Police Not Facing Charges After Man Suffers Neck Fractures in Mississauga

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The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says it has found no criminal wrongdoing in relation to the arrest of a reportedly intoxicated man in Mississauga. 

The SIU says that, during an altercation with police, the 55-year-old man sustained several neck fractures. 

The SIU says that on July 7, 2018, Peel Regional Police received a call from a woman complaining about the man in question. The SIU says the woman alleged that the man, her boarder at a single-family home on Prairie Circle, was drunk and had thrown a bottle at her. 

The SIU says she told police she wanted him removed from the property. 

Police officers reportedly approached the man, who was outside and in front of the home and attempted to speak with him. The SIU report says the man was inebriated and "in no mood for a conversation." 

The SIU says he swore at the officers and then resisted when they took hold of him. The man was reportedly grounded by the officers, handcuffed and then escorted a cruiser where he struggled as the officers attempted to place him in the rear passenger side seat. 

The SIU says the officers responded with several knee strikes to the man's right leg and stomach. Once in the cruiser, the man was taken to the police station and subsequently to the hospital after he complained about back pain.

Once he was admitted to the hospital, it was revealed that the man suffered fractures to several vertebrae in his neck.

The SIU says these injuries were sustained over the course of his arrest. 

Joseph Martino, the interim director of the SIU, says the organization examined whether or not the use of force was warranted. 

"I accept that the [man] was intoxicated by alcohol and that the officers had grounds, in light of his belligerence and the information they had had their disposal indicating he had recently threatened [someone], to believe the arrest was necessary in the interest of public safety," Martino writes, saying that the arrest was justifiable even though it's not clear if he was arrested on private or public property.

"Nor are there grounds, in my opinion, to reasonably conclude that the force used by the subject officer crossed the line. According to the [officer], this force consisted in the main of the [man's] grounding, which was described by the officers and a civilian eyewitness, as fairly controlled in nature; the placing of his right knee onto the [man's] right shoulder area while they were on the ground and securing the [man] in handcuffs; and, two knee strikes to the [man's] upper right leg while the parties were attempting to lodge [him] into the back seat of [the] cruiser." 

Martino says that while there is some evidence that the knee that was placed on the man's back was near the base of his neck, he is satisfied that neither account "gives rise to concerns about excessive force." 

"Confronted with an intoxicated and belligerent person, who struggled against the officers' efforts to take him into custody, the officers' responsive force was in my view measured, proportional and within the range of what was reasonably necessary to effect the [man's] arrest." 

The SIU says the man was released from hospital after the incident with no further medical intervention being required. He was prescribed pain medication. 

The SIU is an arm's length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

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