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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Belleville Police rule against Shawn O'Sullivan

September 23, 2010

Belleville's deputy police chief has ruled ex-boxer Shawn O'Sullivan's complaint against city police is "unsubstantiated," The Intelligencer has learned.

Police arrested O'Sullivan, 48, of Belleville Nov. 28, 2009 following a scuffle with a neighbour. Though criminal charges of mischief and assault were withdrawn May 13, he agreed to a six-month peace bond preventing him from contacting the man.

Police and O'Sullivan have both said publicly he was shocked by a Taser or similar stun-gun device during his arrest.

But the Olympic silver medallist claims he was also beaten by police and, contrary to police reports, did not resist arrest.

O'Sullivan's lawyer, Bill Reid of Toronto, filed an official complaint May 27 with Ontario's Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). The OIPRD then forwarded it to city police for review.

Reid said yesterday Belleville Police Deputy Chief Paul VandeGraaf ruled O'Sullivan's complaint is "unsubstantiated" in the wake of an internal review by the police service, Reid said.

The story was broken on our website (www.intelligencer.ca) Wednesday afternoon.

He said O'Sullivan received a letter earlier this month from VandeGraaf.

"As per the Police Services Act of Ontario, I have no decision open to me other than to determine your complaint to be 'unsubstantiated,'" Reid said early Wednesday afternoon, reading from the letter.

"In light of there being no substantiated evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of the officer involved ... this complaint file is now closed," said Reid, again quoting VandeGraaf's letter.

VandeGraaf would not address the complaint directly but said O'Sullivan still has the option to pursue a further review. "The matter's been resolved to the complainant and the investigative file's been forwarded to the OIPRD," VandeGraaf said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

"The process from there is that there are options for the OIPRD to seek it to be reviewed or for the complainant to ask for a review to be done," he said.

"I'm not going to speak about the complaint," said VandeGraaf. "There is still a potential for Mr. O'Sullivan to request a review so it would be a bit premature for us to speak about that," he said.

Reid said VandeGraaf's ruling "is not a surprise" and he and O'Sullivan will pursue the case with the OIPRD. "We are going to go ahead with the review," he said. "There is an opportunity to enclose further reasons or other evidence into the court," said Reid. "I don't want to disclose what that will be just yet but we will be enclosing further material."

Reid said O'Sullivan was arrested by Const. David Bradley and one other officer, possibly an auxiliary member of the force. He said O'Sullivan's complaints are based on two issues: the use of the stun gun and the boxer's claim he was "knee-capped" by police. O'Sullivan has charged officers stepped on the backs of his calves and thighs, causing knee damage.

"I can tell you that it's the subject of medical treatments even as we speak," Reid said. "I believe there is corroboration for Shawn's allegations," said Reid. He said he was waiting to see a copy of the police review's final report.

VandeGraaf said a police paperwork error meant not all documents on the matter were sent properly, but that Reid should have received the Wednesday afternoon.

Reid could not be reached for comment later in the day.

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