Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit says there were no reasonable grounds to lay charges in two separate investigations into the actions of Toronto police officers in 2017.
The agency, which investigates cases of injury, death or reports of sexual assault involving police, revealed the results of two probes on Wednesday.
In one case, a 52-year-old man was arrested for public intoxication at Yorkdale Mall on Aug. 26, 2017, and was taken into custody. The report states he became aggressive and threw a dumbbell at staff at a Lululemon location.
He was later diagnosed with a rib fracture and claimed he was struck by police. The SIU director’s report found that “irrefutable and extensive video evidence” collected both at the mall and while the man was with officers showed he had not been struck.
“If he did indeed suffer his rib injury on Aug. 26, 2017, the only reliable evidence to indicate when that injury may have been sustained is that it occurred when a customer forcefully pushed him out of the Lululemon Store and he fell to the floor along with a 20-pound mannequin,” the report stated.
In the second case, which goes back to November 2017, a 37-year-old man suffered serious injuries during an arrest at a Toronto home.
Police received a call to respond to a man in emotional distress. According to the SIU director’s report, the man “drop kicked” an officer in the chest without warning and a struggle ensued, eventually involving multiple police officers who were trying to arrest him. The man also grabbed a poker from a fireplace at one point, the report said.
“During the ensuing prolonged struggle, several police officers were kicked, bitten, and otherwise injured; furniture was displaced and home décor accessories were broken,” the report stated.
Officers struck the man with a baton several times and he sustained lacerations to his face as well as a displaced right nasal bone fracture, the report stated.
The SIU director found that the actions of the officers were necessary.
“On this record, it is clear that the force used by , and indeed all of the other 15 officers who responded to their call for assistance, was no more than what was necessary to not only subdue, but to protect themselves, from further assaults from a very violent and extremely powerful man who was apparently not at that time in his right mind, as later confirmed by his admission to hospital under the Mental Health Act,” the report stated.
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