Officer cleared of wrongdoing after man injured during violent arrest in Hamilton

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Published February 23, 2024 at 11:56 am

SIU Burlington OPP police investigation

Officers have been cleared of wrongdoing after a man was injured during an impaired driving arrest in Hamilton.

According to the Special Investigations Unit, reports of a possibly impaired driver near Main St. and Strathearne Ave. came in on the afternoon of Oct. 22. The 911 caller said a pick-up truck driver had gotten out of his truck, which continued to roll into another car.

The driver wandered about the hybrid industrial-residential area just off Hwy. 8 seemingly high, according to the caller. He then got back in the truck and drove away. The responding officers soon arrived in the area and interviewed witnesses then left to find the truck.

The pair found it a short distance away parked next to a building. A man was sitting in the driver’s seat. When the man noticed the officers approaching he tried to run into the building. However, the door he tried was locked.

One of the officers called out to tell the man he was under investigation for the collision. The man denied any involvement. The officers told the man he was under arrest for impaired driving.

When the officer tried to place the man in cuffs, he pulled away. All three fell to the ground. Per the SIU, the man continued to struggle on the ground resulting in one officer punching him in the belly several times. The other officer kneed the man in the stomach.

As the trio struggled, three other officers arrived to assist. They also piled on the man and began to hit him. One officer punched the man in the armpit, while another pepper sprayed him. The final officer punched the man in the head five time. This officer is the one who would later be under investigation.

According to the SIU, the man continued to struggle despite the police use of force until one of the officers tasered him twice. Following the man’s arrest he was taken to hospital where doctors found he had a broken orbital bone.

The SIU was called in to investigate the man’s injury. SIU Director Joseph Martino found on Feb. 23 that all five officers were justified in using the force they did.

“It is apparent in the video footage of the arrest that the [man] presented as a formidable opponent. Despite five officers on him, he put up a protracted and vigorous struggle. None of the physical strikes delivered by the officers.. had managed to sufficiently subdue him to control his arms behind his back,” Martino wrote in his report.

He continued, “It was only after the second of the [taser] discharges that the officers were able to handcuff the [man]. No further force was brought to bear by the police. On this record, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the [man] was subjected to excessive force.”

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