CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified Const. Thomas Ruttan as the subject officer in the SIU investigation. Ruttan is a communications officer with the Peel Regional Police and not connected to the case. The Huffington Post Canada apologizes for this error.
A Peel police officer has been cleared of criminal charges related to the Tasering of 80-year-old Ione Pasquale in August.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) found “no reasonable grounds” to charge after three investigators interviewed two officers and three civilian witnesses in the probe.
Police were immediately called in after Pasquale, who suffers from dementia, was spotted by drivers on Thomas St. at approximately 3:30 a.m. “walking along in a seemingly aimless fashion with a large knife in one of her hands,” according to the SIU report.
Pasquale’s daughter, Angela, told The Toronto Star her mother was holding a bread knife.
Three uniformed officers were on the scene when Pasquale was Tasered by an officer following a brief struggle after she failed to drop her knife despite requests from police to do so. The Tasering caused the elderly woman to fall to the ground and fracture her hip.
“The only other reasonable option not explored was to continue to track her and attempt to convince her to disarm herself,” SIU Director Ian Scott said in a news release on Wednesday.
“On reflection, that would seem to have been a preferred option.”
However, from a criminal law perspective, "the test to be applied is whether the force was reasonable at the time it was used, not in the cold light of analysis after the fact," Scott noted.
He concludes: “In circumstances where a subject officer is permitted to use force during a lawful apprehension under the Mental Health Act, I am of the view that here its use was not excessive.”
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