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News Release

SIU Concludes Injury Investigation in Russell County

Case Number: 12-PCI-337

Mississauga (31 December, 2012) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an Ontario Provincial Police officer with any criminal offence in relation to the injury sustained by a 30-year-old woman in November of 2012.

The SIU assigned two investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident.  As part of the investigation, four witness officers and one civilian witness were interviewed. The subject officer provided his notes and an interview to the SIU. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Thursday, November 15:
• On this date, a woman was arrested at her home for breaching a term of her recognizance related to non-consumption of alcohol.  She was taken to the Rockland OPP detachment and lodged in the cells.
• While in her cell, the woman repeatedly covered the lens of the cell’s closed circuit television camera with toilet paper.  This led to a series of officers entering her cell and removing the toilet paper.  At one point, she was transferred to an adjacent cell in which the toilet paper was removed. However, she continued to engage in this activity with some other paper she either had on her person or found in the cell. 
• The subject officer and a witness officer entered the cell and removed the paper from the camera lens.  The subject officer remained for a moment to speak to her, and then left the cell.  He closed the door with his hand on the cell key, and locked it.  As he walked away, he heard the prisoner yelling. He checked the cell monitor and realized something was amiss.  The subject officer immediately returned to the cell, opened the door, and saw blood flowing from the woman’s right hand.  It became clear that she had placed her right hand on the cell door or door frame in a manner that caused the door to crush the baby finger on her right hand.  The subject officer calmed her down and placed a bandage on the injured finger. 
• Paramedics were called and the woman was transported to Montford Hospital where she was diagnosed as sustaining a comminuted (crushed) fracture of the fifth digit on her right hand.

Director Scott said, “In my view, the subject officer did nothing wrong.  He had a legitimate reason for entering the woman’s cell.  There is no suggestion that he was aware that the prisoner might place her hand on either the cell door or door frame in a manner that would cause this injury.  The only reasonable inference to draw is that the woman either advertently or inadvertently put her hand between the closing cell door and the frame causing this comminuted fracture when the subject officer unsuspectingly closed the cell door.”

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342