SIU Clears Peel Police Officer in Brampton Domestic Assault

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A Peel police officer has been cleared by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit after a 48-year-old man was injured during an arrest involving a domestic situation in Brampton.

The complainant -who had already seriously assaulted his ex-wife- “was now hiding in a dark attic in her home after having illegally entered the home, he was in a dark and confined space” with an officer, said SIU director Tony Loparco, “and there was only one avenue open to both for exiting the attic, and the officers were unable to determine whether or not the complainant was armed.”

The incident took place on July 18, 2016 at 1:50 a.m.

That’s when officers responded to a domestic situation at a house in Brampton, arresting a man for various domestic related offences involving his ex-wife.

A struggle ensued and the man was diagnosed with a fractured left rib.

Investigators learned the man’s ex-wife was home with a male visitor when the complainant arrived to collect some belongings.

He was angry and confronted the visitor, who fled.

The complainant assaulted his ex-wife and took off before police arrived.

A patrol officer took the victim to a police station to provide a video statement then brought her home.

The subject officer followed in a separate cruiser.

The complainant was spotted in the second-floor bedroom window.

Both officers went inside and found him in the attic, hidden under the insulation.

One officer tried to remove the man from the attic, and a struggle ensued.

The subject officer, who remained on the floor below, grabbed the man’s foot through the attic opening, and he fell through the opening to the floor.

Once on the ground, the complainant continued to resist the officers, but was eventually handcuffed.

Officers took the man to the station where he was held in custody for a bail hearing.

Later that morning, while the complainant was at the courthouse, he complained of pain to his left side.

He was transported to hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured rib.

“While I fully accept that the complainant likely sustained his injury when his legs were grabbed by the [subject officer] and he then was either pulled or fell hard onto the floor below, I cannot find this to amount to an excessive use of force in the circumstances,” wrote Loparco.

Then there’s the matters of sobriety and compliance at the time of the incident.

The complainant conceded to two officers “that he was a drunken ‘a–—e’ and deserved what he got from the police because he was a ‘dirt bag’ for assaulting his girlfriend,” wrote Loparco in his decision, “which I again find inconsistent not only with the assertion that he was sober but also that he did not resist.”

Officers “would have been under extreme pressure to get the complainant out of the attic as quickly as possible and to confine him before he had the opportunity to do any harm,” wrote Loparco.

Having said that, both officers “exercised poor judgment by sending a lone police officer into a dark and confined space to search for a known violent offender, who may or may not have been armed.”

Loparco is recommending additional training for the officers, whom he said should’ve called for backup and possibly had the emergency task force (ETF) attend to deal with the situation.

Photo courtesy of Peel Regional Police

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