Lindsay police officer ‘legally justified’ to use Taser in arrest, SIU finds

A conducted energy weapon seized by the Special Investigations Unit after a City of Kawartha Lakes Police officer discharged the weapon on a man in Lindsay in March.
A conducted energy weapon seized by the Special Investigations Unit after a City of Kawartha Lakes Police officer discharged the weapon on a man in Lindsay in March. Special Investigations Unit

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit says a City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service officer did not commit any criminal offence after a man was injured after being hit by a  conducted energy weapon, or Taser, during an arrest in March 2022.

In his report released on Tuesday, SIU director Joseph Martino said around 7:30 p.m. on March 7, two municipal police officers responded to 911 calls from a woman about a domestic incident involving her and her husband in Lindsay, Ont.

Dispatch reported hearing a man yell and swear at a woman and the phone line had been disconnected, Martino’s report stated. After contact had been re-established, dispatch also reported sounds of glass breaking.

Martino said the husband let officers into the home and they proceeded to the second floor to speak to the wife. However, Martino says the man got angry as the officers did not remove their boots prior to going to the second floor.

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“He tried to go up the stairs, presumably to confront the officer about the situation, but was prevented by the other officer,” Martino reported. “The man pushed the officer out of his way and was told he was under arrest for assault.”

Martino says the man refused to comply with a demand to turn around. That resulted in an officer firing his CEW, Martino said.

Martino said the man fell and suffered a fractured left clavicle bone after striking the floor.

Following the investigation, Martino said given the nature of the 911 call and discovering damaged property (broken vase) and an intoxicated complainant, he said the subject officer had reason to be concerned about renewed hostilities and was “within his rights” in temporarily blocking the man’s path.

“Thereafter, when the complainant reacted by pushing the officer, the subject officer had grounds to arrest him for assault,” Martino concluded.

He said the use of the CEW was “legally justified.”

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“Given the physical exchange that had just occurred, the complainant’s belligerence and intoxication, and his refusal to turn around as directed, the officer could reasonably expect that the complainant would physically contest his arrest,” said Martino.

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“On this record, I am satisfied that the subject officer was entitled to resort to his CEW. If successful, the weapon’s deployment would temporarily immobilize the complainant from a distance, neutralizing the risk of a violent physical altercation. In fact, that is what occurred.”

Martino said that although it was “regrettable” that the man suffered an injury, there were no reasonable grounds “to believe the officer comported himself unlawfully in his resort to the weapon.”

“Accordingly, there was no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file has been closed,” he concluded.

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