April 4, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared two OPP officers of any wrongdoing after a 49-year-old man was seriously injured when he was arrested in Petrolia in late 2022.
special investigation team (SIU) released its findings on Tuesday Arrest on December 10, 2022.
As stated in the report, officials were conducting a RIDE (Reduced Accessible Driving) program on the Petrolia Line when an approaching vehicle made a U-turn. Police then conducted a traffic stop at First Avenue and Pearl Street.
The OPP said the driver did not have a license and the passenger (the complainant in this case) allegedly misrepresented his name and was found to have violated his conditions.
The complainant initially raised his arms as if to surrender, but then became “aggressive,” resulting in himself and an officer being pinned to the ground, the SIU report said.
“The struggle continues on the ground. And [Subject Official #1] The complainant was on his back trying to get up – he was struggling and trying to break free of his restraints,” read the report.[Subject Official #2], next to the complainant on the ground, punched him several times in the head area. SO #1 Place several knees on the complainant’s upper thigh. The complainant continued to resist the police and received several more punches, this time by SO #1 in the back and waist, after which the police handcuffed him. “
The defendant was later taken to Bluewater Health in Sarnia where he was diagnosed with an orbital blowout fracture and an undisplaced nasal bone fracture.
SIU Director Joseph Martino said he could not reasonably conclude that the force used during the arrest was excessive and unlawful.
The director’s analysis also said there were concerns that he had additional weapons after a knife fell from the complainant during the tackle.
“While I acknowledge that complainant’s injuries were sustained during the altercation that marked his arrest, there is no reasonable reason to believe that these injuries were attributable to the unlawful conduct of the officers involved,” read the director’s decision. “Therefore, there is no basis for criminal charges in this case.”
Evidence gathered by the SIU included arrest reports, notes from one of the officers, medical records and communications from the OPP.
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials, and all investigations are conducted by civilian SIU investigators.