Sault Ste. Marie Police officer pleads guilty to discreditable conduct and one count of neglected of duty, loses 24 hours of pay
Sault Ste. Marie Police Services Building (Supplied)
SAULT STE. MARIE -- Const. Matthew Keating has admitted to crossing the line when it comes to the way he treated Timothy Mitchell when he arrested him on March 26, 2016.
Keating plead guilty to one count of discreditable conduct and one count of neglected of duty.
"The behaviour of police constable Keating was a mistake, actions that were not thought out and error on his part," said Terrance Kelly, a retired deputy chief with York Regional Police and the hearing officer for the case.
As a result, Keating will lose 24 hours of pay.
In an agreed statement of facts, Keating admitted to making antagonizing, threatening and insulting remarks to Mitchell including:
- "if you don’t smarten up, we’re gonna go again and I don’t wanna do that"
- stating that Mitchell “ought to be” scared
- referring to Mitchell as an "old man"
- making a gesture using his outstretched hand opening and closing so as to imply that Mitchell was talking too much
In his sentencing review, Kelly found Const. Keating used more force then reasonably necessary when he forcefully pulled Mitchell to his feet and escorted him to his cell.
"As a trained police officer, Const. Keating ought to have responded more effectively rather than aggravating the situation," said Kelly. "The totality of Const. Keating’s interaction with Mr. Mitchell at the police station was unprofessional and overly aggressive."
Keating also failed to provide Mitchell with his right to counsel despite having numerous opportunities to do so.
Const. Keating's lawyer spoke of the man's community involvement during his time as a police officer and said he has acted in a professional manner throughout his 11 years of service with the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service.
"This alone would have me lean towards a less severe penalty than I would otherwise contemplate," said Kelly.
He said that he believes this is an isolated incident with Keating and he will use this as a learning experience.
"This disposition is not trifling and reflects, to an appropriate degree, the impact or at least the potential impact that the officer’s actions had upon the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and its relationships with its communities. It also reflects, to an adequate degree, the impact of his behaviour upon the relationship with his employer," said Kelly.