Police officers not facing charges after injuring man during arrest in Mississauga

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The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says Peel police officers will not face any charges after injuring a 42-year-old male suspect during an arrest in Mississauga. 

The report says that on March 19, 2019, Peel Regional Police contacted the SIU to report that a male in custody had sustained a serious injury. Police told the SIU that on March 18, 2019, the male was allegedly observed breaking into a truck at 1252 Shawson Drive in Mississauga. 

The SIU says the owner of the truck was alerted by his security system surveillance cameras and called police. 

The report says that when the officers arrived at the scene around 10:00 p.m., the man was still inside the van. According to the report, the man refused to acknowledge the officers' repeated requests that he exit the vehicle with his hands up. A civilian eventually arrived at the scene and provided the officers with a key to the van, which was used to open the side door of the vehicle. 

As that occurred, the man reportedly rushed out the broken rear door window of the van onto a metal chain link fence immediately adjacent to the vehicle. An officer deployed his taser at the man to no effect and the man managed to scale the fence and landed on the other side.

The man was subsequently apprehended in the 1235 Shawson Drive area. 

According to the report, the male resisted and was subsequently tasered three times.

The suspect complained of having a sore arm and was transported to Trillium Mississauga Hospital where it was determined that he had a fractured right elbow. He was placed in a sling and released back to the custody of police.

According to the report, four officers deployed their conduced energy weapons (tasers) during the pursuit and apprehension of the man. 

The SIU report says security cameras in the area captured police arrival, the man's escape from the van, his climb over a nearby fence, his slide underneath a gate and flight east across the rear of a business while being pursued by an officer and her police service dog. No physical contact was made between the police officers and the man at this time.

In the area of another nearby business, cameras showed the location where the man was apprehended by an officer. The report says the distance from the camera to the arrest location, coupled with poor lighting conditions, makes it impossible to identify the participants captured in the footage. 

"It is known, however, that the person seen running and being tackled is the [man] and the person tackling him is the [officer]. The [officer] is seen grabbing the [man] from behind while the [man] is still running. Both fell forward to the ground with the [officer[ on top of the [man]," the report reads. 

The report says the camera footage shows other police officers arriving and one or more police officers can be seen delivering either knee/elbow strikes or punches to the man. 

The report says it's impossible to identify which police officer applies which strike or where the strikes made contact with the man's body. None of the police officers can be seen kicking the man, the report says. 

"It is obvious that a struggle is taking place between the police officers and the man but it is impossible to establish in detail what was happening," the report reads. 

It is believed that the struggle ended when the man was secured in handcuffs. 

Joseph Martino, interim director of the SIU, said that it's not clear that officers used excessive force. 

"The officers had ample grounds to believe that the [man] had broken into a van and was subject to lawful arrest. Thereafter, I am unable to reasonably conclude on the record that excessive force was used by the officers," Martino wrote, adding that the man's "spirited" flight from police likely led officers to believe he was dangerous and justified the use of conducted energy weapons. 

"Undeterred by the use of CEWs, and still in full flight from police, I cannot find fault with the [officer's] decision to tackle the [man] to the ground at the first opportunity. From that position, the officers could better counter any further efforts by the [man] to resist arrest. Indeed, the [man], as suggested by the weight of the evidence, struggled with the officers on the ground, refusing to release his arms," Martino wrote, saying the resistance prompted the officers to use knee strikes and punches to subdue him. 

"On this record, I am persuaded on reasonable grounds that the force in question progressed incrementally in step with the challenges the [man] presented, and therefore fell within the range of what was reasonably necessary in aid of the arrest." 

"In the result, while I accept that the [man's] injury likely occurred in the course of the force used by the officers in taking him down and dealing with him on the ground, there are no grounds for proceeding with charges in this case as the officers' conduct was, in my view, legally justified."

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