The province’s police watchdog has cleared a Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) officer after a suspect suffered a broken rib in a drug raid in St. Catharines.
Joseph Martino, Special Investigations Unit (SIU) interim director, said in his decison he was unable to “reasonably conclude” that the force used by a subject officer was excessive.
The SIU’s investigation stems from an incident on Feb. 6 when NRPS and it’s Emergency Task Unit (ETU) entered a rooming house on Niagara Street just before 6:p.m. to execute a warrant.
During the action, two officers advanced to a suspect’s (complainant) room and discovered two people. Once inside, an officer arrested a female and left the room while the subject officer “took hold” of the complainant.
Martino’s report states that the complainant “lay prone” between a bed and a dresser as the subject officer secured the man’s arms behind his back with zip ties.
After the arrest, the complainant said he had difficulty breathing and was taken to hospital, where doctors confirmed a broken rib.
The complainant later claimed the arresting officer delivered “a knee or a kick.”
In his decision, Martino said “it would be unwise and unsafe to proceed with charges” since sources incriminating the subject officer were “inconsistent with each other.”
He said the only other potential witness in the incident was another nearby officer who reported he only heard the complainant say he was lying on a hard metal object while the subject officer tied his hands.
That witness officer went on to say he did not see any physical abuse.
Martino finished his report by saying he was “unable to rely with any confidence on the evidence indicating excessive force was used” and closed the case.