Toronto Police Const. Jason Boag who got into an altercation with a man after being sent to the wrong address for a domestic call has been acquitted of assault causing bodily harm.
While Michael Lindsay, 65, was diagnosed with fractures to his left shoulder and left knee a day after police burst into the wrong Sherbourne St. apartment unit three years ago, Ontario Superior Court Justice Shaun Nakatsuru found Boag, 25 at the time, didn’t use excessive force.
Instead, the judge believed Lindsay was lawfully restrained but may have suffered his injuries because he has a medical condition, osteopenia, which leads to brittle bones.
Boag and Const. Nicholas Dorazio were dispatched to 251 Sherbourne St., after a woman reported a domestic assault to 911 and then abruptly hung up. But the dispatcher sent them to the wrong apartment unit where Lindsay lived alone.
“A bad mistake was made. It is fair to describe the mistake as egregious,” the judge noted. “His tranquility and peace of mind were wrongfully disturbed that night. His sanctuary invaded over his objections. He was physically detained.”
The police told him they were investigating a domestic assault. He told them he lived alone.
Lindsay, who uses a scooter and a cane after suffering a stroke in 2010, claimed the police entered over his objections and Boag slammed him against the wall and struck him.
While sympathetic to what Lindsay believed as “his truth,” Nakatsuru found his account was inconsistent, implausible, and unreliable.
Instead, he accepted Boag’s version that he faced Lindsay against the wall and placed his upper arm against his back to hold him there when the man resisted and ended up on the ground.
“I reject any finding that Mr. Lindsay was punched or struck. Further, he was not thrown into the wall nor did he strike the wall with force,” Nakatsuru said in acquitting the officer.
Boag’s lawyer, Peter Brauti, called it a “very unfortunate set of circumstances” that followed their being dispatched to the wrong address. “The court made it clear that the mistake was not the fault of Officer Boag or his partner. The court made it equally clear that the officers’ conducted themselves appropriately and in accordance with the law.
“We do acknowledge, however, that it is most unfortunate that the interaction ended with an injured member of the public.”