A York Regional Police officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) after a man suffered facial injuries last November during an arrest in Barrie.
The SIU says it found no reasonable grounds to believe that a York Regional Police (YRP) officer committed a criminal offence in connection to the 26-year-old man's injuries, which included a broken nose and jaw.
The SIU's report, released Wednesday afternoon, says YRP officers alerted Barrie police that they would be executing a warrant in Barrie. City police were aware of the operation and agreed to assist.
On Nov. 22, 2022, at 3:50 p.m., a man was arrested for drug trafficking at a plaza on Cundles Road East after officers from YRP's property crime unit witnessed an alleged drug transaction.
Once the suspected transaction was completed, police officers arrested a man who was believed to be selling the drugs. The man was pulled from the driver’s seat of a truck, taken to the ground and suffered injuries during the arrest, according to the SIU.
The man was transported to Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured jaw and nose. He was released back into the custody of YRP, transported to 4 District in Vaughan and held for a bail hearing.
The SIU report says the man resisted as officers attempted to pull him out of a pickup truck.
According to the report, an officer punched the man "once or twice." The suspect and officers then tumbled to the ground before he was handcuffed and taken to hospital.
“There is some evidence the (man) never resisted the officers’ efforts to arrest him, but it would be unwise and unsafe to rest charges on the strength of this evidence alone," SIU director Joseph Martino said in his report.
The SIU report also states that claims the injured man did not resist is contradicted by the "countervailing evidence" from officers interviewed by the SIU who assisted in his arrest.
"Its reliability suffers from the fact that the source refused to acknowledge what seemed apparent on the evidence, namely that the (man) was involved in an illicit drug transaction," Martino said in the report.
"The evidence establishes that the officers had cause to be concerned that the (man) was in possession of a weapon, possibly a firearm," he added.
When the man resisted arrest inside the pickup truck, the SIU says he leaned away from the officers toward the centre of the vehicle.
“The officers were within their rights in resorting to a measure of force to immediately distract and subdue (him)," Martino said.
“Up to two punches delivered in quick succession to the (man's) face would not appear a disproportionate or unnecessary use of force in the moment, particularly as it appears (he) continued to offer a measure of resistance after the strikes,” he added.
The SIU says the file is now closed.
Click here to read the full report.