INGLESIDE – Two police officers with the O.P.P. have been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing after a man, armed with a loaded shotgun, ended up with several broken ribs during his arrest at the end of an Ingleside standoff a year ago.
Ontario Special Investigations Unit Director Joseph Martino released his report today (Tuesday) on the September 2019 standoff.
SD&G O.P.P. went to a farm on Dafoe Road on Sept. 23 to arrest a 65-year-old man on a charge of mischief to public property. “Upset at the township over a municipal grievance, the complainant had intentionally dug up the roadway in front of his home,” the SIU report states.
Officers backed off after they were greeted with “profanity, the sound of a shotgun being racked and a threat by the complainant that he would not be taken alive.”
That’s when the Emergency Response Team and the Tactical Response Unit (TRU) were brought in, along with crisis negotiators. The command post was at Dafoe Road and Aultsville Roads, near the “small farm…surrounded by thick brush and foliage.”
After using a bullhorn to call the man out, setting off distraction devices and throwing in a cell phone to negotiate, the man came out of the home after two hours with the loaded shotgun pointed at the sky. The report states that the man approached officers and was ordered multiple times to drop his weapon but he didn’t.
The tactical response unit fired on the man with a weapon equipped with plastic bullets, called an ARWEN, which dropped him and disarmed him of the shotgun. Officers then sent in a police dog, which bit him multiple times.
Since the shotgun was still close to the man on the ground, Martino ruled that the punches delivered by one of the subject officers and the further taser strike in the back of the man was warranted.
“While the ARWEN (plastic bullet gun) discharges were successful in felling the complainant and dispossessing him of the shotgun, the weapon remained in close proximity to the complainant on the ground providing the officers good reason to fear that he remained a serious threat as the dog and the CEW (taser) were deployed,” Martino wrote.
While the man was on the ground, now surrounded by officers, he continued to have his arms tucked under his chest, which Martino believed was justification in the officers fearing for their safety as the complainant might be hiding or trying to grab another weapon.
“By his conduct throughout the day, the complainant had made it clear that he had no intention of being arrested peacefully and that he was ready, willing and able to bring weapons to bear against the police,” Martino said.
“On this record, while a total of seven punches delivered by SO #1 (subject officer) might appear excessive, considered in context and given the fact that the complainant had yet to be subdued at the time the punches were thrown, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the officer’s force crossed the line.”
The officer who delivered the punches declined to be interviewed by the SIU or provide his notes, which they are allowed to do.
The file has been closed.