SIU Concludes Injuries Investigation in Rockland
Case Number: 13-PCI-080
Mississauga (24 May, 2013) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any Ontario Provincial Police officer with the Rockland Detachment with a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by 58-year-old Andre Gauthier in March of 2013.
The SIU assigned three investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, four witness officers and three civilian witnesses were interviewed. One of the subject officers provided his duty notes and statement to the SIU. The second officer declined to be interviewed and did not provide his notes, as is his legal right.
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Friday, March 29:
• In the late afternoon hours, an individual approached a group of officers and directed them to a man who was walking in an apparently inebriated state into a restaurant on Laurier Street. The man, Mr. Gauthier, sat on a chair just inside the outside terrace of the restaurant.
• When the subject officers approached him and asked some questions, he was adversarial and uncooperative. One of the subject officers did a pat down search of Mr. Gauthier. He responded by grabbing the officer’s hand. A struggle ensued, and Mr. Gauthier kicked one of the officer’s in the right shin. He was then grounded to the floor of the restaurant patio. He went face down and scraped the right side of his face on the carpet. Mr. Gauthier was then taken to the Rockland OPP detachment.
• Later that evening, Mr. Gauthier was transported to the Ottawa Hospital, General Campus, where he was diagnosed as sustaining a fractured knuckle.
Director Scott said, “In my view, the subject officers had the lawful authority to arrest Mr. Gauthier under s. 31 of the Liquor Licence Act; they reasonably concluded that he appeared to be intoxicated and was a safety concern to himself and others. Once they had the authority to arrest, they had the right to conduct a pat down search which seemed to anger him, leading to his kicking one of the subject officers in the shins. This led to his being grounded, but it is unclear whether the grounding caused his fractured knuckle because he fell off his bicycle earlier that day. Given his level of resistance, I am of the view that the force used by the subject officers was not excessive in these circumstances.”
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
- publicly report the results of its investigations