Officer cleared after man breaks rib during Brampton arrest
Published November 25, 2022 at 7:34 pm
A Toronto Police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing after a man broke a rib during his arrest in Brampton in the summer.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigates death or serious injury during police interactions, announced that the officer would not face charges on November 25.
The incident the SIU was brought in to investigate occurred back in July. As part of a large multi-jurisdictional investigation police across the GTA raided numerous homes around the same time on July 28.
One of these raided homes belongs to the man whose rib would be broken during his arrest, dubbed the Complainant in the SIU report.
The Complainant was laying in bed with his girlfriend the morning of the raid watching TV. Police suspected the Complainant may have had weapons in the house as he had previously been convicted of weapons offences.
Police officers, including the Subject Officer (SO) of the SIU investigation, forcibly entered the Complainant’s apartment. Knowing they were cops, the Complainant got out of bed and lay down on the floor of his room.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend left the bedroom and was arrested in the kitchen.
The SO was the first officer to enter the bedroom. He and another officer, the Witness Officer (WO), each delivered “leg strikes” to the Complainant.
The Complainant claimed that he had surrendered by laying on the floor. However he said, when the SO entered the room he stomped on the Complainant’s face and kicked him in the ribs.
The WO, however, refuted this characterization. He claimed that both he and the SO had stomped on the Complainant because they feared he was reaching for a weapon underneath him.
The SO refused and interview and the release of his notes, as is his right.
After the leg strikes, the Complainant was handcuffed and pulled out of the room. He was then taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured rib.
The SIU was informed of the Complainant’s injury short afterwards. In the course of their investigation they found that even though the SO likely caused the injury, the SO was within his rights to use the force he did to detain the Complainant.
“In view of this conflict in the evidence, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the force used by either officer was excessive,” SIU Director Joseph Martino wrote in his report.
“It seems at least as likely as the alternate account that WO and the SO used force in the reasonable belief that the Complainant was reaching for a firearm, and that he needed to be immediately deterred from doing so,” Martino continued, “On this record, it would appear that striking the Complainant with their legs – a couple of times each, on the evidence – was a proportionate response.”
“In the result, while I accept that the SO is likely responsible for the Complainant’s fractured rib, I am not satisfied that the injury is attributable to any unlawful conduct on the part of the officer,” Martino concluded.
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