Alleged assault on Indigenous man by police officer raises fears

The alleged attack on an Aboriginal by a police officer raises fears

A Hamilton organization says the Indigenous community is very concerned about an alleged assault of an Indigenous person by a local police officer during an arrest in late May.

A Hamilton organization Hamilton native says the community is very concerned about the alleged assault of an Aboriginal man by a local police officer during an arrest in late May.

Deputy Police Chief Ryan Diodati says the incident happened at a gas station on the evening of May 26 while police were investigating a stolen vehicle.

He explains that the police suspended Constable Brian Wren immediately after seeing a video of the arrest.

Mr. Diodati added that the police contacted the Special Investigations Unit, but the police watchdog decided not to investigate since the injuries were not serious enough.

The move prompted Hamilton police to conduct their own criminal investigation and ultimately charge the officer with assault on June 16.

Mr. Wren has been a police officer for 10 years, according to police. According to court documents, he lives in Welland and is 45 years old.

The Hamilton Regional Indian Center (HRIC) and the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic (HCLC) have released a joint statement Thursday in connection with the alleged assault.

Members of the Indigenous community are very concerned that it does not appear this incident was an isolated incident, the statement said.

According to the Deputy Chief, police are not was unaware of previous complaints against Constable Brian Wren. He was, however, concerned after reading the joint statement.

He adds that the police department had proactively contacted HRIC about the arrest of the Aboriginal man.< /p>

HRIC and HCLC did not respond to CBC's inquiries, but according to their joint statement, this is the second time this Aboriginal man has been assaulted by a police officer.

Jennifer Steenbeek is the man's lawyer, Patrick Tomchuk. She says she is not aware of any other cases involving Constable Brian Wren, but Mr. Tomchuk has been assaulted by police on at least one other occasion.

She adds that Patrick Tomchuk was also charged with assault after he allegedly resisted arrest during the incident with Mr. Wren.

He is also the subject of three sets of charges related to theft of property over $5,000, three vehicle thefts, driving a vehicle without a license and other offences, the lawyer shares.


According to Ms. Steenbeek, her client's bail hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. On the other hand, Constable Brian Wren's next court appearance is scheduled for August 18.

The joint statement from HRIC and HCLC agencies says the incident must be taken seriously and calls for major changes to protect marginalized people. The two agencies will hold a press conference outside Hamilton Police Headquarters on Tuesday.

Mr. Diodati, for his part, indicates that the chief of police, Frank Bergen, has contacted the indigenous community and said he is ready to meet with their leaders.

With information from CBC

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