Police not facing charges after man injured during psychotic breakdown in Mississauga

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The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) will not be charging any Peel Regional Police officers after a man was seriously injured while reportedly experiencing a psychotic episode in Mississauga. 

According to the report, the man suffered serious injuries, including multiple rib fractures, in the process of being taken into police custody following a 2019 incident. 

The SIU report says that at about 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2019, police received a 911 call from a business on Lakeshore Road West in Mississauga after a man reportedly barged into the building. The report says the man was "in a highly agitated state" and claimed he was being chased and shot at. 

A person who witnessed the incident told police he was suspicious of the claim and believed the man was impaired by drugs. The man eventually left and began traveling east on Lakeshore Road West.

The report says police received another series of 911 calls around 8:45 p.m. According to the report, the man in question appeared at another business on Lakeshore Road West and told employees that people were trying to kill him. The employees reportedly tried in vain to calm him before calling police to report his "erratic behaviour." 

The report says the first officer on scene tried speaking with the man and then chased after him when he bolted out through the doors of the business. 

The SIU says the man darted out into the westbound lanes of Lakeshore Road West and was almost struck by a vehicle. Other officers arrived on scene and were concerned for his safety. 

The report says two officers took hold of the man and guided him off the roadway, whereupon he was taken to the ground.

The SIU says the man resisted as the officers attempted to secure him in handcuffs, refusing to surrender his arms, flailing his legs and trying to push himself up from the ground. 

The report says about six officers responded by attempting to "outmuscle" the man into submission, but that no kicks, punches or blows of any kind were directed against the man in crisis. 

The report says that one officer eventually drove his conducted energy weapon (taser) into the man's buttocks and delivered a four-second discharge. The deployment failed to quell the man's fight, but officers were eventually able to wrestle the man's arms behind his back and handcuff him. 

Following his arrest, the man was taken to hospital for psychiatric assessment.

Joseph Martino, the interim director of the SIU, says he does not believe there are reasonable grounds to charge any officers involved in the arrest. 

Martino said that officers are permitted to arrest individuals who are suffering from mental health breakdowns that could endanger their safety or the safety of others. 

"The [man], on all accounts, was in the throes of a psychotic episode when police were called to deal with him. Perhaps caused by recent cocaine ingestion, the [man] was delusional and paranoiac, erratic and belligerent. He falsely believed that people were following him to do him harm, wrongly accused employees in the business on Lakeshore Road West of possessing weapons, alleged [a witness officer] was not a real police officer, and ran dangerously into live lanes of traffic without any regard for his well-being," Martino wrote. 

"On this record, I am satisfied that the officers were within their rights in seeking to apprehend the [man] under the Mental Health Act (MHA) for purposes of psychiatric assessment. Left to his own devices, the [man] was a real and significant threat to his own safety and the safety of those around him." 

Martino said that while it is "regrettable" that man was injured over the course of his arrest, he does not believe the officers acted "afoul of the limits prescribed by criminal law." Martino said that while it's unclear whether or not the use of the taser was necessary, he does concede that the officers had significant difficulty subduing the man. 

"I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the officers were proceeding lawfully to apprehend the Complainant under the MHA and that the force they used was legally justified notwithstanding the injuries that were caused. Accordingly, there are no grounds to proceed with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed," Martino wrote. 

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