Man hurt during arrest was aggressive toward children, Winnipeg police, watchdog report says
Injured man said pacemaker 'shocks' caused him to appear aggressive to police
A Manitoba police watchdog report says a Winnipeg man was yelling at people in a yard during a children's party in 2022 and cut down part of a fence using a power saw and hatchet before he was hurt during his arrest.
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba said its investigation into the summer 2022 arrest, which ended with the man suffering a broken rib, was curtailed after the Winnipeg police officer identified in the use of force allegations died.
In March, the watchdog announced it had ended its investigation into the incident because of the death, but didn't release its final report as the man who was arrested was still moving through the courts.
That case concluded, although the result is unknown, and the IIU released its full report into the matter on Thursday, including details of the dispute leading up to the man's arrest.
Police were called to a home on Holborn Place in Winnipeg's south end for a report of a dispute between two neighbours in which one was yelling at children and cut down a fence with a power saw and hatchet, according to the report.
The man later told investigators he lost his patience when his neighbours spoke disparagingly about him and the state of the fence.
Police told investigators the man believed to be responsible for the damage was found inside a home nearby on Sonning Bay, where he was told that he was under arrest for mischief under $5,000.
At that point, police said the man became aggressive, encouraged officers to come and get him, threw punches and hit an officer in the head.
Police said they had to use force to restrain the man and arrest him.
The man told investigators he was hit in the face with the butt of a stun gun and punched in his side.
A medical report submitted to investigators concluded the man had suffered a fractured rib and some bruising as a result of the arrest.
Health episode misconstrued as aggression
The man who was arrested told investigators he wasn't being aggressive, but was dealing with issues with his pacemaker where it would shock him in an uncomfortable way, and had been throughout the night leading up to his arrest.
Pacemakers sometimes shock or jolt a person if there's excessive movement that causes a detachment of the generator from the wires or the wires from the heart muscle.
The man had gotten worked up during the encounter with his neighbour over a rotten fence post and was starting to feel shocks, so he went inside to cool down, according to the report.
The man said he wasn't being aggressive when police came to speak to and arrest him — he was clutching his chest and had his arm up.
Pacemaker data and a log was reviewed by his medical team and later given to investigators with the man's permission.
The log shows that on the day of the arrest, the man had four episodes, between 10:09 p.m. and 10:39 p.m. where the pacemaker had to administer "shocks" to his body.
The first episode occurred just before police arrived on the scene.
When police were told by others in the home at the time of the arrest that the man had a pacemaker, they called for an ambulance.
No charges were laid as a result of the injury during arrest because the officer in question died and the subject is moot, the police watchdog said.