Charges aren’t being laid against a Peel police officer after a 49-year-old man was seriously injured during his arrest in Brampton, Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has ruled.
There are “no grounds for proceeding with charges in this case,” said the SIU’s director Tony Loparco.
The incident unfolded on Feb. 20, 2017 around 7:30 p.m.
That’s when the subject officer responded to a 911 call for two men fighting on a residential street.
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The officer arrived and saw a man, later identified as the complainant, fitting the description and called out to him but the man didn’t respond.
The complainant denied any assault taking place and started to walk past the officer, say police.
But the officer suspected “that the complainant may have a weapon due to the way he was walking” and asked the man to stop.
When the officer got out of his cruiser, the complainant pulled out a knife from his jacket.
A struggle ensued and the officer grounded the complainant and handcuffed him.
Paramedics treated the man before taking him to hospital.
He was diagnosed with a broken orbital bone and received three stitches to close a cut above his eye.
“The complainant had no recollection as to how his face came to be injured but recalled telling the [subject officer] that he had not been involved in a fight,” the SIU report reads.
“The complainant denied having any weapons in his possession at the time of his interaction with police.”
But the man apparently told another officer he’d gone home to get a knife and returned to the fight.
Photo courtesy of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit
The entire interaction was captured on CCTV footage from a nearby home.
A toxicology screen revealed the man was also intoxicated, with nearly three times the legal limit of alcohol in his body.
“On the basis of this evidence, and as clearly confirmed by the CCTV footage, I am unable to rely on the evidence of the complainant except where it is confirmed by other evidence,” Loparco wrote.
After evaluating all of the evidence, “I have no difficulty finding that the complainant was armed with a knife when he came into contact” with the subject officer and “he had armed himself with the knife for the purpose of returning and continuing his previous altercation, and that he was reaching for the knife when the [subject officer] attempted to detain him.”
With respect to the amount of force used, “I find that his behavior was justified in the circumstances and that he used no more force than necessary to ensure his own safety and to disarm the complainant, who was armed with a knife and appeared to be reaching for it at the time that the [subject officer] took him to the ground,” said Loparco.
While it’s “unfortunate” the complainant fell onto his face, “which caused the fracture of his orbital bone as well as a momentary loss of consciousness, the [subject officer] did not have the luxury of measuring his use of force to a nicety while he was in immediate peril as a result of dealing with an armed man,” Loparco said.