Bar fight, not police, to blame for man's back injury: SIU
(Dan Lauckner / CTV Kitchener)
Published Monday, December 4, 2017 3:35PM EST
Waterloo Regional Police have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the case of a man who suffered a serious back injury last year.
The extent of the 27-year-old man’s injury was serious enough that Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit was called in to look into the case.
The series of events leading to the injury and investigation began around 2 a.m. on July 24, 2016, when the man was at a bar on Victoria Street in Kitchener.
According to the SIU, surveillance video shows the man provoking a bar fight, then being attacked by five people who grabbed, punched and kicked him. At one point, the video showed a man repeatedly stomping on the 27 year old’s back.
The 27 year old left the premises before police officers arrived. About an hour later, police got a tip that the man was at a Kitchener hospital’s emergency room, claiming he had fallen down a staircase and seeking treatment for a cut on the back of his head.
Two police officers tried to place the man under arrest for assault and other offences. The SIU says the man charged at the officers, missed them and crashed into equipment. One officer pulled at the man’s shorts, and all three people ended up on the ground. The officers, with help from bystanders, were able to place the man in handcuffs.
The man was later diagnosed with multiple fractures in his lower back. He claimed that police caused the injuries.
The SIU says witnesses told its investigators that the police officers never hit the man at all, and surveillance video backs up that they never hit him in the lower back.
“Any injury … must have occurred at the bar fight,” SIU director Tony Loparco said in his report.
“It is beyond any doubt … that no more force than necessary was used to subdue the complainant, a man who was described by civilian witnesses as a large, strong, raging man.”
The SIU’s investigation involved interviews with nearly a dozen witnesses, as well as the 27-year-old man and the two police officers who encountered him in the hospital.