An Ottawa police officer has pleaded guilty to disciplinary charges against him after threatening to kill his former tenant and sell the man’s child during an off-duty dispute over late rent payments.
On Monday, Constable Nermin Mesic pleaded guilty to two counts of discreditable conduct under Ontario’s Police Services Act. The act is often invoked for investigations or charges against police officers in the province in addition to or instead of being charged under the Criminal Code.
In February 2016, Mesic’s tenant, who has since been evicted, contacted Gatineau, Quebec police after Mesic ordered the man into his vehicle and drove him around threatening to kill him, feed him to fish, and sell his son, according to an agreed statement of facts as reported by the Ottawa Citizen.
Mesic’s tenant told Gatineau police that the dispute began when Mesic arranged to meet the man to discuss his late rent payments. After meeting in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons in Gatineau, Mesic, who was off-duty, ordered his tenant into his vehicle, according to the report.
Before entering Mesic’s vehicle, the tenant started an audio recording on his phone that documented Mesic’s threats. The recording, heard by the Ottawa Citizen, captured Mesic yelling at the man over the late rent payments and threatening his life if he did not come up with the money.
“I don’t care. I don’t care. Sell your kid. I don’t give a shit. Make your wife do something,” Mesic said in the recording. “I guarantee you I’m going to spill blood.”
After asking the tenant if he knew what a “desperate man” like himself is capable of, Mesic drove to a dead-end street and ordered the man to exit his vehicle.
“People for money, they kill right?” Mesic asked his tenant, before ordering the tenant back into his vehicle.
Mesic then resumed driving and continued threatening the man’s life. “I’m going to bury you. I’m going to feed you to the fish. OK. With a big brick around your neck. Do you understand that?”
He also threatened to “fucking take [the tenant’s] kid” and “sell it” if the tenant told anybody about his behavior during the dispute.
After Mesic dropped the tenant off in a church parking lot and stated that the tenant had a day to come up with the rent money, the tenant then handed over the audio recording of the dispute to Gatineau police.
The following day, Mesic called the tenant and threatened to hang him. The tenant recorded the phone call and handed the recording over to the police.
On Feb. 7, 2016, Mesic was criminally charged by Gatineau police with uttering threats, forcible confinement, assault, and intimidation.
One day later, he was put on paid suspension by the Ottawa Police Service.
Mesic pleaded guilty to uttering threats and was given an absolute discharge in February 2019, according to the Ottawa Citizen, leaving him with no criminal record.
Under Ontario’s Police Services Act, most recently amended in March 2019, “suspensions with pay may be imposed pending the final disposition of certain proceedings” whereas “suspensions without pay may be imposed in more limited circumstances.”
Ottawa police said Mesic was paid a yearly salary since being suspended. According to Ontario’s sunshine list, Mesic made over $100,000 in 2017, 2018, and 2019. He was also paid an undisclosed amount in 2016, according to the Ottawa police.
Mesic’s suspension was lifted in July 2020, and no disciplinary sentence has yet been rendered.
In July 2009, Mesic previously plead guilty to charges of unlawfully exercising authority, discreditable conduct and neglect of duty under Ontario's Police Services Act for slapping a 16-year-old twice across the face, kicking him, and grabbing him by the throat while questioning him on the street, according to a report from the CBC. Mesic did not face criminal assault charges because police could not locate the victim.
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