SIU Director Finds Force Reasonable in Arrest of Naked Man in Guelph
Case Number: 15-OCI-154
Other News Releases Related to Case 15-OCI-154
(5 July, 2016) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit has found that a Guelph Police officer’s used of force was reasonable in the arrest and injury of a naked man last July.
Four investigators and one forensic investigator were assigned to this incident.
The complainant, 11 civilian witnesses, and four witness officers were interviewed. The subject officer also participated in an SIU interview but did not provide a copy of his duty notes, as is his legal right.
The SIU investigation found the following:
- Around 9:30 a.m. on July 15, 2015, Guelph Police Service officers were dispatched to Macdonell Street following numerous reports of a naked man walking along the street.
- Two officers located the man as he walked down the entrance ramp of a City of Guelph Parkade.
- The officers approached the man, who had opened the door of a van and was rummaging through the contents.
- The man did not respond to the officers’ questions, and the officers apprehended the man under the Mental Health Act.
- Once handcuffed, the man became combative and kicked out at one of the officers four times, hitting the officer once.
- The subject officer struck the man once, and the man became compliant.
- The man was transported to Guelph General Hospital and diagnosed with a fractured nasal bone.
Director Loparco said, “The subject officer was on sound footing when he decided to apprehend the man pursuant to the Mental Health Act. The man’s bizarre behaviour combined with non-responsiveness was sufficient to justify the officer’s concern for the man’s safety. The only issues I need to determine are whether the force employed to carry out the apprehension was necessary, and if so, did it go beyond what was required in the circumstances.
“The subject officer delivered a strike in response to the man lashing out physically and kicking another officer. The purpose of the strike was to subdue the man and the single punch immediately achieved that aim. No other force was applied after the punch.
“The subject officer refrained from using more significant use-of-force equipment available to him (pepper spray and a conducted energy weapon) and, during an interview with the SIU, provided a rational explanation for why he employed the mode of force that he did, specifically noting that pepper spray was inappropriate in the confined area where the incident occurred and the man’s lack of clothing made it difficult to grab hold of him.
“Therefore, it cannot be said that the subject officer’s use of force exceeded the parameters set out under s. 25(1) of the Criminal Code. As a result, no charges will issue.”
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.
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