Special Investigations Unit

London cop off the hook after suspect suffers concussion

The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has found there are no grounds to charge a London police officer after a suspect suffered a concussion in 2016 while in police custody.

The SIU said on November 11, 2016, London police were called to a residence in the city where a 23-year-old man, who was extremely agitated, was throwing items around inside his residence and onto the street. He also allegedly yelled at his neighbours and then threatened to kill the police officers who arrived at the scene.

The man was arrested for uttering threats and resisting arrest after allegedly struggling with officers. He was then taken to the police station in a prisoner wagon, where he proceeded to move his handcuffed hands to the front of his body, and take off all of his clothes except for a tank top.

When officers attempted to reposition the man’s handcuffs, he allegedly tried to knee one of the officers in the groin. That officer then immediately punched the suspect three times, and at least one of them struck his head. The officer then grabbed the man around his neck and pulled him to the floor where officers were able to reposition the handcuffs.

According to the SIU, a complaint was filed after the suspect was diagnosed with a concussion, after being released the following day, which caused him to have a partial loss of vision.  The suspect told the SIU that he now suffers from sensitivity to light in his right eye and sometimes sees spots or flashes.

After reviewing evidence, including surveillance footage of the incident, the SIU came to the conclusion that the officer being investigated “did not resort to an unjustified use of force when he delivered the three jabs to the complainant.”

“I cannot find that the evidence is such as to satisfy me that I have reasonable grounds to believe that the SO’s actions were excessive and/or unjustified in these circumstances,” said SIU Director Tony Loparco in his decision. “I accept that the SO [subject officer] reacted quickly to what he perceived to be a dangerous situation and acted to bring the complainant under control as quickly as possible and thereby ensure the safety of himself and his fellow officers. As such, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the actions resorted to by the SO, although not perfect, fell within the limits prescribed by the criminal law.”

Loparco added that there are no grounds to believe the officer committed a criminal offence and no charges will be laid.

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.