SIU clears police after Tasered man falls down stairs, gets brain bleed
Man injured after allegedly committing an assault in 2018
Ontario's police watchdog has cleared a Toronto officer of any wrongdoing in connection with a 2018 incident where a man was Tasered before falling down a set of stairs and suffering a brain bleed and a broken vertebra.
According to a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) news release issued Tuesday, Toronto police were first called about a man who reportedly had a knife in north Etobicoke on the evening of Aug. 1, 2018.
The SIU said that at about 9:30 p.m. that day, the man was in the area of the Finchdale Plaza, near Finch Avenue West and Islington Avenue, when he got into a fight with another man.
That second man ran off and "took refuge" in a nearby restaurant in the plaza while bleeding from the mouth, the SIU said. The first man then ran into the restaurant and "threatened to resume the assault," the news release reads.
The complainant had made it clear that he would not be taken peacefully.- Joseph Martino, interim SIU director
According to witness reports from the scene, the man threatened to "f--king kill everybody" if anyone let the man he was trying to fight out the back door of the restaurant.
Calls to 911 quoted in the report also say people reported the man had a pocket knife, and at one point tried to kick down the back door of the restaurant.
Officers got to the scene and found the man hiding behind a nearby car. They asked him to surrender several times but he refused and walked away, the report reads.
At one point, the man told the officers that rubber bullets wouldn't be enough to take him down, and they would need "real bullets" to take him into custody, the SIU said.
Other officers arrived and one tried to stop him with a Taser, but the man didn't go down, the report reads.
He was then hit by another officer's Taser, and this time, he did fall — face first down a flight of stairs, which led from Hasbrooke Drive to the rear of the plaza, the SIU said.
The man hit his head on the metal railing of the stairs and temporarily blacked out, the report reads. Paramedics arrived and took him to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a brain bleed, a fractured orbital bone and a broken vertebra.
Joseph Martino, the interim director of the Special Investigations Unit, said in a statement that the officers at the scene didn't do anything wrong.
"The complainant had made it clear that he would not be taken peacefully," Martino said. "He threatened the officers as they travelled east along Hasbrooke Drive and told them they better resort to real firearms if they had any chance of stopping him."
Given what the officers knew about the recent assault, and the possibility that the man had a knife on him, the police acted correctly, Martino said.
"There are no grounds for proceeding with charges against the subject officer and the file is closed," he said.
The SIU investigates incidents involving police officers where there has been a death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.