Windsor

Police watchdog clears Windsor officers involved in December mental health-related arrest

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) cleared two Windsor police officers who fractured a 42-year-old Windsor man's clavicle during a mental health-related apprehension last December. 

Officers fractured a Windsor man's clavicle over the course of his apprehension

(Tom Addison/CBC)

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) cleared two Windsor police officers who fractured a 42-year-old Windsor man's clavicle during a mental health-related apprehension last December. 

In a Sept. 13 SIU report, interim director Joseph Martino concluded that the force used by the officers to apprehend the man was "legally justified."

"It is unfortunate that the complainant suffered a fracture to his clavicle while being apprehended by the police, whether the result of being grounded or handcuffed," wrote Martino. "However, as the force used by the officers was in my view legally justified, there are no grounds for proceeding with charges in this matter and the file is closed."

Timeline of events

According to the same report, the incident in question occurred on the evening of Dec. 22, 2018 at an apartment on Chatham Street..

The man's wife called 911 over concerns about the man's behaviour, indicating that he has a mental health disorder and had access to knives. 

Four officers were dispatched to the Chatham Street address, meeting the man's wife in the building's lobby, where she explained that the man was depressed and had threatened her. 

"As they talked, the [man] exited an elevator and turned to walk toward the rear exit of the building located on University Avenue," wrote Martino. "He had two knives concealed on his person and was carrying a baseball bat in his jacket."

The officers reportedly intercepted the man, at which point one officer "grabbed hold of him in a bear hug and took him to the ground." 

The man was then handcuffed and taken into custody, according to the SIU report. 

The man then complained about a pain in his right shoulder, and was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured clavicle. 

SIU analysis

As per the SIU report, section 25(1) of the Criminal Code protects officers from liability related to force used in the course of their duties "provided such force is no more than is reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they are required or authorized to do by law."

Martino said the officers "reasonably concluded" that the man was a "present threat to his own safety as well as that of those around him."

"As the complainant had just threatened his wife and was clearly of unsound mind at the time, the officer's apprehensions were well-founded," wrote Martino.

As such, the SIU concluded that the officers had committed no wrongdoing, and declared this file closed.