SIU says excessive force was used during a February arrest but unable to lay any charges against Toronto police officers

Man suffered fracture to face and spine during Richmond Hill arrest

While the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says excessive force was used in an arrest this year, no officer will face any fallout as a result.

The SIU reports a 28-year-old man suffered multiple fractures to his face and spine over the course of his arrest on February 2.

His arrest came about as part of a Toronto Police Service investigation into a kidnapping. Officers believed the victim was being held at an address in Richmond Hill. The hostage was located within, along with two individuals who were placed under arrest. According to the Special Investigations Unit, one of the suspects was handcuffed while on the ground, then kicked at least once, possibly twice, to the left eye. Investigators say was also punched several times, even though he was being fully compliant with Emergency Task Force (ETF) officers.

Despite this interaction, the SIU has determined no charges will be laid as it cannot determine which officer committed the offense.

“According to the incriminating evidence, the Complainant had effectively surrendered and was on the ground, compliant with his hands handcuffed behind his back, when an ETF officer kicked him in the side of the face,” reads a statement from SIU Director Joseph Martino. “The obstacle to the laying of charges resides in the evidence regarding identification. Simply put, while the investigation was able to establish that it was likely either subject officer 1 or subject officer 2 who delivered the impugned strikes, it could go no further in identifying who in particular was responsible for the blow or blows.”

Martino points out all responding officers were wearing tactical gear that obscured their identities, while none had their names or badge numbers clearly visible during the incident. “In the result, while I am satisfied there are reasonable grounds to believe that excessive force was used, I am unable to attribute said force to any one or more identifiable ETF officers.”