Hamilton police officer cleared by SIU after man suffers head injury during arrest

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Published December 30, 2021 at 1:39 pm

The Special Investigations Unit has cleared an officer with the Hamilton Police Service after a mentally ill man suffered a head injury during an arrest.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has cleared an officer with the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) after a man suffered a head injury during an arrest.

The complaint was filed on Sept. 1, 2021, by the twin brother of the man who suffered the injury at the hands of police in the summer of 2009 in the area of Mohawk and McNiven Rd in Ancaster. The complainant was accused of attempting to break into his parents’ home.

A person-in-distress call was made by the parents of the complainant, who is allegedly bipolar and was suffering a manic episode, according to the SIU report.

“(Officers) had been sent following a 911 call from the residence complaining that a man under the influence of drugs was trying to break into the home. The man – the Complainant – was kicking at the garage door and had broken a window,” reads the report.

An officer was accused by the twin brother of kicking the complainant in the head with a steel-toed boot three times while the man laid face-down and was handcuffed, resulting in the complainant being placed in the intensive care unit for two weeks in an induced coma for blunt force trauma to the head.

The SIU report reveals that the man was “in an agitated state,” “rambling incoherently,” wandering around, and lunged toward an officer. After attempting to run from police, a taser was used to subdue him, causing the complainant to fall on his face. The complainant then reportedly “removed the probes from his body, raised himself to his knees and lunged towards” the waist of an officer, who kneed the man in the chest.

The complainant was reportedly told to stay down but continued to try to get up. Following several more taser discharges by officers “and a couple of kicks to the upper arm area,” the man was subdued and handcuffed. An officer also punched the complainant after he reportedly tried to bite her.

Tasers were used on the complainant four times within a span of 30 seconds.

“On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the (officer) committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s arrest,” wrote SIU director Joseph Martino.

“I am also satisfied that the force brought to bear by the officers against the Complainant was legally justified… I am unable to reasonably conclude that the further strikes and (taser) discharges… fell afoul of the latitude of permissible force prescribed by the criminal law.”

“Once the Complainant had been subdued and handcuffed, no further notable force was used with the exception of (an officer’s) punch. As the Complainant had just tried to bite her, however, the officer was entitled to react with a measure of force to protect herself and deter any further aggression. A single punch, in the circumstances, did not exceed the remit of authorized force,” he added.

The full report can be accessed online.

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