SIU Concludes Investigation into Custody Injury in Hamilton
Case Number: 08-OCI-143
"On the basis of the medical evidence, it is more likely than not that the broken right leg suffered by the complainant was caused by his fall beside the police van as opposed to the alleged excessive use of force by the subject officer during the arrest," concluded SIU Director Ian Scott.
On July 18, 2008 just before 2 a.m., two uniformed officers in a marked police van attended 78 Stirton Street where an alarm had sounded at a furniture warehouse. The officers drove off after a brief discussion with the business owner, 41-year-old Patrick Gabriel. Mr. Gabriel ran after the van, banging on the side of it with his hand, and shouting that he wanted the officers' badge numbers. The van, however, did not stop; he lost his footing and fell to the roadway. The van continued on a short distance before stopping. Both officers exited the van and approached Mr. Gabriel, who was in the process of getting up off the roadway.
After a brief struggle during which Mr. Gabriel was taken to the ground and handcuffed, the officers arrested him for investigation of public mischief. With the arrival of a police supervisor at the scene and subsequent investigation, Mr. Gabriel was released unconditionally. He later attended hospital where he was treated for a broken right leg and sore ribs.
Mr. Scott added: "The linkage between the arrest/detention on the one hand and the injuries suffered on the other hand is non-existent on my analysis of the event. Accordingly, I cannot form reasonable grounds that the officer caused the leg injury to Mr. Gabriel."
During the course of its investigation, the SIU designated one subject officer and four witness officers for interviews. Also, a canvass of the area was carried out and appeal-for-witnesses' bulletins were posted. SIU investigators obtained documentation from the Hamilton Police Service including: communications audio recording of radio transmissions; event chronology report with times; vehicle damage control log; and, the alarm registry history for 78 Stirton Street in Hamilton. Investigators also reviewed medical records from the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby and Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University Site.
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.