A pair of Winnipeg police officers accused of assaulting a woman while arresting her in 2015 won’t face criminal charges after an independent investigation into the allegations.
Manitoba’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigation Unit, said in a Wednesday news release that based on advice from Manitoba Prosecution Services and its investigation, it won’t pursue charges against the officers.
IIU investigators interviewed the woman who made the report, nine civilian witnesses, five police officers who were also at the scene and three medical experts.
Neither of the officers accused of assaulting the woman agreed to be interviewed and the investigation unit can’t compel them to do so under Manitoba law.
One officer provided his arrest report, use-of-force report and notes to investigators. The other officers did not provide any notes or reports, the IIU’s summary said.
According to its report, the accusations stemmed from an incident on Oct. 17, 2015, when the two officers were involved in apprehending the complainant — who the IIU did not name — from the lane behind her house on McGee Street.
The woman told investigators she and a companion ran away from officers when they stopped to speak to them around 11 p.m. that night, after being called to the area about an altercation. She said her companion is afraid of police and she ran because her companion ran.
The complainant alleged one officer grabbed her, causing her to fall over — even though she stopped when asked — and then stomped on her knee before handcuffing her.
She alleged that after that, as she was sitting on the ground by the police cruiser and leaning her head on the bumper, another officer arrived, got out of his car, walked over to her and punched her in the face without saying a word.
The IIU investigation, however, concluded a different series of events took place. It said the complainant didn’t stop running and the first officer caught up with her, grabbed her, pinned her to the ground and handcuffed her before walking her to the cruiser.
The IIU report says while she was sitting on the ground by the cruiser, the complainant, “without warning, began hitting her face and head area against his police vehicle’s bumper numerous times.”
Other officers, including the five who were interviewed by investigators, were called because the woman’s companion was “unco-operative and belligerent,” the IIU report said.
Medical experts consulted
The complainant was taken to Main Street Project because she was intoxicated, the IIU report said, although it notes the complainant said she’d been drinking but wasn’t drunk.
She went to the Grace Hospital the next morning because she had a sore knee, where she was told to use a leg brace and crutches, the document continues. The medical report from that day showed she had a good range of motion on the knee but minor scrapes and bruising consistent with the events of the previous evening.
A month later, she got an MRI that showed she’d torn ligaments in her knee, the report says.
The health-care worker who examined her told investigators her knee injury at the time “was consistent with extreme force being applied to the outside surface.”
Investigators also interviewed two orthopedic surgeons. One of them said the injury wasn’t consistent with the stomping the complainant described, and it wasn’t likely it was caused by the fall, either.
The other surgeon said the injury could have been caused by a stomp, but it would have depended on how her leg was positioned.
“[The surgeon] added that if there was any evidence that [the complainant] had been in an altercation prior to the incident, then it would be doubtful that the injury was caused by a stomping of the knee,” the report says.
The IIU has closed its file on the incident.
Published at Wed, 28 Feb 2018 18:48:52 -0500