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SIU terminates investigation into homeless encampment arrest

SIU terminates investigation into homeless encampment arrest

The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has terminated an investigation into the reported serious injury of a 24-year-old woman arrested by Hamilton Police Service officers last November.

The allegation arose after a confrontation outside Hamilton Police Headquarters that followed another confrontation at the homeless encampment at J.C. Beemer Park earlier on November 29th 2021. A 24-year-old women who was arrested claimed to have suffered a serious injury during her arrest. Hamilton Police turned the matter over to the SIU.

In a release, without going into detail, SIU wrote. “Director Martino found the woman did not, in fact, sustain a ‘serious injury’ within the mandate of the SIU. Consequently, as the SIU was without statutory jurisdiction to continue its investigation, the file has been closed.”

The SIU website provides the following definition:

A person sustains a serious injury if the injury in question is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature.  A serious injury includes: 

  • an injury that results in admission to a hospital;
  • a fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib or vertebra;
  • burns to a significant proportion of a person’s body;
  • the loss of any portion of a person’s body; or
  • a loss of vision or hearing.

Meanwhile, Kojo Damptey, the Executive Director of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) is calling for police to drop all the charges of obstruction against the woman who was the subject of the SIU inquiry, and four others who were charged following the encampment clash. Those charged include Sarah Jama who until recently was listed as an Outreach Coordinator at the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion. She is a founder of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO) which operates out of the same office and shares the same phone number as HCCI. Two other staff of the DJNO were charged –Sahra Soudi and Rowa Mohamed. Two others, Gregory Vongen and Jordan Grace were also charged. They are all scheduled to be in court February 7th.

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