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No Charges Justified in Arrest of Man in Lunenburg County by RCMP
On April 15, 2016, SiRT was contacted by a CBC reporter in relation to three YouTube videos posted by a resident of Lunenburg County. They related to the arrest of a 53-year-old male in restaurant premises located in the County. SiRT’s Director determined the matter was of a significant public interest and would benefit from a SiRT investigation.
SiRT’s investigation showed the male and his wife were seeking a zoning variation to allow their restaurant to become a lounge. That application met with resistance from those who lived nearby. Apparently in retaliation to that resistance, the male loudly played music from his business all day on February 27th and 28th. Late in the evening of both days the neighbours called police to complain.
Police went to the restaurant both evenings. On the first they disconnected the speaker that was outside which ended the loud music. On the second night the again disconnected the speaker and seized it as evidence. The male was rude and uncooperative with police the first night, and refused to speak or meet with them the second night. He did, however, begin to make several calls to 911 complaining about the “theft” of his speaker.
On a few occasions the information passed along to police by the dispatcher, who received it from the 911 operators, did not match what the male had said in his calls. However, based on the information the police received they had grounds to believe the male had acted strangely for two days, was uncooperative with police, had reported seeing “Stormtroopers in police uniforms”, and told 911 he was a veteran in crisis and that he needed assistance.
As a result of all this information the police had grounds to take the male into custody under the provisions of the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act, and to enter his premises to do so. Once inside the premises the male actively resisted attempts to place him in custody. Rather than apply additional physical force to make him comply, a Conducted Energy Weapon was used, which caused the male to comply without additional force or injury. He was then taken for medical assistance. The force used in this case was reasonable. As a result, there are no grounds for any charges against any police officer.
The Serious Incident Response Team is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia, whether or not there is an allegation of wrongdoing.
The team can independently begin an investigation after a referral from a chief of police, the head of the RCMP in Nova Scotia or the Minister of Justice. It can also investigate after a complaint from the public.
The Police Act requires the director to file a public report summarizing the result of the investigation within three months after it is finished.
Ron MacDonald, QC