The province’s police watchdog has cleared a Hamilton officer who threw a 46-year-old suspect onto the floor of a Dollarama on Upper Gage Avenue during a March 2018 arrest.
In his decision, Special Investigations Unit Interim Director Joseph Martino said the force used by the subject officer and two other officers did not fall outside the range of what was “reasonably necessary” to subdue the suspect (complainant).
“I accept the evidence of the witnesses to the effect that the complainant attempted to fight with the officers while on his feet, and then struggled against their efforts after he had been grounded,” said Martino in his report.
In the SIU release, the incident narrative said the arrest happened after one of three plainclothes officers in the area of Upper Gage Avenue and Mohawk Road recognized the complainant driving a car even though he was prohibited from operating a vehicle.
The officers followed the complainant to the Dollarama and confronted him inside notifying him that he was under arrest for contravention of his driving prohibition.
The complainant then struggled with officers and was taken to the ground. During that time the complainant refused to surrender his right arm and he was struck several times in the arm until an officer secured it in handcuffs.
In Dec. 2018, the complainant came forward to authorities saying he had sustained injuries to his neck and knees, as well as fractured ribs, as a result of the March 23, 2018 arrest.
In the investigation, Martino said the complainant “describes a greater level of force used against him” than what was reported by officers. Witnesses interviewed during the investigation “contradicted” the complainant’s account.
Martino went on record is his report to say that there were no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges against the officers and that the file has been closed.