Special Investigations Unit

SIU Clears Sarnia Police In Violent Arrest

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says no criminal charges are warranted against a Sarnia police officer in a violent arrest that resulted in a man sustaining serious injuries.

Sarnia police responded to an apartment in the 800-block of Devine St. on May 31, 2016 where they encountered a 28-year-old man, allegedly armed with multiple weapons, and believed to be high on drugs.

After attempts to disarm the man using a Taser and pepper spray failed, an officer struck the man twice in the left arm with a baton, at which time he dropped a bicycle seat with a 12 inch metal post.

It’s alleged the suspect, who was screaming incoherently, then picked up a hatchet and the Emergency Response Team had to be called in to handcuff him after pinning him with a shield.

The man was taken to Bluewater Health for treatment of an open fracture of his left elbow and a bruise on the left side of his scalp.

Toxicology screening found the presence of cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine and methadone.

In his ruling, SIU Director Tony Loparco issued the following statement.

“I appreciate that the complainant suffers from serious mental health issues; however, there was no possibility of reasoning with him, or talking him through his mental state. The police were faced with a violent, dynamic and unpredictable situation, and they took all reasonable steps to disarm and control the complainant.

“In the circumstances, I conclude that the [subject officer’s] baton strike, which unfortunately broke the complainant’s elbow, did not fall outside the range of what was reasonably necessary to attempt to disarm and subdue the complainant and take him into custody.”

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian agency that investigates incidents involving police where there has been death, serious injury, or allegations of sexual assault.