Hamilton police cleared in arrest where woman’s ribs were broken


Published May 10, 2022 at 6:06 pm

SIU probes Mississauga two-vehicle collision

Note: This article contains descriptions of intimate partner violence, as well as physical violence.

Last summer, a Hamilton police officer kicked a woman who was being arrested for harassing her former partner at his home, and the woman ended up with broken ribs.

The provincial police watchdog says that while the struggle might have been the cause of the woman’s serious injuries, two Hamilton Police Service officers who were made the arrest did not cross the line into unlawful conduct. As a result, the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has exonerated the pair of HPS officers. The report, posted Tuesday (May 10), noted that the officers halted their force was used once handcuffs were placed on the woman.

“Once handcuffed, no further force was used,” SIU Director Joseph Martino wrote in his report. “I am unable to (reasonably) conclude that the force used by the officers amounted to a disproportionate response in light of the nature and extent of the Complainant’s resistance.”

The SIU, which invokes its mandate when a person is injured or dies after an interaction of police, received the complaint from the woman in January 2022. She was arrested twice last June 24, when officers were sent to a home near Fennell Avenue East and Upper Gage Ave. following the woman’s former partner’s second call that day to HPS.

The first arrest came around 2:10 a.m., and the then 35-year-old woman was detained under the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital. At 11:30, her former partner called back, saying his ex had returned. She had broken a basement window and was refusing to leave the property.

“The officers arrived at the address to find the Complainant sitting on a lawn chair in the backyard,” Martino wrote in his report. “Told that she would have to leave, the Complainant demurred and threatened the officers with violence if they tried to have her removed. She then followed through with her threat as the officers moved in to take hold of her person.”

The report acknowledges that some details are inconclusive. A female HPS officer who responded to the call exercised her legal right not to be interviewed by the SIU or provide notes. The male officer, who delivered what is believed to be a retaliatory kick, agreed to be interviewed. He did not submit notes.

Martino’s report, said that one “clear” element is that the complainant kicked at the male officer, who responded with “a single kick to the Complainant’s lower body or abdominal area.” The complaint was diagnosed with two rib fractures on her right side four days later on June 28.

“I accept that the Complainant’s injuries might well have been incurred in the struggle with the subject officials, I am not satisfied that they are attributable to unlawful conduct on (their) part,” Martino writes.

The full report, which includes graphic content that might shock, offend and upset, is viewable at siu.on.ca.

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising