Yesterday, Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) concluded an investigation of an Ontario Provincial Police officer after a woman's finger was crushed when the door to her cell was closed.
The announcement was made by Ian Scott, the SIU's Director. Scott said no criminal charges will be brought against the officer who closed the cell door, crushing the prisoner's pinkie finger.
On Nov. 15, 2012, the 30-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, was arrested in her Rockland, Ontario home and charged with breaching the term of her recognizance that prohibited her from consuming alcohol. She was transported to the Rockland OPP detachment and placed in a cell.
After she was put into the cell, she took toilet paper and placed it over the lens of the security camera. Officers went into the cell and removed it. She was then placed in an adjoining cell in which the toilet paper had been taken out. But she found some paper and again covered the lens of the camera.
The subject officer and a witness officer entered the new cell and again removed the paper covering the camera. They left the cell and the subject officer closed the door. The officers then heard a scream.
They looked at the monitor and realized the woman was in distress. The subject officer went in and placed a bandage on her bleeding finger. Paramedics were called and the prisoner was taken to hospital and treated for a crushed finger.
The incident was examined by two investigators and one forensic investigator. Five witnesses were interviewed and the subject officer's notes were looked at.
In concluding no criminal charges were warranted, Scott said, "In my view, the subject officer did nothing wrong. He had a legitimate reason for entering the woman's cell. There is no suggestion that he was aware that the prisoner might place her hand on either the cell door or the door frame in a manner that would cause this injury. The only reasonable inference to draw is that the woman either advertently or inadvertently put her hand between the closing cell door and the frame causing this comminuted fracture when the subject officer unsuspectingly closed the cell door."
The Special Investigations Unit is an agency completely independent of police and has jurisdiction to investigate the actions of police officers throughout the province. An investigation is held whenever police come into contact with civilians and an incident occurs involving death, serious injury or an allegation of a sexual assault.
Employees of the SIU conduct an investigation and pass their findings to the Director. If the Director reasonably believes criminal charges are warranted, he or she will lay whatever charges they feel are appropriate under the circumstances.