No fees for Winnipeg law enforcement officials after lady’s arm fractured: police watchdog

Manitoba’s police watchdog has cleared two Winnipeg officers of any wrongdoing related to the 2020 arrest of a woman who was later found to have a broken arm.

The arrest happened on Balmoral Street at around 2:30 a.m. on July 11, 2020, according to the final report of the Manitoba Independent Investigation Unit, released Tuesday.

Police were on their way to a call for service when they witnessed a large fight, with one person punching and yelling at another person, the report said. 

The person attacking the other was the woman who sustained the fractured arm, the report said. She was handcuffed and detained for assault.

Witness officers told the investigative unit the woman was kicking and striking police officers during the arrest, while flailing her arms, which made it hard to handcuff her.

The woman acknowledged she was “giving them [the police] problems,” the report said.

After taking her into custody, police transported the woman to a group home where she was living. It was there that she complained to one of the home’s staff that her arm was hurting badly, and she was taken to hospital, the report said.

Medical records showed the woman had a fracture to her upper arm. 

“Medical opinions suggest that the injury sustained was consistent with the description of the struggles between the police and [the woman],” the investigative unit’s report said.

The incident was first reported to the Law Enforcement Review Agency, which then told Winnipeg police about the injury. The police force then informed the IIU, on Sept. 29, 2020.

An IIU investigation is mandatory under the Police Services Act when a person is seriously injured as a result of the actions of a police officer, whether on or off duty. Because a fractured bone is defined as a serious injury, the IIU was mandated to begin an investigation.

The investigative unit’s report says based on the various accounts of the arrest, civilian director Zane Tessler said he did not believe there were grounds for criminal charges against the officers.

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