SIU clears Toronto police after man's hip broken in takedown after undercover drug deal
Police watchdog says man was arrested after selling $40 of crack cocaine to an undercover officer
The province's police watchdog has cleared a Toronto officer of any wrongdoing after that officer broke a man's hip while taking him to the ground after he sold $40 worth of crack cocaine to an undercover cop.
According to a report from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), it all began just after 3 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2019.
That's when members of Toronto police's drug squad were conducting an undercover bust in the area of Church Street and Queen Street East. An undercover officer in plain clothes approached a 61-year-old man on the south sidewalk of Queen and asked for $40 worth of crack cocaine, the report says.
The man left the area before coming back, and then handed off drugs to the officer, according to the SIU. That's when the officer walked away from the scene and gave a signal to other police waiting nearby that the sale had gone through.
Police then converged on the area and confronted the man. One officer showed him his badge and told him he was under arrest. The man then pulled back and "broke the officer's hold," the report reads, so the officer then grabbed the man by his clothes and forced him to the ground, where he landed on his right side.
According to security camera video from the scene, the officer investigated by the SIU could be seen kneeling on the man with his knees on his back and left shoulder.
The man was handcuffed "after a struggle," according to the report. This happened around 3:15 p.m.
"The complainant immediately complained of pain in his right hip," the report notes.
The man was later taken to 51 Division, where he was strip searched and put in a cell. At 8:30 p.m. — five hours after he was taken to the ground — the man was led into the division's booking hall. On security video from the station, the man "appeared to be in severe pain," the SIU report says.
The man was later taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a broken hip.
In his written decision, SIU Director Joseph Martino said there are "no reasonable grounds" to believe the officer committed a crime in connection with the man's arrest and injury.
"When the complainant resisted his arrest by pulling free of the [subject officer's] hold, the officer was entitled to resort to a measure of force to take him into custody," Martino wrote.
"In my view, the takedown that followed, which does not appear to have been overly violent, was a reasonable tactic in the circumstances," he said, also noting that "no strikes of any kind were delivered by the officers.
"While I accept that the complainant suffered his injury in the course of his takedown at the hands of the [subject officer], there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the arrest or the force that was used to effect it were unlawful. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with charges in this case and the file is closed."