The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Toronto Police officer with any criminal offence in relation to the strip search of 25-year-old Ohene Darteh in September of 2010.
This matter was referred to the SIU by the TPS on January 30, 2013 after Ohene Darteh’s lawyer complained to the Toronto Police Services that her client was sexually assaulted during his arrest on September 1, 2010 by Constable Irwin Correa.
Darteh was riding his bicycle in the St. Clair and Runnymede area of Toronto in the early afternoon of September 1, 2010. Const. Correa and witness officers Const. Jason Uher and Const. Shaun Roy from the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy were in the vicinity.
Darteh was motioned over by Const. Correa who accused him of riding his bicycle on a pedestrian crosswalk, an assertion Darteh denied.
All three officers got out of their van.
Const. Uher and Const. Roy each held one of the complainant’s arms while Const. Correa asked him if he had anything on him. He replied ‘no’, and Cst Correa asked him to lift up his shirt.
Darteh complied with the request.
In his decision, Director Scott said:
“In essence, Constable Correa with the assistance of two other officers pulled down Mr. Darteh’s shorts and underpants in broad daylight in a public area without his consent, exposing his buttocks and genitals for approximately one minute while the officers laughed at him.
Even though this strip search was a violation of the Charter rights of Mr. Darteh, and breached the provisions of the TPS directive on searches, does it amount to reasonable grounds for believing that a sexual assault occurred? While it would appear that Const. Correa intended to embarrass the complainant by pulling his pants down, I am of the view that his actions, while deplorable, do not amount to an intrusive enough level of violation of Mr. Darteh’s sexual integrity to found a charge of sexual assault.
Further, there is no suggestion that his genitals were touched by any of them. All in all, I do not have reasonable grounds to believe that the actions of Const. Correa amounted to a sexual assault even though he was actively engaged in humiliating Mr. Darteh. It is up to Toronto Police Service to pursue disciplinary charges against Const. Correa and the other involved officers if it so chooses.”
– With files from the Special Investigation Unit