Officer cleared by police watchdog after breaking man’s nose during arrest in Hamilton
Published May 8, 2023 at 2:14 pm
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has declined to lay charges against a Hamilton Police officer who broke a 52-year-old man’s nose during an arrest.
According to a report by the police watchdog, the incident occurred in the early afternoon of Jan. 9, 2023, when officers stopped a vehicle travelling in the Robins and Campbell Ave. area in Hamilton.
The SIU says the officers followed the vehicle as it was departing from a suspected “drug house” and pulled the driver over because of damage to the car’s front end.
The report says that while officers were issuing a ticket to the driver, the passenger got out of the car and began to walk north on Robins Ave.
Police records indicated that the passenger who left the scene was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant for probation violation.
According to the report, the officers followed and located the man in the Robins Ave. and Barton St. E. area. When an officer caught up with the man on foot and told him he was under arrest, he reportedly ran westward before being tackled to the ground. According to the report, a struggle ensued and the officer “delivered several punches to the [man’s] head.”
Once he was handcuffed, he complained of facial pain and was transported to hospital, where he was diagnosed with nose fractures.
The report says both the arresting officer and the officer driving the cruiser agreed to be interviewed by the SIU, with the arresting officer submitting his notes to the civilian oversight agency.
“On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the [officer] committed a criminal offence in connection with the [man’s] arrest and injuries,” Joseph Martino, director of the SIU, wrote in the report.
In his analysis, Martino said he was “unable to reasonably conclude” that the arresting officer used excessive force, adding that officers told the SIU that the blows were delivered after the officer caught the man the second time he tried to flee.
The report says the man told the SIU he was punched “two or three” times in the head as soon as the officer confronted him and before he attempted to run away, something Martino says is “at odds” with the story told by police.
Officers told the SIU that the punches were delivered after the man fled and refused to put his arms behind his back.
“It was during the officers’ struggle to overcome the [man’s] resistance that the [officer] is said to have delivered two punches to the head of the [man]. The punches were effective in subduing the [man], who was then handcuffed.”
Martino said the evidence is “insufficiently cogent to warrant criminal charges.”
The director said that while he accepts that the man was injured during the arrest, he is unable to conclude that the officer acted unlawfully.
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