Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has found that Kingston police officers did not use excessive force during an arrest in which a man was injured last year.
The arrest occurred on Sept. 7, 2018, when Kingston police were following a 38-year-old man believed to be trafficking fentanyl in the Kingston area.
Officers with the Kingston police drug unit followed the man in unmarked vehicles to a plaza in Toronto, where the 38-year-old allegedly met his distributor and exchanged a white bag.
The man travelled back to Kingston on Highway 401 in a white truck. At this point, the report states that a woman was driving and the 38-year-old was in the passenger seat of the truck.
Kingston police then devised a plan to stop the man before he exited the highway.
A police officer in a marked police vehicle tried to stop the truck as it left Highway 401 at the Division Street exit while the officers of the drug unit were meant to surround the truck with their unmarked vehicles.
According to the 38-year-old man and the woman driving the truck, the woman pulled the truck to the right but then had to swerve to avoid hitting a vehicle in front of her.
The woman claims that multiple police vehicles then rammed the truck. She also said the 38-year-old was pulled from the truck’s window and landed hard on the ground.
It is alleged that police officers then beat the man while he was on the ground, kicking him in the head, face and back and potentially hitting him with a gun. It is also alleged that police continued to strike and kick the man even when his hands were handcuffed behind his back.
Police officers, however, gave a different account of the incident.
According to a Kingston police officer at the scene, the woman driving the truck tried to flee from police when she was stopped. Police describe the truck’s engine revving loudly and its tires spinning, kicking up gravel on the shoulder as it attempted to pass a police vehicle.
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During this alleged attempt to flee, the woman’s truck reportedly struck a police vehicle directly in front of it and then rammed into two unmarked police vehicles, according to the SIU report.
A police officer then pointed his firearm at the driver and ordered her to turn off the truck.
Police say they were able to remove the woman from the driver’s seat and that they found multiple bags of purple fentanyl inside the truck.
According to the report, the two officers who were allegedly involved in the removal of the 38-year-old man from the truck did not speak to the SIU, but other officers described them pulling the man through an open window onto the pavement. The other two officers said they did not see how he was pulled or grabbed.
Two additional officers said the man was already on the ground when they came to assist in the arrest, adding that the man pulled both arms underneath himself.
Police describe officers at the scene holding the man’s feet and legs and another officer trying to handcuff him.
When the arrest was made, the man complained about his shoulder. He was taken to Kingston General Hospital, and doctors found that his right shoulder had been fractured.
The man claims that he received the fracture when he was “stomped” by police. The man also had seizures for the rest of the day.
Despite the fact that the two officers in question refused to provide statements or copies of their notes, the SIU investigation found that there was no evidence that the force used by police to arrest the man was excessive.
The investigator also found there was no evidence that any police officer beat the man.
The report concluded that the fracture to the man’s shoulder was sustained when he was pulled to the ground.