3 Toronto police officers cleared by SIU after teen broke wrist during arrest following alleged machete attack

Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared three Toronto police officers of any criminal charges related to the arrest of a teenager who resulted in a broken wrist.

On Wednesday, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) released its findings on the February incident, when a 16-year-old boy broke his left wrist at the time of his arrest by officers, who were looking for a suspect. that he had confronted the police. with a machete

The incident took place near Long Branch Avenue and Lake Promenade in Etobicoke on the evening of February 13.

In the SIU report, a man called Toronto police to report the presence of two boys and a girl, who were between the ages of 15 and 16, in an underground parking garage. The man suspected that they were going to steal a vehicle.

One of the responding officers, in civilian clothes at the time, confronted one of the boys, but the SIU said the officer was confronted with “a sword.”

The report notes that after the officer drew his weapon, the suspects fled north toward Park Boulevard, where they hid inside a shed in the backyard of a nearby residence.

At around 8:50 p.m. that night, 50 minutes after the suspects fled, a police dog found them.

After a “little struggle,” the SIU said the 16-year-old boy was handcuffed and taken to the police cruiser, where one of the arresting officers pushed him against the vehicle.

“That action resulted in the [16-year-old boy’s] handcuffed arms pushed up behind his back,” the report says, adding that paramedics checked him on scene before taking him to the station.

“He later complained of pain in his left wrist and was transported to hospital where he was diagnosed with a fracture in the area.”

SIU Director Joseph Martino concluded that “there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the officers in question committed a criminal offense in connection with the arrest and injuries of the complainant.”

According to the Penal Code, Martino pointed out that officers are “immune to criminal responsibility for the use of force in the exercise of their functions, provided that said force is reasonably necessary in the execution of an action that the law requires or authorizes.” ”.

Since the 16-year-old matched the description of the suspect who reportedly attacked one of the officers with a machete and was found trespassing in the area, Martino says the officers had the “right to restrict his movements,” and it added that it cannot “reasonably conclude” that the use of force was unlawful.

“There is a version of events proffered in the evidence that the complainant was repeatedly kicked and punched after being thrown to the ground despite voluntarily turning himself in and offering no resistance,” Martino said, adding that it was disputed by eye testimonials.

As for the push to the back, Martino concluded that the force was “minimal” and did not have a negligible impact.

Martino concluded that it is not clear when the 16-year-old broke his left wrist, adding that evidence uncovered through the SIU investigation suggests the possibility that he fractured it when he tripped while fleeing from police before leaving. his arrest.

In February, Toronto police said they arrested and charged the three men in connection with an assault on a woman at a TTC subway station, where she received a cut to her face.

With files from CTV Toronto’s Phil Tsekouras


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