Niagara casino-unit police officer faces assault, weapons charges

Troubled Niagara-area police force arrest one of its own officers with assault, weapons charges

Cst. Ryan Woehl was subject of steroid, violence complaints in troubled Fort Erie detachment

Niagara Regional Police have charged one of its own officers with assaulting his common-law partner, as well as mischief and weapons offences after an off-duty incident at his home near Fort Erie, Ont.

Constable Ryan Woehl was arrested at his home in the village of Ridgeway early Sunday and was held in jail overnight awaiting a bail hearing Monday.  He is accused of two counts of assault, one count of mischief under $5,000, unsafe storage of a firearm and two counts of unsafe storage of a prohibited device.

He has not had a chance to respond to the police charges.

Officer faced steroid rage allegation in 2009

Woehl was one of a half dozen officers in the Niagara police Fort Erie detachment who became the subject of an investigation in 2012 amidst citizen complaints of excessive force and alleged steroid use by officers

Residents Robert Cox and wife Laura Crawford claim Woehl severely beat Cox after the couple got into an argument in 2009 and called 911 in hopes of getting help. Instead, the couple claim Const. Woehl arrived at their home and began pummelling Cox while accusing him of resisting arrest. 

"I never touched him," Cox told CBC News in an interview last year. "I never laid a hand on him. I never said a word to him. And that's the honest to God's truth."

In the subsequent trial, Woehl’s partner Const. Geoff Purdie testified that Cox struck Woehl, Cox said. "And they found me guilty. It's sickening."

Cox’s wife Laura Crawford filed a formal complaint with Niagara’s police Chief alleging Woehl and his partner Constable Geoff Purdie were so bulky and aggressive that they must have been on steroids.  "[Woehl] was stalking, going back and forth, pacing, pacing, pacing, pacing. You looked at his eyes and you knew he was on something, or he was nuts.

"I was terrified."

CBC has no evidence to support the citizens’ claims against Woehl.

However, Niagara Police reassigned a number of police officers in its Fort Erie detachment last year without ever disclosing what was learned from the internal investigation. Purdie, Woehl’s partner, resigned from the force this April after being convicted of smuggling controlled steroids from the U.S. into Canada. He is serving a one-year prison sentence in the United States.