Guelph police are publicly apologizing to a man who was wrongly arrested in 2016 as part of a lawsuit that was settled last week.
Derrick Miller, who lives with a condition known as Trisomy 8 and has special needs, was arrested outside of Guelph City Hall in July of that year.
Police claimed they received a complaint that Miller was allegedly taking photos of children using the outdoor splash pad.
Miller was released from police custody and a search warrant for his phone that was seized by police was obtained, but evidence of child pornography was never found.
Two months later, Miller was told just days before his first court appearance that “the charges laid” did not proceed to court and he did not need to attend.
But a media release had already been sent out the day after his arrest which named Miller and claimed he was charged with possession of child pornography, voyeurism and mischief.
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Almost four years after the arrest, police admitted on Monday that Miller was never formally charged with any of those offences.
“The Guelph Police acknowledge that Mr. Miller was not in possession of child pornography or engaged in voyeurism,” the statement read.
“The Guelph Police Service sincerely apologizes to Mr. Miller for the embarrassment and damage that resulted from these events.”
Miller’s lawyer, Kevin Kemp, said a settlement was reached last week. His client had been seeking $5 million but Kemp said he was not able to disclose what Miller received.
The lawsuit was launched in January 2017 and named the Guelph Police Services Board, former police chief Jeff DeRuyter and five officers.
Miller’s parents were also plaintiffs in the case.
The suit alleged Miller was injured during his arrest after his head was “vigorously forced” into a cement structure by an officer and that he was also kneed in the back and kidney.
He was taken to Guelph General Hospital for treatment. The arrest was investigated by the province’s Special Investigations Unit, but the officers involved were cleared of any wrongdoing.
The suit said the media release resulted in Miller being subjected to “extensive ridicule” and “hostile remarks that included threats to do him physical harm.” He was also “banned for life” from Special Olympics programs and received a no-trespass order from the City of Guelph.
Guelph police declined to comment further on the matter.