SIU Concludes Injuries Investigation in Otterville
Case Number: 14-PCI-033
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer with the Oxford Detachment, with a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 42-year-old male in February of this year.
The SIU assigned four investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, three witness officers and one civilian witness were interviewed. The subject officer consented to an interview and provided the SIU with a copy of his duty notes.
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Saturday, February 8, 2014:
- On that morning, the complainant’s wife called the police to their home in relation to a domestic matter.
- The subject officer and a witness officer arrived at the residence, spoke to the parties and decided to arrest the complainant for mischief.
- The complainant was handcuffed without incident; however, as the officers escorted him from the residence he began to act up.
- The arrest took place in the kitchen. As that was happening, the complainant’s wife left the kitchen and joined her children in the living room, closing a glass paned door behind her.
- As the complainant was being escorted past this living room door, the complainant kicked the glass out of the door.
- The subject officer reacted by taking the complainant to the ground.
- As he fell, the complainant struck his head against the front door.
- The complainant said that his head and neck were sore and the officers transported him to hospital to be examined.
- Several hours later, he was diagnosed with fractures to his vertebrae.
Acting Director Martino concluded, “I am satisfied that the force in question was reasonably necessary in the execution of the subject officer’s duty. Having arrested the complainant, the subject officer was entitled to assert control over his movements by forcing him to the ground. The officer says that he acted out of concern for the safety of the complainant’s wife and the children when the complainant kicked out the glass from the interior door. He had reason to be concerned. This was a highly provocative and threatening act. The takedown itself does not appear to have been overly forceful. Indeed, the injuries the complainant seems to have suffered at this time appear to be as much a function of the awkwardness of the fall as they were the amount of force used by the subject officer. In the circumstances, the officer was legally justified in grounding the complainant pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code and there are therefore no grounds for proceeding with charges in this case, notwithstanding the serious injuries the subject officer may have caused in the process.”
The SIU is an independent civilian 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.
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342