Sarnia Police Headquarters on Christina St. at Exmouth St. ( File Photo by Briana Carnegie)

Sarnia Officer Cleared After SIU Investigation

Criminal charges won’t be laid in relation to an incident March 1, 2016 at Sarnia Police headquarters.

The Special Investigations Unit has determined there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Sarnia Police Service (SPS) officer in relation to the serious injuries sustained by a 38-year old man following his arrest for public intoxication.

In his report, Director Tony Loparco says the man was brought to the Sarnia police station after being arrested at the Inn of the Good Shepherd.

He says video shows the man became resistant in the booking room, the situation quickly escalated and an officer fell on the man when he was taken to the ground in an effort to regain control.

“Although I find that the Complainant’s injury was caused by the SPS officers taking him to the ground in an attempt to safely search him before being lodged in a cell, I find that pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, the officers involved used no more force than was reasonably necessary in the execution of their lawful duties in attempting to search and lodge a very intoxicated, combative and extremely resistant man,” says Loparco. ” I find that the degree of force with which the Complainant struck the floor may have been greater than anticipated by the officers as the momentum increased with the officers falling with, and on top of, the Complainant, who was doing everything in his power to thwart the officers in their lawful duties. As such, as serious as the injury was, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds on this record that the actions exercised by the officers fell within the limits prescribed by the criminal law and there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges on this basis.”

He says the man complained of a sore leg the next morning, was taken to hospital and later transferred to London hospital — where it was discovered the man’s left knee was shattered.

While surgery was performed and the bone and joint were reconstructed, the man’s left leg is now permanently damaged and may have to be amputated in the future.

A team of three SIU investigators was assigned to the case.

Two civilian witnesses and four witness officers were interviewed.

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.