I asked them if they have a warrant to come into my house - I thought I had the right to ask that," said Ullman.

Before his next comment, Ullman asked the judge for permission to use course language, then testified the officer responded, "shut the f--- up," then started beating him.

"He punched me in the face and head ... then I felt a blow to the back of my neck that felt like an electric shock," said Ullman, who told the court he suffers from a previous neck injury where three discs were surgically fused.

"I fell to the floor. There were punches and kicks coming from all sides."

"How many officers were involved in this punching and kicking?" asked Crown prosecutor Robin Flumerfelt.

"All three of them," said Ullman, looking at the three officers who sat in the front of the courtroom.

He said the officers cuffed his hands behind his back, causing excruciating pain to his broken arm.

One witness, Milentie Titicofan, of Toronto, a long-time friend who popped in to visit, testified he walked in the door to see his friend on his knees with one officer punching him in the back, but stopped when he walked in.

"I was in shock," said Titicofan, clearly upset with what he saw.

Another witness, next-door neighbour Charles Tonna, testified he was in his backyard when he heard Ullman ask his sister to leave.

"He asked two or three times. He asked her politely," said Tonna.

A short time later, he said he saw Ullman being escorted from his home by police while hunched over with his hands cuffed behind his back.

"He looked very disoriented," said Tonna, who said he was deeply disturbed by the scene.

In court, the Crown also played a video that showed a battered, limping Ullman being taken into the police station, gasping in pain.

"How can you people do this?" he laments as he slumps on a bench. "You are supposed to be police officers - the best of the best."

He was later taken to hospital. Court heard Ullman has no criminal record and was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, other than his heart medication.

Ullman will be back on the witness stand today.

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