No Charges Against Sault Ste. Marie Police Officer in Relation to Sexual Assault Complaint

URBAN MATTERS: The street fight for Queen Street

On January 30, 2023, the SIU was notified of a sexual assault that was reportedly perpetrated by a Sault Ste. Marie Police Service officer against a 42-year-old man on November 4, 2021. The SIU initiated an investigation. On SIU Director Joseph Martino’s assessment of the evidence, there were no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the complaint of sexual assault. There was no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file has been closed.

According to the report, on November 4, 2021, at about 11:00 a.m., the Complainant was in a vehicle with other occupants in a parking lot in the area of Pine and McNabb Streets in Sault Ste. Marie when police conducted a high-risk takedown of the vehicle and he was instructed to exit. An officer took control of him, handcuffed him, and began to search him in public view. The officer proceeded to grope his testicles inquiring as to what was in his pants. The Complainant responded that it was his “nuts”, after which the officer placed his hands inside his pants, underneath his underwear, and continued to grope his testicles. There, the officer located a quantity of crack cocaine.

The evidence collected by the SIU, including interviews with the Complainant and a number of officers present at the time of the events in question, gives rise to the following scenario. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

In the morning of November 4, 2021, the Complainant was an occupant of a Dodge Charger parked in the rear lot of an apartment building on Pine Street, Sault Ste. Marie. With him in the vehicle were three other persons. The Complainant and his associates had been in the Charger a short time when several police cruisers pulled up and blocked their vehicle, after which officers exiting the cruisers confronted them at gunpoint.

The SO was a member of the SSMPS Emergency Services Unit (ESU) and present at the time of the takedown of the Charger. He and other members of the ESU had been called to assist in the arrest of the vehicle’s occupants when an officer had earlier that morning recognized the Complainant and the front seat passenger as individuals wanted on outstanding arrest warrants.

Each of the four individuals were ordered out of the Charger by the officers and surrendered to police without incident. The Complainant, the last to exit, was handcuffed and searched prior to being placed inside a cruiser for transport to the police station.

The Complainant was subjected to a strip search at the police station, in the course of which illicit drugs were discovered when he removed his underwear.

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