Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has charged two Ottawa police officers with assault related to an August call of a man lying on a downtown sidewalk.

The incident happened around 6 a.m. Aug. 13. Later that day, the SIU was contacted by Ottawa police, which reported two of its officers arrived at the scene and found 50-year-old Hugh Styres lying down along Henderson Avenue in the Sandy Hill neighbourhood.

Styres, who is from Ottawa, was eventually arrested and sustained injuries.

Passerby Tasha Doucette had called police to alert them about Styres' condition. But she alleged the officers were rough with Styres, as she watched behind a bush.

Ian Scott, SIU's director of investigations, said he believes those officers assaulted Styres. 


Hugh Styres said he plans to fight the charges against him. (CBC)

The officers face one charge each of assault causing bodily harm and are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 20. The SIU, which investigates all reports involving police that lead to death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault, would not comment any further on the investigation.

'Shocking' incident

Carleton University criminologist Darryl Davies said the incident was another black eye for Ottawa police.

"How do you in the city of Ottawa fall asleep on the sidewalk and the next time you wake up you got a fractured jaw?" asked Davies. "I mean is that the way we deal with the public in this community? Is that the way we respond to incidents? It's shocking quite frankly."

Styres said he was intoxicated and can't remember the incident, but said he woke up as he was getting an MRI scan. He was later diagnosed with facial fractures. He later found police had left a ticket in his boots and charged him with assaulting a police officer.

Styres said he plans to fight the assault charge and also plans a lawsuit against police.

Ottawa police are already facing four lawsuits from people who have alleged rough treatment in an Ottawa cellblock.