Video of man’s attempt to escape Hamilton courthouse emerges


Published November 1, 2023 at 10:59 am

Hamilton's John Sopkina courthouse escape
Police surround Jeffrey Adubofuor who tried to flee his sentencing hearing in Hamilton's John Sopkina courthouse.

Video has emerged of a man’s attempt to escape Hamilton’s John Sopinka courthouse after his sentencing and his capture by police. The video shows him plead with the special constables restraining him that he just wants “to turn over and breathe.”

A man attempted to bolt from the courthouse on Oct. 26, Hamilton police confirmed at the time. According to the service, the man injured three Court Security Special Constables in an attempt to flee his sentencing hearing. All three officers were later taken to hospital, though police did not comment on their conditions.

Several other officers took hold of the man and brought him down. Police did not specify how many officers were involved in the takedown. Likewise, they shared no details of the man’s identity or condition.

However, the man’s lawyer, Selwyn Pieters, shared more details online later that day. Pieters serves as chairman of the Black Legal Action Centre. He said his client, Jeffrey Adubofuor, had been sentenced to just four months in jail, but panicked when he learned this. Adubofuor had been convicted of sharing an intimate video of his ex-girlfriend and keying her car.

Pieters posted three videos to X showing a crowd of police officers surrounding Adubofuor. While Adubofuor is obscured in the video, it does show a group of at least ten cops dealing with someone on the ground. Pieters is kept back by another pair of special constables.

Even if he can’t be seen in the video, Adubofuor can be heard. He tell the officers holding him down, “I cannot breathe now. You have me. Where am I going?” He later tells the officers, “I just want to turn over and breathe.”

The officers continue to surround Adubofuor, loudly talking over each other and to him. After a brief cacophony Adubofuor cries out in pain and yells something “cracked.” At the end of the three-minute video one officer can be heard trying to calm Adubofuor while he is lifted up off the ground.

After police confirmed the incident, Pieters called for a full investigation into what he described as a violent takedown. “A full investigation is required. Was the accused also injured and hospitalized? How was he treated when he had an anxiety attack? Who broke his fingers? Who hit him in the head with a baton? Who dragged him face down along the Court’s hallways? Videos don’t lie. Preserve them.”

Typically, the Special Investigations Unit looks into arrests where the suspect is seriously heard. However, they usually announce when they invoke their mandate to investigate and have not in this case.

Adubofuor had no criminal record prior to his conviction on Oct. 26. He now faces additional charges of escpaing custody and three counts of assaulting a police officer.

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