EXTENDED ARTICLE: A British-Australian dual national has filed a formal complaint with police alleging two plain-clothed officers assaulted him on a Bergen roadside, western Norway.
65-year-old Trevor Jonathan Caine tells The Foreigner matters began at approximately 7pm on 2nd May. He was returning home in his company vehicle after helping his father-in-law with a problem at his house and turned into the entrance to Nesttuntunnel.
“A black Mercedes estate car with blacked out windows accelerated from behind and overtook me. An oncoming vehicle exiting from the tunnel ahead had to swerve to avoid a collision and the Mercedes cut sharply in front of my car,” he says.
Mercedes Benz S (illustration photo)
M93/FlickrMr Caine reports he hooted at the driver, and the car accelerated away quickly into the tunnel. He says he came across the Mercedes a little while afterwards. The driver subsequently had a near miss with another car as it was approaching the motorway, according to him.
“I assumed that the driver was either drunk or on drugs and decided that it was my duty to inform the police,” Mr Caine relates, saying both his vehicle and the Mercedes were travelling at 65 km/h at that point.
He says he took out his mobile to take a picture of the car’s number plate and the driver to assist police in their investigations. The Mercedes then slowed down, Mr Cain reports.
“I pulled alongside assuming that he had fallen asleep from the drugs. The Mercedes driver slammed on his brakes and stopped, blocking the inside lane of the motorway, then slowly pulling forward a metre until he was level with my door.”
Mr Caine explains it was when tried to take another picture that his ordeal at the hands of the car’s two occupants began. He describes them as having short hair and dressed in dark-coloured clothes.
“They then turned on a blue light like a police strobe light. The driver got out and opened my passenger door and ordered me to give him my driving licence, acting as if he was a policeman. I don’t understand Norwegian, but I know ‘førerkort’ is a licence,” says Mr Caine, adding the man was neither in standard police uniform nor displaying any identification.
National Mobile Police (illus. ph.)
Norway Ministry of Justice + PoliceAccording to him, the individual concerned did not show any ID and repeated his demand for Mr Caine’s licence, this time in English.
“I told him I am willing to give you my licence if you show me some ID and if we pull over to the side of the motorway to clear the traffic so we can discuss this. I also explained I have photos of your dangerous driving and that is why I don’t believe you are police,” Mr Caine relates, saying he has video evidence too.
The Mercedes driver’s expression then changed, explains Mr Caine, adding the man then reached into his car and grabbed the keys.
“He then went around to the driver’s side of my car opened the door. He no longer showed interest in my licence, his only interest seemed to be in obtaining the evidence I had against him and he ordered me to give him my mobile phone.” The 65-year-old states he refused, as it was evidence.
“He then punched me in the face just below the left eye and grabbed the phone out of my hand. I reached out to try to get the phone back off him but his partner, who had at this time come around the front of my car, grabbed my arm and bent it hard back against the door post and ordered me to get out of the car,” claims Mr Caine.
Trevor Jonathan Caine showing his injuries
Private photoAccording to him, the driver then went through the pictures on the mobile searching for the evidence.
“The driver then joined his partner in bending my arm backwards against the door station. I shouted you’re breaking my arm. They were shouting ‘get out of the car. I was still strapped into my seat by the seat belt, but I managed to loosen it so I could get out.”
Mr Caine recounts he was then pulled out of the car and forced to the ground, declaring that the driver then sat on him with one leg over his hips and rammed his right knee into his chest.
“Both men were struggling to pull my arms back, I assumed to put handcuffs on. I tried to assist them but they were bending my arms the wrong way causing me terrible pain. The driver’s knee moved from my chest up and onto my throat which stopped me from being able to breathe.”
Saying he was unable to talk or explain further at that point, Mr Caine relates he then fell unconscious from asphyxiation.
“When I came around I was handcuffed and the passenger of the Mercedes was kicking me in the ribs. I was paralyzed and could not stop shaking violently with fright. I could hear they were talking about a sykebil (ambulance) and asking me if I was epileptic. I couldn’t answer, but I’m not On several occasions they checked my vital signs and showed concern that I might die they were shouting and sounded like they were panicking.”
A Norwegian ambulance (illustration photo)
© 2007 J. P. Fagerback/Wikimedia CommonsMr Caine adds he is presently recovering from heart flimmer problems, and believed he would suffer a heart attack and pass.
“I heard the ambulance arrive and the police quickly removed handcuffs. From now on I never saw the Mercedes occupants again.”
He explains further that was taken to the emergency outpatients’ clinic (legevakten). There were no reports of uniformed police accompanying him there, according to him.
Personnel performed an ECG due to Mr Caine’s medical history, treated him for facial damage sustained from the driver’s punch, as well as head and face abrasions, he recounts.
“I also had extreme pain in my right shoulder due to the acute angle my arms had been forced into; this was found to be muscle damage and no bones broken. Photos were also taken of my facial injuries and of marks around my wrist which clearly showed where the hand cuffs had dug into my wrist,” he explains, also having requested an alcohol blood test, which indicated zero.
Mr Caine made a formal complaint to the Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs the following day, commencing procedures to bring charges against the two Mercedes occupants.
Superintendent Kjetil Torgersen at the Bureau confirms this took place, and that they sent a letter of receipt acknowledgement to him as standard procedure.
Bureau for Investigation of Police Affa
Jensens/Wikimedia Commons“I can’t issue any more details about the investigation”, he tells The Foreigner, “but we are contacting witnesses and taking statements.
How long do you expect this investigation will take?
“An initial period of two weeks. Lawyers will then sift through the material and decide what to do further. We are probably looking at up to six weeks in total,” says the superintendent, confirming the Mercedes in question is registered to the mobile police force unit.
Mr Caine says he went to the press in the hope witnesses to the incident will come forward formally.
He forwarded The Foreigner a comment one Bergens Avisen (BA) reader had sent to the paper on email. Several other Norwegian-language media have also written about the matter, and Bergens Tidende reports various witnesses have contacted them.
Mr Steffen Oppheim, confirms to The Foreigner he stands for what he wrote to BA, but was not present throughout the incident’s entire events.
“I saw police’s brutal behaviour and can confirm Mr Caine's version. One would think they had caught a major criminal following a lengthy undercover operation. He was cruelly and brutally pulled out of the car and shoved down onto the street with his face downwards to get the handcuffs on him.”
Chief Constable Runar Karlsen
Norwegian Mobile Police/TwitterLeon Nordanger, police chief of western Norway’s District Six mobile units, says his men’s version of the incident differs from Mr Caine’s claims, however.
“Mobile police can confirm that one of our civilian cars was involved in a situation related to the traffic conditions in the Bergen area on Thursday 2 May. We are familiar with what the press writes about the incident. This does not match officers’ presentation of the case and the video evidence available. Amongst other things, the officers identified themselves with police emblems and by using blue lights and sirens,” he writes in a statement.
Officer Nordanger also says on a general basis, the Road Traffic Act permits policemen to use necessary means to perform their duties, such as exceeding speed limits or in the case of suspected dangerous behaviour.
“There’s consequently a continual weighing up the danger police themselves create by waiving the legislative points which the Act makes provision for against uncovering a crime. Police officers have to perform this balancing several times a day,” he adds, expressing full confidence the Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs will conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate
Trevor Jonathan Caine injury
Private photoaction if so deemed.
In the meatime, police have indicted Trevor Jonathan Caine for breaching part of the Road Traffic Act. He is accused of aggressive driving and refusing to show his driving licence to police.
National mobile police Chief Constable Runar Karlsen tells The Foreigner today the officers’ report states Mr Caine also refused to exit his vehicle when asked.