Police officer in Mississauga cleared, after knee strikes broke man’s ribs in arrest
Published June 17, 2022 at 7:09 pm
A Peel Regional Police officer whose knee strikes likely broke five ribs of a 51-year-old man who was being arrested at a Mississauga shelter, will not be charged with a criminal offence.
Director Joseph Martino of the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the provincial police watchdog, stated Friday that he found “no reasonable grounds” to believe the officer could be criminally liable. The incident happened on Feb. 15 when officers were called to the Peel Family Shelter for “an unknown problem” that involved the complainant. The complainant also had several outstanding arrest warrants from a variety of police services.
Per the SIU, the shelter said the man was arguing with a woman in a room. He was “heavily intoxicated and they wanted him permanently removed because he had been involved in an altercation the evening prior with another resident.”
By the time officers from Peel police arrived, the man had left the shelter. Around 25 minutes later, the man returned the shelte’s lobby. Footage from the officers’ body-worn cameras showed the officers tried to engage the man verbally several times over a five-minute span before the subject officer (SO) used their conducted-energy weapon (commonly called a Taser).
The Taser did not penetrate the man’s clothing, and he told an officer, “I’ll knock you the f— out with that f—— Taser.” Eventually, another officer forced the man to the ground and the officer who was subject of the complaint used knee strikes while the man was handcuffed.
“The SO was heard yelling for the Complainant to give his hands on several occasions and he was then observed to deliver two knee strikes to the Complainant’s left side, after which the Complainant’s hands were handcuffed behind his back,” Martino wrote in his report. “The Complainant was walked to a curb where he was sat down. The SO asked him if he was injured and he said his left ribs hurt ‘where you kicked me.’ ”
The complainant was taken to Credit Valley Hospital, but left “against medical advice before further medical evaluation could be conducted.” He returned three days later and five fractured left-side ribs were diagnosed.
Martino said he factored in the shelter’s proximity to Erin Mills Parkway, a major Mississauga thoroughfare, into his determination that both officers applied a correct amount of force. (Only one officer was actually subject to a complain.)
“(T)he force used to arrest the Complainant, namely, a CEW discharge, takedown and two knee strikes, was legally justified,” he wrote. “The CEW deployment, though it had no effect on the Complainant, would appear to have been a reasonable tactic at the time. In his words and gestures, the Complainant had given the officers cause to believe that he would physically contest his arrest. The parties were also beside a major road in Mississauga — Erin Mills Parkway. In the circumstances, there was a need to quickly neutralize the Complainant without risking a manual engagement that could spill over into traffic.
“… while I accept that the Complainant’s fractures are attributable to the (subject officer’s) knee strikes, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either officer comported himself other than lawfully.”
The full report, which contains graphic content that might shock, offend and upset, is available at siu.on.ca.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising