Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has cleared Peterborough police officers of any wrongdoing after a man was injured during an arrest in December 2018.
The SIU launched an investigation on Dec. 1 after officers responded to a woman’s 911 call reporting her son had stabbed her with a knife at around 2:40 a.m.
According to a report issued Wednesday by SIU interim director Joseph Martino, officers attended a Dublin Street residence, where they reportedly found a 20-year-old man armed with a knife on the second floor of the building.
The report states the man ignored an officer’s demands to drop the knife and allegedly advanced toward the officer. Martino says the officer kicked the complainant in the stomach “with the intention of creating some more distance between them.”
According to Martino, another officer deployed a conducted energy weapon, but the weapon malfunctioned.
Martino’s report says the man then proceeded to stab himself in the neck, and one of the officers reportedly deployed pepper spray. This enabled the officers to arrest the man, according to the report. The suspect was transported to hospital by paramedics with “serious” injuries.
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The SIU was contacted, and investigators arrived at the scene around 7:20 a.m. Investigators seized the conducted energy weapon and determined it was malfunctioning, Martino said.
Martino says as a result of the investigation, which included interviews from several witnesses, the SIU determined there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges in relation to the arrest. He said the officers acted “professionally and reasonably” at all times in their dealings with the man.
“Based on the information at their disposal, the officers had reasonable grounds to believe that the complainant had just attacked his mother with a knife,” wrote Martino. “They were clearly within their rights in seeking to arrest him. Thereafter, I am satisfied that the force the officers used in effecting their purpose fell well within the range of what was reasonably necessary.”
Martino said the one officer showed “incredible restraint” and that the kick was a “modest” use of force in the circumstances. The use of the conducted energy weapon and pepper spray also “fell within the limits prescribed by the criminal law,” according to Martino.
“It seems to me that the officers were as much concerned with preventing the complainant harming himself as they were about defending themselves when these weapons were deployed,” he wrote.