CORNWALL – The province’s Special Investigations Unit has cleared three officers of the Cornwall Community Police Service of any criminal wrongdoing after an arrest in May.
Officers were called to the Via Rail station just after 10 p.m. on May 17, after reports of a suspicious person. They found a man inside the empty train station.
When they went up to him, the 43-year-old walked into a washroom and was asked to come out.
According to the SIU, the suspect began moving his hands rapidly in and out of his pockets and then began to “flail his arms and push one of the officers” and that’s when officers attempted to gain control of the situation.
The man was tasered, struck with a baton and was given three knee strikes “before the man stopped resisting” and was handcuffed.
The facts of the case were pieced together through interviews and surveillance footage from the train station. Two officers were interviewed and provided copies of their notebooks. A third officer declined, which he is legally allowed to do, the SIU said.
There were five investigators and one forensic investigator assigned to the case.
“The 43-year-old man does not speak English and has a delayed mental capacity,” SIU Director Tony Loparco stated. “As was later explained by the man and a case worker, the man loves trains. Unfortunately, his attempts to communicate what he meant by his actions were unsuccessful because the officers could not understand him.”
Loparco said he couldn’t find on reasonable grounds that the officers’ actions were criminally liable and were performing their duties to preserve the peace and protect the public.
Loparco believes the officers did not use more force than necessary, “bearing in mind their honest but reasonable mistake about the man’s initial conduct.”