Thunder Bay

SIU clears officer after northern Ontario man blinded in eye by Taser prong

Ontario's police watchdog says there are no reasonable grounds to charge a provincial police officer after a Pikangikum First Nation man was struck near the eye by a prong from a Taser and partially blinded.

SIU was unable to determine if the officer deliberately fired at the man's face or it was happenstance

Ontario's Special Investigation Unit was unable to determine if the officer deliberately fired at the man's face, or if the prong lodged itself in his face by accident. (CBC)

The province's police watchdog says there are no reasonable grounds to charge a provincial police officer after a Pikangikum First Nation man was struck near the eye by a prong from a Taser and partially blinded.

Director Tony Loparco says the incident occurred on June 19, 2012, and was reported to the Special Investigations Unit on July 13, 2015, after the man's father notified the OPP that his son had lost sight in one eye.

The SIU says the officer was responding to a call about an out-of-control man at a home in Pikangikum First Nation when, at some point, he deployed his conducted energy weapon and one of the prongs lodged itself near the man's left eye.

The man was taken to a local nursing station, treated, and released, but returned the next day with pain and swelling to his eye, and later underwent surgery in Winnipeg for a detached retina.

Loparco says there was little evidence available to assess the incident and the man has "limited-to-no recollection" of the event.

He says the SIU was unable to determine if the officer deliberately fired at the man's face or if the prong lodged itself in his face by accident.

The SIU is an arm's length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

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