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No Charges in Allegation of Excessive Force by HRP Officer
On June 14, 2016, a 46-year-old male filed a complaint with the Halifax Regional Police (HRP) that a male HRP officer used excessive force during the man’s arrest on June 3 at an address on North St. HRP referred the matter to SiRT on July 18 after it was determined the male suffered a punctured ear drum and possible non-displaced fracture of his jaw bone from the incident.
Police were called to two complaints of loud music made by a husband and wife who lived in a flat below the male who was arrested. Two police officers went to the address and dealt with the first complaint, but had to return five minutes later when the music in the upper flat was again turned up even louder. Four police officers arrived on the second occasion, although the arrested male primarily dealt with one officer. The male said that when he opened the door for that officer on the second visit the officer immediately struck him in the head four times, twice on each side. He also suggested the officer was very aggressive toward him during the first visit.
However, the husband in the lower unit indicated that the officer was calm and patient on the first visit. The arresting officer did admit to striking the male once on the right side of the head after the male tried to head butt him as the officer was arresting the male. He denied any other strikes. Evidence from the other officers corroborated the arresting officer’s evidence. As well, the male only had injuries on the right side of his head.
The evidence was not capable of supporting a finding that the officer had committed an offence, and was more supportive of a finding that the officer was lawfully justified in his actions.
A complete copy of the report is available at http://sirt.novascotia.ca.
SIRT is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia. Investigations are under the direction and control of independent civilian director Ron MacDonald, who is solely responsible for decisions respecting the laying of any charge.
Ron MacDonald, QC