SIU wipes out West Gray police in incident involving father and son


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The province’s Special Investigations Unit cleared a West Gray police officer following an incident that led to allegations of police brutality by the family involved.

The incident on June 6 last year led to the hospitalization of a 68-year-old man after two men clashed with police investigating and making arrests during domestic unrest, according to a statement from press released Friday by West Gray Police. .

Later in June 2020, around 50 people demonstrated outside Durham Police Station, while legal action was taken against the West Gray Police Services Board and two gendarmes. The family of David Hillier, 68, “witnessed outrageous police brutality” at their home near Chesley, according to a press release issued at the time by Toronto firm Charney Law.

A notice of legal action filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was also provided by the firm at that time. She identified David Hillier and his son Casey Hillier as the plaintiffs, while also naming the West Gray Police Services Board and two of its constables as defendants.

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The family’s claims have not been tested in court.

A statement issued Thursday by the SIU said that Director Joseph Martino “had determined that there were no reasonable grounds to believe that a police officer had committed a criminal offense in connection with the arrest and injuries of the ‘man”.

West Gray Police Chief Rob Martin said Monday they were happy their members had been cleared by the SIU.

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates police conduct that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault, or the unloading of a firearm on a person.

Martin said he couldn’t comment further on the Hilliers facing criminal charges for a trial to be held in the fall.

David Hillier, now 69, and Casey Hillier, 43, are both charged with assaulting a police officer, assaulting with intent to resist arrest and attempting to disarm a officer with his baton.

Davin Charney of Charney Law confirmed on Tuesday that the trial will begin Nov. 30 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Walkerton.

He added that the Hilliers would bring a civil action after the end of the criminal proceedings.

The legal action notice provided last year said the incident had occurred at NDR Concession 14 in West Gray in the wee hours of the morning on June 6.

The notice detailed an allegation by the complainants that the two men were injured in the incident. David Hillier’s injuries included several broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a broken nose and widespread bruising. He claimed Casey Hillier suffered injuries, including bleeding from the head, as well as scrapes, marks and bruises.

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The advisory claimed the pair had been hit about 20 times, they had both been tasered and Casey Hillier had also been slammed against a police vehicle and put in a headlock.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The SIU Director’s report, dated April 19, 2021, confirmed that West Gray Police told the SIU that they responded to a domestic disorder at a residence on the morning of June 6, 2020.

The occupants of the residence included the complainant, his wife, son and daughter.

According to the report, police said that at one point the complainant turned combative and a conducted energy weapon was deployed to take control of him. The son was also involved in the confrontation and officers used their batons, police told SIU.

Both were arrested and soon after the complainant complained of difficulty breathing. He was taken to Durham Hospital where he was diagnosed as having possibly suffered from collapsed lungs and was then taken to a hospital in the London area, according to the report. He was eventually diagnosed with two rib fractures and a hemothorax on the left side, according to the report. A hemothorax occurs when blood collects in the space between the chest wall and the lung.

For its investigation, the SIU interviewed six civilian witnesses and six witness officers, according to the report. There was an agent involved.

Evidence obtained by the SIU as part of its investigation included Taser evidence, tapes of police communications, notes and other information from the police, as well as the complainant’s medical records. The complainant and the subject officer refused to make a statement or be questioned.

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The incident scenario that emerged from the evidence gathered – which included statements from an arresting officer and several civilians – included a timeline that began at 11:50 p.m. on June 5 when the call first arrived and continued into the early morning hours of June 6.

According to the report, the evidence showed that the complainant’s son had become annoyed by the continued presence of the agent involved in the property.

He had bumped into a cruiser, called him a “pig” and shouted more insults at him, according to the report.

At around 12:50 p.m., another officer ordered the son and his father, who had joined him near the passenger car and were also shouting at the subject officer, to get away from the vehicle. The son pushed the other policeman, which prompted him to exit the vehicle. The son learned he was under arrest, according to the report.

There was a physical altercation between the officers and the two people in which the two officers used their batons and the subject officer discharged his CEW (conducted energy weapon) on two occasions, according to the report.

The officers radioed for help from other officers in the area as the fight unfolded. They were able to handcuff the complainant and his son as a number of officers from the Hanover Police Department and the Ontario Provincial Police began arriving at the scene shortly after 1 a.m., according to the report. .

In his analysis and decision, Martino stated that he had no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer had committed a criminal offense in connection with the complainant’s arrest and injuries.

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He said there were conflicts in the evidence to determine the legality of the complainant’s arrest.

According to one version of events, the complainant and his son were standing next to the passenger vehicle shouting at the subject officer through the closed driver’s door when the officer exited and slammed the son against the side of the vehicle. He indicates that the complainant came to the aid of his son and was greeted with a pulse shock and baton beatings.

“On this version of events, it can be argued that the complainant had the right to intervene to defend his son against an unlawful attack, and that the force used against him (the complainant) was illegal,” the report states.

“The evidence strongly suggests, however, that this account of what happened was materially incomplete.”

The version of events does not recognize any force that could have been used against the officers by the complainant or his son, the report said.

“The evidence establishes, in my opinion, that the complainant kicked the police during the crash,” he said.

Martino also said in the report that there was not enough reliable evidence to reasonably believe that either officer used excessive force during the complainant’s arrest.

He said the officers’ use of force occurred in what appears to have been a “bitter struggle”, in which both sides “were struck and beaten”.

As a result, Martino said he was not convinced, on reasonable grounds, that the officers had acted other than lawfully during the encounter and closed the file.

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