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Waterloo regional police officer cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in Cambridge arrest

The province’s Special Investigations Unit. (File photo) The province’s Special Investigations Unit. (File photo)
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A Waterloo regional police officer will not face criminal charges after the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) looked into an arrest in Cambridge.

The arrest happened on June 23, 2023 after officers were called to a reported break and enter in the Avenue Road and Elgin Street North area at approximately 2:56 p.m.

During the arrest, officers say the suspect pulled away from officers as they attempted to position his arms behind his back.

He was then hit in the thigh twice before a conducted energy weapon (CEW) was used to subdue him.

The suspect would later go to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with three broken ribs.

In a report, the director of the SIU said the officers were within their rights to use force because they believed the suspect had just committed a violent act and possessed a firearms licence.

However, the report also notes several discrepancies from the day of the arrest.

Although officers originally responded to the area following a 9-1-1 call claiming the suspect was breaking into a family member’s home, following his arrest, the suspect told officers he entered the house using a key and showed officers a rent receipt for the address.

The woman who had initially called 9-1-1 told officers she had signed the receipt after the suspect had threatened to make sexual assault allegations against her if she did not cooperate with his demands.

She also told officers she had evicted the suspect days earlier.

Ultimately, the suspect was released unconditionally.

A TikTok video reviewed by the SIU shows the suspect lying on his stomach on the front porch of the home with his hands handcuffed behind his back. He can be heard yelling at officers and claiming he didn’t fight them or attempt to run away.

“With respect to the force used by the [Subject Official] and his colleagues, I am unable to reasonably conclude that it was not legally justified,” SIU Director Joseph Martino wrote in the report.

“The Complainant pulled away from the officers and refused to surrender his arms to be handcuffed. On the ground, the officers could better expect to manage any continuing resistance on the part of the Complainant. As for the strikes and CEW discharges that followed, there is a conflict in the evidence. There is a version of events in which the Complainant did not resist on the ground, but was nevertheless met with a hefty kick to the left side, and multiple CEW discharges. The officers’ rendition of events, however, paints a picture of force that was scaled and proportionate to the exigencies of the moment,” the report stated.

“Simply put, there is nothing in the evidence to suggest that the account depicting undue force is likelier to be any closer to the truth than that proffered by the officers.”

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