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Thunder Bay Police Service officer cleared by SIU

By CJ Goater Apr 5, 2024 | 7:30 AM

The Special Investigations Unit, a civilian law enforcement agency has found no reasonable grounds to believe a Thunder Bay Police Service officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the arrest of a man on December 6, 2023.

On December 6, city police attempted to arrest a man on the strength of a warrant. The man attempted to flee resulting in an officer taking the man to the ground which resulted in his collarbone being broken.

The man was known to officers from previous interactions, and the individual was known to be violent and is also known to carry a firearm.

After the arrest, the man complained of pain in his right shoulder and was taken to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre where he received an official fracture diagnosis.

City police contacted the SIU promptly following the arrest due to the injury, triggering the investigation.

The Director of the SIU felt the officers were within their rights in seeking to take him into custody based on the warrant and that no more force than necessary was used during the man’s arrest.

It was also determined that the man was doing anything he could to avoid his arrest.

“It made sense to forcibly take the man to the ground,” said The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino. “Doing so would bring the man’s flight to an end while positioning the officers to better manage any further resistance from the man and restrict his access to a possible weapon.”

The director accepted that the man’s clavicle was broken when the officer grounded him, he was, however, unable to reasonably conclude that the injury was attributable to unlawful conduct on the part of the officer.

The Special Investigations Unit can investigate the actions of officials like police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission or peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act, that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

According to the SIU, “A person sustains a “serious injury” for purposes of the SIU’s jurisdiction if they: sustain an injury as a result of which they are admitted to hospital; suffer a fracture to the skull or to a limb, rib or vertebra; suffer burns to a significant proportion of their body; lose any portion of their body; or, as a result of an injury, experience a loss of vision or hearing. In addition, a “serious injury” means any other injury sustained by a person that is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature.”