London cop cleared in man’s injury

Special Investigations Unit

A London police officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to the April apprehension at an east-end motel that left a 48-year-old man with a collapsed lung.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) released the findings of its seven-month investigation on Tuesday.

Police were called about a disturbance at the motel around 11 a.m. on April 29. When officers arrived they found a man in one of the rooms in mental distress. Officers tried to speak to the man, who began rambling incoherently and expressing a desire to hang himself.

When officers attempted to take the man into custody under the Mental Health Act, the man began hitting himself in the head with a flashlight. One of the officers was then bit on the hand, as the man refused to surrender. The other officer used his leg to pin down the man’s torso so he could handcuff him.

The man was then taken to hospital for an involuntarily psychiatric examination. While there he was also diagnosed with a collapsed lung.

Two SIU investigators and one forensic investigator were assigned to the case.

“The [man] was clearly not of sound mind when he was confronted by the [subject officer] and the [witness officer]. He was speaking nonsensically and made mention of wanting to commit suicide,” SIU Interim Director Joseph Martino noted in his report. “I am satisfied the officers used no more force than was reasonably necessary to effect his arrest.”

Martino went on to state that the man’s refusal to release his arms to be handcuffed justified the officer’s use of muscular power and a single stomp to the body.

“While it may well be that the [man’s] lung injury was the result of the force used in his arrest, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the [subject officer] and the [witness officer] acted lawfully throughout. Accordingly, there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges against the officers and the file is closed,” said Martino.

It was also noted that there is evidence to suggest the man’s lung injury may have happened before he encountered officers in the motel room.