SIU clears Chatham-Kent police officer

A Chatham-Kent police officer will not face charges after a teenage suspect suffered a broken nose during an arrest last year.

An investigation into the arrest was launched by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) after an early morning altercation on St. Clair Street on May 18, 2018. A 17-year-old male was to be arrested after breaking his curfew.

The investigation determined the teen gave a false name to the officer and ran from the scene. The officer chased and eventually caught the teen in the area of a Tim Hortons parking lot. The two fell to the ground in the scuffle, according to the SIU report.

It was then the officer was able to get the 17-year-old in handcuffs. But a struggle ensued and the suspect attempted to break free. During the struggle, the officer “grounded” the 17-year-old, which led to the suspect breaking his nose and bleeding on the back of a police cruiser.

“Given the curfew that the complainant was breaching, the lack of lighting on his bicycle, and his efforts to mislead and evade the officer had lawful grounds to stop the complainant when he did and then arrest him for obstruction,” said Interim Director Joseph Martino. “While I accept that the second grounding was the cause of the complainant’s broken nose, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the force used by the officer was legally authorized under section 25(1) of the Criminal Code.” 

During the SIU’s analysis of the arrest, one civilian and four officers were interviewed. One of the officers submitted notes.

As well, a forensic investigator was called to take photos of the scene and the blood on the back of the car.

“The [unit] canvassed the area for any video or audio recordings and photographic evidence,” Martino’s report reads. “There were cameras in the area but none covered the area of the arrest.”

The report concludes the officer was not responsible under the law for breaking the teen’s nose.