The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) released results of its investigation of an incident February 9, 2020, in Hawkesbury during which a man suffered a broken arm. SIU Director Joseph Martino determined, based on investigation results, there was no reason to file criminal charges against the officers related to the suspect’s injury.
“I am unable to reasonably conclude that the officers acted other than lawfully in taking the complainant into custody,” Director Martino stated in his report on Case 20-PCI-034. “Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against either officer in relation to the Complainant’s injury, and the file is closed.”
The SIU is an independent agency called in to investigate police cases in Ontario where a suspect has suffered injury or death or where sexual assault by a police officer is suspected. Full details of SIU investigations are at www.siu.on.ca/en/directors_reports.php.
Two OPP officers answered a call after midnight, February 9, 2020, concerning very loud music at a suite in an apartment building on Abbott Street in Hawkesbury, and of objects thrown out of an apartment window.
The report stated that police tried to speak to the 39-year-old man who lived in the apartment but he then tried to shut the door on them. When they prevented him from doing so, he then spat on one of the officers.
Police then tried to take the man into custody. During the attempt, the man was forced down onto the floor and handcuffed.
Later the man complained about feeling pain. He was taken to the hospital for examination and diagnosed with a fractured left elbow. The SIU then became involved.
Three SIU investigators were assigned to the case. They interviewed the complainant and also reviewed the medical record on his injury.
The investigators also interviewed two witness officers and three civilian witnesses. One police employee witness was also interviewed. The two officers who were the subject of the investigation exercised their legal right to refuse to be interviewed but did provide copies of their case notes for that night to the investigators.
SIU investigators also reviewed a video from the OPP cell monitor. The SIU report noted that while the complainant had assistance from police in removing his jacket and “seemed to favour his left arm” though during several hours following his detention the video showed him “repeatedly moving both arms around” and showed him dressing and undressing himself “without any apparent difficulty.”
After 9 a.m. on the video time stamp, the complainant began to show “obvious signs of discomfort” with his arm. He was escorted out of the cell at 9:32 a.m.
SIU Director Martino concluded in his report that the two officers used reasonable force at the time to subdue the complainant and there was “no evidence” that the man had been struck during his arrest.