No charges for Sioux Lookout OPP officer after SIU investigation
Arrest occurred in November 2016
A Sioux Lookout OPP officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing after a man claimed he was injured during a 2016 arrest.
Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigated the claim; however, the agency's director Tony Loparco states in his report there is no basis to lay any criminal charges.
The report states the arrest occurred on Nov. 30, 2016. The subject officer and a witness officer responded to a 911 call from a Sioux Lookout shelter, regarding the complainant who was on the premises and intoxicated.
Under court order
The complainant, identified only as a 27-year-old man, was under a court order not to consume alcohol; witnesses say he was "clearly intoxicated" at the time he arrived at the shelter, however.
He had left the shelter by the time police arrived, but was found nearby, and placed under arrest for breaching his court order.
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He was taken to the police station, and complained of a sore left shoulder. The complainant was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a fractured left clavicle; he then alleged he was injured during his arrest.
The SIU assigned two investigators and one forensic investigator to the case; in addition to interviewing the complainant and reviewing his medical records, investigators interviewed five civilian witnesses, two police employees, and five witness officers, in addition to reviewing notes from five other officers and a number of documents and materials obtained from the OPP (the subject officer declined an interview or to provide notes, which is permitted by the Police Services Act).
Inconsistencies in complainant's testimony
In his report, Loparco cites a number of inconsistencies in the complainant's testimony.
For example, the man claimed he had no injuries prior to being arrested by the OPP; three witnesses said they'd seen him with facial injuries prior to his arrest.
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The complainant also described his injury as being caused by several different means during the day and evening of Nov. 30. For example, the man claimed:
- He'd injured his shoulder in the cells
- He was "thrown" into the back of a police cruiser and heard his shoulder "crack"
- He'd banged his shoulder on a cell wall in an effort to put it back into place
- His shoulder had been injured in a fight at the shelter earlier that day
- He was injured when police pulled his hands behind his back to handcuff him.
He also said he didn't know how he sustained his injury, and that his shoulder was "good" after he put it back into place using the cell wall.
Loparco states in the report that he can't give any credence to any version of the events as outlined by the complainant, for several reasons.
The complainant was heavily intoxicated, Loparco says, as he'd consumed an entire 26 oz. bottle of vodka on Nov. 20, 2016. Further, he was never thrown to the ground or up against the police cruiser while arrested, nor was he aggressively handcuffed.
Loparco writes "there is an absolute absence of any evidence capable of supporting a conclusion that the complainant's injuries were caused at the hands of the police officers who arrested him."
"It is far more likely that the complainant, due to his severe state of intoxication, simply does not recall how his clavicle was fractured or was unaware at the time of how the injury occurred, as evidenced by his numerous and inconsistent versions of how he was injured," the report states.
Loparo writes that it's far more likely the man's shoulder was injured when he fell earlier in the day, or at least dislocated it in the fall and then fractured it when he tried to put it back into alignment by smashing his shoulder into a cell wall.