Robert Schisler was in his van parked at the curb in Toronto's gay village on July 22, 1999 and was exchanging a kiss with his boyfriend when several men began ratting on the door.
As they dragged him from the vehicle Schisler feared he was the victim of a gay bashing. None of the men identified themselves as police officers and none were in uniform.
Schisler was was charged with dangerous driving and assault resisting arrest. He went to court to fight the charges, and won on the ground that police had violated his constitutional rights. It cost him $40,000 in legal bills to get exonerated.
He then sued the Toronto Police Services and the officers who arrested him.
During the trial two of the officers denied they had targeted Schisler because he is gay. Both officers said that the van was "rocking" and they went to investigate. Ironically one of the officers is now with a suburban force where he is on the diversity team.
This week the jury found the 51-year-old was improperly arrested but that there was no excessive use of force and no malicious prosecution on charges.
Nevertheless, the jury awarded Schisler $452,000, the largest amount ever given in a suit against Toronto police.
The 51 year old contractor wept as the jury announced its verdict.
"Mr. Schisler, it's obvious to me from the findings that the jury believed you and the vindication you were seeking was given to you," Justice Paul Rivard said. "I so wish you well and ask you to get on with your life."