Thunder Bay

Disciplinary charges dropped against Thunder Bay, Ont. police officer in altercation with Indigenous teen

A Thunder Bay, Ont. police officer caught on video slapping an Indigenous teen has had Police Services Act charges against her dropped.

Police spokesperson says case has been resolved through "internal disciplinary process"

Police Services Act charges against Const. Courtney Clair, who was caught on video in a physical altercation with an Indigenous teen on a stretcher in December 2018, were dropped last week. (Facebook)

A Thunder Bay, Ont. police officer caught on video striking an Indigenous teen has had Police Services Act charges against her dropped after an internal process, but the force won't disclose any disciplinary measures that were taken.

Const. Courtney Clair was charged with two counts of unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority last year, after the Dec. 1, 2018 incident, but those charges were officially withdrawn last week.

The incident, which was captured on video and subsequently widely shared on social media, showed a teen girl on a stretcher being struck by the officer, later identified as Clair.

Thunder Bay Police Service spokesperson Chris Adams said the decision to withdraw the charges was made following an exhaustive review by the force's prosecutor.

"The Chief's complaint against the officer has been resolved through an internal disciplinary process which involves corrective steps to address the officer's conduct during the 2018 incident," Adams said in a written statement.

Adams said the issue is now an internal employment matter and no further statement would be made on the case, including the nature of the internal process or the corrective steps.

Under Ontario's Police Services Act, disciplinary proceedings are typically open to the public with a designated hearing officer responsible for determining whether the allegations have been proven and to make a decision on any disciplinary action.

Alvin Fiddler, the grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation which represents 49 First Nations communities in northern Ontario, previously called for an independent investigation with its results made public.

In the video, the officer is heard yelling, "That's enough," before appearing to hit the teen in the face.

The officer later yelled, "Do not spit on me, you do not spit on me," while appearing to forcefully push down on the person on the stretcher.

Indigenous leaders in northwestern Ontario had previously identified the girl, who was 17 at the time, as a student from Nibinamik First Nation who was attending school at the Matawa Learning Centre in Thunder Bay.

Adams said all involved parties have been made aware of the decision to drop the charges.