Hamilton police officer 'justified' in delivering 'forearm strike' to man during arrest: SIU
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has cleared a member of the Hamilton Police Service of a criminal offense after the officer reportedly struck a man with his forearm and broke his nose during an arrest.
“I am further satisfied that the officers… used no more force than was reasonably necessary to safely maintain the Complainant in custody,” reads the official report from SIU Director, Joseph Martina. "On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the police officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the man's arrest and injury."
The incident occurred on Feb 21, 2021, at 6:23 p.m. According to the report, a woman called police, asking that her 28-year-old son be removed from her home. The son reportedly threatened to kill her and “punched a hole straight through from the living room to the hall.”
The woman indicated that her son had been drinking and she wanted him charged, according to the report.
Two officers arrived at the scene and arrested the son in the kitchen where he became violent and “was met with a measure of force by the officers,” reads the report.
The son then reportedly lunged toward his mother “in aggressive fashion” as he passed her in the living room, which caused the officer to force the son against a wall. There, the report indicates that the son attempted to head butt the officer, who reacted by delivering a right forearm to the son’s head.
The son reportedly continued to resist before being forced into the police cruiser. Once inside, the report says the son “smashed his head against the glass divider.”
The son suffered a broken nose at some point during the incident.
“When the Complainant then turned his ire toward the officer and tried to head-butt him, the (officer) was entitled to protect himself and did so by administering a forearm strike,” added the SIU Director. “In the heat of the moment, confronted by a violent Complainant attempting to assault him, I am unable to fault the (officer) for striking the Complainant to deter his attack.”
The SIU accepted that the son’s nose was likely fractured during his tussle with police, but felt there were no reasonable grounds to believe that the officers did so unlawfully.
According to the Criminal Code, police officers are immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided it was reasonably necessary.
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person.
All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians.
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