Officer cleared after woman breaks collarbone during Hamilton drunk driving arrest
Published December 4, 2023 at 10:15 am
The arresting officer has been cleared of wrongdoing after a woman broke her collarbone during a drunk driving arrest.
According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the woman was at a bar on Aug. 5, 2023. She was cut off as intoxicated early that morning but drove away from the bar. Once she left, the bar call police to report her as a drunk driver.
Officers soon responded and found the car at Centennial Pkwy. and Van Wagner’s Beach Rd. They followed the car south along Centennial Pkwy. for about a kilometre, before pulling her over just north of Arrowsmith Rd.
The officers approached the car with one heading to the driver’s door. The officer told her to “get out of the car” as he reached in a grabbed her left arm. He pulled the driver who slid butt-first out of the car. She landed on the road flat on her behind.
The officer then took both of the woman’s hands and pulled her backwards a short distance from the car. He then pulled her to her feet and held her steady. The officers then pushed the driver to the car and cuffed her hands behind her back. He then placed her in the back of his cruiser.
The officers took the woman to hospital where she was diagnosed with a broken left collarbone. As in any case where someone is seriously injured in an arrest, the SIU was called in to investigate the incident.
According to SIU Director Joseph Martino’s Dec. 4 decision, there are no grounds to believe the officer used excessive force in the arrest. In Ontario, police officers are exempt from criminal liability while executing their duties, if the force used is deemed “reasonably necessary.”
In this case, Martino found the officer used a reasonable level of force to stop the woman. “The officer grabbed the [driver]’s left arm and applied a minimal amount of force in removing her from the vehicle,” he wrote. As a result there are no grounds to charge the officer.
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