York cop pleads guilty to assault involving K-9 unit dog
A framegrab from a surveillance video released in court at a police officer's trial is shown in a handout. The Toronto-area police officer pleaded guilty to assault after siccing his K-9 unit dog on a man who was lying down awaiting arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Kayla Goodfield, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, September 6, 2017 1:33PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 6, 2017 6:19PM EDT
A York Regional Police officer has pleaded guilty to an assault that involved a K-9 dog.
The victim was a man who was on the ground in the process of being arrested.
Const. Michael Partridge admitted to his role in the assault which left the man with minor injuries on March 30, 2016.
Police in York Region were investigating a series of break-and-enters in the GTA and were looking for three suspects. The investigation led the officers involved to downtown Toronto where they worked with local police.
Officers from both York and Toronto then followed the suspects to a condominium near the Gladstone Hotel but at one point, two men were able to flee from investigators.
However, spectators sitting on neighbouring rooftops were able to point officers in the direction of the suspects.
As police caught up with the men, one of the suspects stopped running and lay face down in an alleyway. This was captured on a security camera installed at the Gladstone Hotel.
The video – which was shown in a Toronto courtroom Wednesday – showed York Regional Police Const. Matt McLean order the man to remain face down until help arrived because he had used his handcuffs on another suspect and did not have another pair.
Partridge then arrived to the scene and yelled out “Police, K9, you’re under arrest, come out,” not knowing that the suspect was obeying McLean’s orders, the courtroom heard.
Partridge then released the dog not knowing the suspect’s whereabouts.
The video then showed Partridge kicking the suspect and punching him while the dog bit down on his arm.
In a news release issued on Wednesday, York Regional Police Chief Eric Jolliffe said a review was completed by supervisors when they became aware of the video.
“The officer’s command staff advised me of the incident on April 14, 2016 and I immediately requested that the Toronto Police Service conduct an independent investigation into the incident as it took place in TPS jurisdiction,” Jolliffe said.
Charges for assault and assault with a weapon - the weapon being the dog – were then laid against Partridge by Toronto police on August 24, 2016. Partridge eventually pleaded guilty to the assault charge which allowed him to avoid a trial.
A Chief’s complaint was also issued under the Police Services Act by Jolliffe, which was conducted by members of the York Regional Police Professional Standards Bureau.
“I am of course disappointed that the actions of a member of York Regional Police led to circumstances that resulted in a criminal charge for assault, however I am committed to accountability and operating with transparency and integrity, which is why I asked the TPS to investigate the matter,” Jolliffe said.
Three suspects were arrested that day. The suspect who was the subject of the assault was originally charged with break and enter and breach of probation, but those charges were dropped as a result of Partridge’s actions, the man’s lawyer Morrie Luft told The Canadian Press.
Partridge is scheduled to appear for a sentencing hearing on Sept. 27. He also faces three charges under the Police Services Act, including two counts of discreditable conduct and one count of unnecessary exercise of authority.
With files from The Canadian Press