An Ontario police watchdog has closed an investigation into an incident involving a woman and a horse-mounted officer at the Ottawa COVID-19 mandate protests that had paralyzed the capital for three weeks earlier this year.
In a media release on Monday, the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) said a review of the 49-year-old woman’s medical records indicated that she did not sustain a “serious injury” other than a strained shoulder after being knocked to the ground by one of the officers, on a horseback, with the Toronto police.
The incident took place on Feb. 18 on Rideau Street and Mackenzie Avenue during the so-called “freedom convoy” protests against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health restrictions.
The SIU had opened the investigation on Feb. 20, but made the decision to no longer continue with the probe after interviewing the woman and reviewing police drone and camera footage.
“In the circumstances, as the woman did not sustain a ‘serious injury’ within the terms of the SIU’s mandate, the SIU does not have statutory jurisdiction to investigate the matter, and the file is closed,” the watchdog said.
“The matter has been referred to the TPS (Toronto Police Service) for further investigation as they deem appropriate,” SIU added.
Footage of the horse unit allegedly “trampling” the woman went viral including a false report that the woman had died, shared by a Fox News contributor with 1.3 million Twitter followers.
In its statement, SIU said that a group of mounted officers moved into a crowd on Rideau Street in front of the Chateau Laurier, and one horse knocked a man and a woman to the ground.
The woman went to two different hospitals over the next three days with shoulder pain.
She was among a group of protesters taking part in the the Ottawa demonstrations that had brought the nation’s capital to a standstill.
The convoy, mostly comprised of truckers, rolled into the capital on Jan. 28.
It took hundreds of police officers from across Canada to bring an end to the Ottawa blockades and more than 100 people have been charged with a range of offences including obstruction, weapons possessions, assault and mischief.
Most were released on promises to appear or granted bail with strict conditions about social media use and communicating with other convoy leaders.
— with files from the Canadian Press