Blue Line

SIU clears police in Grimsby investigation

August 31, 2023  By Abby Green, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Aug. 31, 2023, Grimsby, Ont. – The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) have cleared Niagara Regional police of allegations related to a suspect’s injuries in Grimsby.

According to the SIU report, officers arrested a 58-year-old man in Grimsby at a residence near the QEW on May 2.

The person who called 911 called and requested assistance, worried the suspect was experiencing an episode related to the Mental Health Act.

The suspect was known to police, and was reportedly known to be violent. He was also known to be currently on charges with release conditions not to be at the residence he was at.


Police were called out, but by the time they got there, the suspect had already left.

Twenty minutes later, there was a second 911 call, and the caller said the suspect had returned.

When officers returned, he was trying to get into the back door of the building.

Officers arrived, and the report said he was aggressive toward them. He was taken to the ground in the course of his arrest.

“By all accounts, minimal force was used in the takedown, although it does appear that the Complainant’s head struck the ground in the process,” the report reads.

An ambulance was called to treat a cut on his hand, but the cuts turned out to be old.

He was put into a cell at Niagara Regional Police Headquarters in Niagara Falls just after 3 a.m.

The report says he did not speak while at the booking desk.

“His eyes were open, and he was following the directions of the officers around him,” it reads. “He did not appear to be injured at this time.”

The cell he was put in had a large window that allowed a view into the cell from the custody desk. The report said he was wobbly, but could sit up on his own and was able to converse with officers.

He then seemed to fall asleep while sitting upright, but woke himself up.

About 40 minutes after he was put in a police cell, he took himself to the toilet. When returning, he shuffled back over to the bench, turned around, and started to fall forward.

“He appeared to try and stop his fall and, when he could not, placed his hands out in front of himself to break the fall,” the report said. “The Complainant fell forward and landed on the floor with his forehead first.”

He was then taken to hospital and diagnosed with fractured vertebrae.

As the injury happened while in police custody, the SIU took over the investigation to make sure officers were not involved.

SIU Director Joseph Martino determined there was no reasonable grounds to believe that an officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the man’s injuries.

“The only force used by police against the Complainant was at his brother’s residence where (officers) grounded him,” he said in the report. “On the evidence, the takedown was warranted, given the aggressive fashion in which the Complainant was approaching the officers, and executed with minimal force.”

While Martino admits the suspects impact with the ground at that time cannot be dismissed as the source of one or more of his diagnosed fractures, he was unable to reasonably conclude that the force used by the officers was excessive.

“In my view, the Complainant had been in the cell for no more than about 40 minutes before he lost his balance and fell,” he said. “Once down, officers immediately rendered assistance to the Complainant and arranged for prompt medical attention.”

–  Grimsby Lincoln News

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