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SIU clears police in Toronto man’s abuse complaint

After a three-way squabble between Toronto police and two watchdog agencies over the claims of a man who says he was beaten up by police last year outside a downtown nightclub, the officers involved have been cleared of wrongdoing.

The province's Special Investigations Unit, which probes all police-civilian interactions resulting in death or serious injury, won't be laying criminal charges because there are no grounds to do so, SIU director Ian Scott said.

Tyrone Phillips, 27, lodged the complaint after he and a friend were arrested in the Entertainment District last July. He sustained a head concussion, but subsequently recovered.

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Earlier this month the SIU announced it was closing the investigation, saying it could not proceed because Toronto police would not provide it with a copy of the original statement Mr. Phillips gave to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which examines all complaints against Ontario police.

Toronto police responded that legally they could not hand over the document because it did not belong to them. For its part, OIPRD said it too could not give the SIU a copy of the complaint, citing constraints under the Police Services Act.

So Mr. Phillips went back to the OIPRD, authorizing it to give his statement to the SIU.

With that, the SIU reopened its investigation, and on Monday it announced its ruling.

"There are significant issues of fact between the complainant and his friends, the subject officer and a security guard," Mr. Scott wrote.

"Aside from the fact that the complainant was grounded and ultimately arrested by the subject officer, each rendition of what happened differs in material respect, including on such fundamental points as who took the complainant to the ground it may have been a nightclub security guard – why the complainant was grounded and the nature of the force used. All in all, I am not satisfied on reasonable grounds that the subject officer caused the injuries in question, and if he did that the force used was excessive."

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At The Globe and Mail since 1982, in assorted manifestations, chiefly crime reporter, foreign correspondent and member of the Editorial Board, Tim is now retired. More

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