No charges after Toronto police Tasered psychiatric patient multiple times: SIU

The Canadian Press
January 10, 2018
By The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario’s police watchdog says no charges are warranted after a psychiatric patient at a downtown Toronto hospital suffered a broken hip when Tasered multiple times by police officers.

The Special Investigations Unit said in a release Tuesday that the hospital made a 911 call for assistance with a patient on Sept. 24, 2016, and the man was subdued by a conducted energy weapon and then sedated by hospital staff.

Late on Sept. 27, police again responded to a 911 call regarding the same patient in the psychiatric intensive care unit who was threatening hospital staff, being unruly and combative and refusing to take his medication, the SIU said.

Emergency Task Force officers were updated on the patient’s background and behaviour when they arrived and, with the officers present, the man agreed to take his medication by injection, but his behaviour was not affected.

More medication was administered, but the SIU said the man remained aggressive and violent and threatened the officers and their families.

“Three vials were administered to him without any apparent effect,” the SIU report said.

The agency said that early on Sept. 28, the patient turned towards the officers “with his chest puffed up, both hands clenched into fists” yelling and swearing, and “threatened to kill the ETF officers and their families.”

When he didn’t comply with orders to stop approaching, three officers discharged their CEWs, striking his torso, shoulder, neck and arm.

The SIU says all of the Tasers were deployed at approximately the same time, two three times and the other twice, causing the man to fall to the floor.

He was placed in restraints on a bed and X-rays taken later that day revealed that he had suffered a subcapital fracture to his right femur.

“I find that their (the officers) behaviour was more than justified in the circumstances and that they used no more force than necessary to subdue the (man),” said SIU director Tony Loparco.

Loparco said he took into account that the patient was an extremely large and powerful man, would not listen to reason, continued to be violent and aggressive even after having been administered at least four vials of medication which should have made him groggy and compliant and that the officers were acting in consultation with a doctor who was familiar with the patient and his behaviour.

“Every lesser means of subduing the (man) had already been tried and failed,” he said, noting officers had already been on the scene for more than four hours and had attempted to calm the man before using their Tasers.

“Even after the initial deployment of the CEWs, the (man) was observed to try to get back up.”

“In these particular circumstances, I am unable to find that the actions by the officers amounted to an excessive use of force,” Loparco said.

- Peter Cameron

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2017

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