Ontario police watchdog lays assault charge against Sarnia cop

Police say the woman was arrested earlier in the week before being. Global News

A constable with the Sarnia Police Service is facing one count of assault causing bodily harm in connection with an incident dating back to October, Ontario’s police watchdog announced this week.

Special Investigations Unit director Joseph Martino said in his report that the agency has “reasonable grounds” to believe an officer “committed a criminal offence.” The SIU said police responded to reports of trespassing at St. Paul’s Church on Devine Street on Oct. 23, and a 35-year-old man was “arrested and subsequently diagnosed with a serious injury.”

The SIU has not provided any details about what the injury was or how it happened.

“As the matter is before the courts, and in consideration of the fair trial interests of the accused, the SIU will not provide further comment on the investigation,” the SIU said in a statement.

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Const. Sean Van Vlymen is due in court on the assault charge in August.

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Meanwhile, provincial police reported earlier this year that it had charged Sean Van Vlymen, 46, of Sarnia, with operation while impaired – blood alcohol concentration (80 plus).

Lambton OPP said Canada Border Services Agency contacted them at 3:30 a.m. on March 31 about a driver trying to re-enter the country who failed a roadside screening test.

At the time, Sarnia police confirmed that the accused was a constable with the Sarnia Police Service and said that Van Vlymen was assigned to non-operational duties and an internal investigation would be launched in compliance with the Police Services Act.

In an email to Global News, Sarnia police stress that Van Vlymen “is not assigned to operational duties and not subject to suspension with pay at this time.”

“The Sarnia Police Service is committed to swiftly addressing any complaints and concerns within our lawfully available legal frameworks. It is deeply concerning when any police officers are involved in incidents that can negatively impact the public trust,” wrote Chief Derek Davis in an email to Global News.

“This concern is shared by the many members of the Sarnia Police, who continue to professionally serve the public every hour of every day, often in difficult and challenging circumstances.”

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