Canada

Ontario police watchdog investigating use of horses, non-lethal rounds at Ottawa protest clearing

Ontario’s police watchdog is investigating two incidents involving police during the operation to clear out the “Freedom Convoy” protest that had occupied Ottawa streets for three weeks.

The Special Investigations Unit said in a release Sunday that it was investigating the reported serious injury of a woman in an interaction with a police horse and the discharges of “less-lethal firearms.”

The first incident involves a woman who was injured as police officers with Toronto’s mounted unit moved through the crowd near the Chateau Laurier hotel Friday afternoon.

“At approximately 5:14 p.m. (Friday), there was an interaction between a Toronto Police Service officer on a horse and a 49-year-old woman on Rideau Street and Mackenzie Avenue. The woman has a reported serious injury,” the SIU said.

The woman was the subject of a debunked online rumour that she had been killed in the interaction. Both the Ottawa Police Service and Ottawa paramedics confirmed no one had died, and the woman’s family members also said she is alive and is recovering from a broken clavicle.

The incident with the less-lethal rounds involved officers from Vancouver.

“At approximately 7:18 p.m. (Saturday), Vancouver Police Department officers discharged Anti-Riot Weapon Enfields (less-lethal firearms) at individuals in the area of Sparks Street and Bank Street. No injuries have been reported at this time,” the SIU said.

The SIU is asking anyone who may have been struck by a projectile to contact them.

Six investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to these cases.

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of police officers that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

Ottawa police said, “We respect the oversight process and will always fully cooperate.”


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