THUNDER BAY – A Thunder Bay police officer is being charged by the Special Investigations Unit. The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has reasonable grounds to believe that a Thunder Bay Police Service officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the assault of 43-year-old David Ferguson in May of 2013. Director Scott has caused a charge to be laid against the officer.
Thunder Bay Police have Constable Johnstone on desk duty rather than on suspension. Johnstone has been with the Thunder Bay Police Service for nine years.
The SIU investigation determined that on the night of Saturday, May 4, 2013, officers with the Ontario Provincial Police Thunder Bay detachment were following a vehicle traveling on Highway 61 with the intention of stopping it. The vehicle would not stop. A short time later, officers found the driver, Mr. Ferguson, parked in a driveway. During the arrest, Mr. Ferguson sustained a broken orbital bone. Director Scott concluded on the basis of the SIU investigation that the force used by the OPP officer who caused the eye injury was reasonable and legally justified.
After being arrested, Mr. Ferguson was taken to the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) station. During the course of the SIU’s investigation, the SIU learned of a subsequent use of force against Mr. Ferguson by an officer with TBPS. As a result, TBPS Constable Andrew Johnstone is facing one charge of Assault, contrary to s. 266 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
The officer is required to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice at 1805 East Arthur Street in Thunder Bay on August 20, 2013. The Justice Prosecutions branch of the Ministry of the Attorney General will have carriage of the prosecution.
As this matter is now before the courts, and in consideration of the fair trial interests of the charged officer and the community, the SIU will make no further comment pertaining to this investigation.
The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
- report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General.