87-year-old London, Ontario, man allegedly roughed up by cops - police chief defends his men...

87-year-old London, ON, man allegedly roughed up by cops

Updated
4:36 pm, July 26th, 2013
8:30 pm, July 25th, 2013

LONDON, Ont. - An 87-year-old London, Ont., man was handcuffed and allegedly pushed face first into the ground by police officers sent to his home after his wife who has Alzheimer's told passersby a "bad man" was in her home Monday.

Serge Zubko was sitting in the home he built, watching television, when police came to his door and roughed him up.

But Zubko - cuts and bruises all over his face and hands and facing a charge of assault - fears most that his wife will be taken away and put in a nursing home because of the traumatic event.

"I can't sleep. It's over and over and over (thinking) ... After 60 years in this country why at the end did this happen to me?" he said. "I'm an 87-year-old man. I don't need the police to come over and beat me up like that."

Zubko said the chain of events started about 9 p.m. when his wife, who speaks mostly Polish, left the house and got the attention of three girls walking by when she said there was a "bad man" in the house.

Someone called police. They tried to speak to Zubko's wife, but she doesn't speak English. So they went to the house and knocked on the window, Zubko said.

"I get up, and hear a harsh voice saying ‘Do you live here?' It startles me. Whose business is it?" said Zubko, recalling the incident and saying he didn't realize at first it was police at the window.

"I answered with a question: ‘Can't you tell (that I live here)?."

The voice said to come outside.

When he got to the door, he said, he saw the officers, but also his wife near a police cruiser at the road. He instinctively tried to move toward her, but officers blocked him, yanking his hands behind his back to arrest him, he said.

And then, Zubko said, they shoved him face down onto the driveway.

"It hurt like hell," he said, adding he couldn't help but cry in pain and shout for help as he begged the officers to uncuff him.

His lawyer, Bill Dewar, said police "should have known his wife was an Alzheimer's patient," and even if they wanted to arrest Zubko, they could have done so with less force.

Police said Zubko was "unco-operative" and pushed the officers more than once. They stand by the charge against him for allegedly assaulting the officers, London police Const. Ken Steeves said.

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