A Halton police officer has been cleared by the province’s Special Investigations Unit after a man was seriously injured following an Oakville break and enter.
The officer’s actions “were justified in the circumstances” and “she used no more force than necessary to effect her lawful purpose,” wrote SIU director Tony Loparco in his decision.
The incident took place on Apr. 8, 2016 at 7:35 p.m.
Officers were dispatched to a residential break and enter in progress near Silversmith Dr., finding three suspects driving away.
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The officers followed, lights and sirens activated.
The suspect vehicle fled, colliding with a parked, unmarked cruiser that was trying to block its escape near Upper Middle Rd. and Postmaster Dr.
The three men fled from the vehicle and police followed on foot.
Two of the men were quickly arrested while the third suspect – who filed the complaint – kept running.
He was seen jumping fences and running through nearby backyards.
Police dogs and the tactical unit were brought in to hunt the suspect.
The man returned to the residential neighbourhood, running between houses when he was spotted by the subject officer, who told him to stop and that he was under arrest.
The suspect ignored her and confronted her, pushing the officer — who was alone.
The man ran off again, with the officer chasing him.
They had another physical altercation as the officer tried to use her radio.
Another physical altercation took place with the suspect.
The suspect and officer jumped a fence, heading into the ravine.
The man again confronted and approached the officer, who told him to stop.
As the man “continued to advance towards her” the officer used her Taser, or Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) as he turned away from her.
The probes connected with the back of his head and his mid-back area.
The man seized and fell to the ground.
Other officers arrived and the suspect was handcuffed.
They called for an ambulance.
Paramedics treated the man and transported him to hospital to have the CEW prongs removed.
He was bleeding from his mouth and appeared disorientated, fatigued, sweating, and complained of being thirsty.
The suspect was assessed by medical staff as having suffered a contrecoup brain injury as a result of the collision with the cruiser.
“This injury is clearly of his own making and not attributable to any police behaviour,” said Loparco.
He also suffered an acute kidney injury, “the cause upon which the medical experts appeared to disagree,” Loparco said.
“Clearly, in the absence of some consensus by the experts, it is impossible for me to determine what injuries, if any, were caused by the deployment of the CEW,” Loparco continued.
“None of the doctors involved had ever seen a CEW deployment result in this type of injury.”
In the end, the man’s medical issues were resolved without any permanent damage and he was released from hospital.
It was determined that he had suffered the seizure after he was Tasered by the officer.
“The Complainant had both a height and weight advantage over her and she was unaware of the location of any other officers who could back her up,” said Loparco, adding the officer acted in self-defence or to protect herself against the “threat of force” from the suspect.
“Additionally, I note that she did not unholster or discharge her firearm, to her credit, but rather looked to a less lethal use of force upon which to defend herself. In all of these circumstances, I find that her actions were reasonable in the circumstances.”