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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Injuries Sustained by Man in Mitchell

Case Number: 12-PCI-335

Mississauga (3 January, 2013) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any officer with the Ontario Provincial Police Sebringville detachment with a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 56-year-old man in November of 2012.

The SIU assigned three investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, three witness officers and two civilian witnesses were interviewed. Both subject officers declined to be interviewed or provide a copy of their duty notes, as is their legal right.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Saturday, November 10:
• At approximately 1 a.m., the man left a bar in Mitchell and walked across the street to his car. One of the subject officers observed the man and formed the opinion that he may have been drinking alcohol because he was unsteady on his feet. As a result, the officer followed the man to his residence on Albert Street. 
• Upon arrival at the residence, the man exited his vehicle and walked toward his front door. The officer approached him and asked him to accompany him to his cruiser to provide a breath sample. The man made it clear that he did not intend to accompany the subject officer, and a struggle ensued near the walk-in door to the garage. The subject officer called for assistance, and the second subject officer arrived. They continued to struggle with the man who was, by that point, at the cruiser passenger door. He was refusing to enter the cruiser. 
• Another officer attended and deployed pepper spray in the man’s face, but it did not appear to have any effect. The two subject officers then took the man to the ground, and they both applied knee strikes to his rib area. The three officers managed to manipulate the man’s hands around to his back and apply handcuffs. 
• The man was taken to the local OPP Sebringville detachment where he provided breath samples, and complained that he was having difficulty breathing. 
• He was transported to the Stratford General Hospital where he was diagnosed as sustaining three rib fractures and a collapsed lung. 

Director Scott said, “In my view, the subject officers were justified in their use of force in these circumstances. The first officer had the lawful authority to demand a breath sample once he reasonably concluded that the man had alcohol in his system. While we do not have the benefit of a statement from the officer, I infer that he had reasonable grounds to believe the man had alcohol in his body based upon his observation of the man leaving a bar unsteady on his feet at 1 a.m. in the morning, and then drive a car. The officer also had the grounds to enter onto the man’s property to demand the breath sample. It is clear that the man put up significant resistance to the subject officers’ attempts to detain him after the demand was given, leading them to grounding him and using knee strikes causing the injuries in question. Given the man’s level of resistance, I am of the opinion that the force used was not excessive, notwithstanding the serious injuries it caused.”

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