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‘No basis’ to lay charges after man’s skull fractured, tooth dislodged in Newmarket arrest: SIU

A man had left a Newmarket LCBO without paying for a liquor bottle and was making his way east on Davis Drive, the SIU says. Global News

Ontario’ police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, has found that there’s “no basis” to lay charges against York Regional Police officers after a man sustained a fracture to the back of his skull and a dislodged upper front tooth during his arrest in January.

On Jan. 3 at about 3:15 p.m., the York Regional Police Service received a call from the LCBO at Yonge Street and Davis Drive about a theft in progress, according to the SIU.

A man had left the store without paying for a liquor bottle and was making his way east on Davis Drive, the SIU says.

READ MORE: Brantford police cleared after suspect injured in alleged construction site theft

After police were dispatched, one officer observed the man walking on Davis Drive and followed him in his cruiser, the SIU adds.

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With the whisky bottle in hand, the man darted into traffic toward the officer’s cruiser, seemingly unaware that the officer was present, the SIU says.

As the man drank from the whiskey bottle, he was confronted by the officer, who told him that he was under arrest for theft and encouraged him to surrender peacefully, the SIU adds.

The man then fled, and as the officer was pursuing him at a distance in his vehicle, another officer, who was also responding to a theft in progress, arrived at the scene, according to the SIU.

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The second officer ran toward the man and tackled him to the ground, while the officer who was pursuing the man made his way to the scene to assist with handcuffing, the SIU adds.

The man was helped to his feet and seated in a nearby public transit shelter to wait for paramedics, the SIU says.

“Police officers are immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided such force is reasonably necessary in the execution of an act they are authorized or required to do by law,” Joseph Martino, the SIU’s interim director, said in the case report.

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READ MORE: SIU finds ‘no grounds’ to charge Barrie police officer after man suffers fractured arm in arrest

According to Martino, there were grounds to believe the man had stolen a liquor bottle, and officers were within their rights to try and arrest the man for the offence.

“The real issue is whether excessive force was used against the complainant in taking him into custody,” Martino said in the report.

“With vehicular traffic heavy and the complainant now venturing into an intersection, one cannot blame the [subject officer] for seizing an opportunity to bring the matter to an immediate end in the interests of everyone’s safety.”

The case is now closed.

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