Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared a Hamilton police officer of wrongdoing after a man suffered serious injuries jumping off an overpass onto the Lincoln Alexander Parkway (Linc) in July 2018.
“The officers did what they could to dissuade the complainant from harming himself,” said Joseph Martino, interim director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), in a report.
The SIU says the incident happened on the morning of July 13, 2018, after Hamilton police officers arrived at the Gage Avenue overpass with directions from a cab company that delivered a 22-year-old man (complainant) to that location above the Linc.
Once on the bridge, Martino says two officers approached the man slowly and began speaking to him in “reassuring tones.”
In their reports, both the subject officer and a witness officer considered the use of a taser to incapacitate the complainant, but feared it could “escalate the situation,” and decided instead to begin blocking traffic around the scene and wait for the arrival of a trained negotiator.
However, Martino said the “speed with which events unfolded” did not allow for that plan to unfold, and the subject officer rushed the complainant from behind in an attempt to restrain him. The action was unsuccessful.
The report goes on to say the officers gave “medical assistance” to the fallen man and called for an ambulance.
“While that decision proved unsuccessful in preventing the complainant’s jump, and may have provoked it, I am satisfied it was a reasonable tactic open to the officer given the exigencies of the situation,” Martino said in his decision.
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