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Officer cleared after man's nose broken during arrest

Special Investigations Unit

A local police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing after a suspect's nose was broken during an arrest. 

Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) director Joseph Martino announced today that there are no reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence was committed by a Timmins Police officer when a 26-year-old man was punched last year.

While the man's nose was broken while being arrested, Martino's decision concluded that "there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the fracture was the result of unlawful conduct" by the officer. As such, there is no basis for criminal charges and the file is closed. 

The SIU is an arms-length agency that investigates police-involved incidents where there has been a death, serious injury, allegations of sexual assault, or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

RELATED: SIU ends investigation into incident at local coffee shop

Martino's report details what happened on Nov. 26, 2022. Police responded to a call for a man who had been found sleeping in the parking lot and refused to leave the area of an Algonquin Boulevard business and urinated on an outside wall.

Investigators obtained video surveillance of the incident. 

It showed the officer experiencing "some difficulty" controlling the suspect. During a struggle, the suspect was "grounded" and punched by the officer. 

When other another officer arrived on the scene, the man was handcuffed and put in the back of a cruiser. He was bleeding from his nose and mouth, reads the report. He was brought to the police station and later brought to the hospital by ambulance. At the hospital, it was determined the man had a broken nose.

Martino's analysis of the incident talks about the use of force used by the officer, especially the four punches "in the course of a wrestling contest between the two parties." 

The director says he's "unable reasonably conclude that it was not legally justified." 

He believes the tactic of the first punch was reasonable because it was after a period of struggle when the complainant was "undeterred."   

"The second, third and fourth punch were equally reasonable for the same reasons; they were each delivered while the Complainant’s fight persisted. No further force was used once the Complainant was handcuffed," Martino wrote. 

Read the full director's report here.