No charges after K-9 takedown breaks Oshawa man’s leg

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Published October 19, 2023 at 1:25 pm

SIU investigation after Peel police officer fires gun at man in Mississauga
(Photo: SIU)

No officers will face charges after a man’s leg was broken in a K-9 Unit takedown.

The man, 26, was the subject of an investigation back in June. Around 1 a.m. on June 14, Durham Regional Police responded to reports he was chasing a woman around a home on Wilson Rd. while brandishing a cane.

The man had already broken his leg and his foot was in an aircast after a previous encounter with police. According to the 911 caller, the man was prohibited from being at the house or around the victim due to his release conditions after the earlier arrest.

When officers arrived, the man ran away into a neighbouring yard. A K-9 unit was brought in to track him down. The K-9 officer and his dog arrived shortly before 2 a.m. in a marked SUV. It was raining heavily that night.

Despite the rain, the area was full of cops looking for the suspect. The K-9 unit began a patrol of the neighbourhood. Just after 2 a.m. the pair came to a yard Cricklewood Dr. The K-9 officer asked another cop to shine their flashlight into the dark brush at the back of the yard. While no one was visible, the officers heard someone yell, “ouch, ouch, ouch.”

The K-9 officer told the man to come out of the bushes with their hands up. When he did not, the officers came around and saw the man lying on his back on the grass. The police service dog had the suspect’s broken leg in their jaws.

The dog continued to hold the man as the officers arrested him. Officers removed the dog from the suspect after handcuffing him. The officers called in an ambulance to address. A medical assessment found the man had gained a fresh fracture in his already broken leg and an injury from the dog bite.

Due the the man’s serious injuries, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was brought in to investigate the circumstances of the arrest. After a months-long investigation, the SIU concluded the officer had not broken any laws, per a report issued on Oct. 19.

“The use of the dog was legally justified, SIU Director Joseph Martino concluded,”The Complainant had fled from the scene of the 911 call and secreted himself in a neighbouring property, successfully evading detection by the initial officers in the area. It made sense to use the PSD, therefore, to attempt to locate an individual who had reportedly just committed an act of violence.”

“It also made sense to allow the dog to bite and hold the Complainant pending his restraint in handcuffs,” Martino continued. However, he did note the dog did not immediately release the suspect but held on to him for an additional 15 seconds after the handler’s release command.

Martino didn’t put much stock into this saying, “no police dog handler ever has complete control of a dog when it is deployed. There is always an element of unpredictability when using another sentient creature as a tool in an officer’s hands.” As such, Martino found no cause to charge the officer with any offences.

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