Ontario's Special Investigations Unit has confirmed it is looking into the case of a homeless man who says he had two ribs broken while in the custody of Ottawa police.
Jeremiah Ivalu, 37, of Ottawa, told CBC News on Wednesday he had been drinking heavily with a friend on Nov. 10 when police picked him up at about 6:25 p.m. near Argyle Avenue and Metcalfe Street, near the Museum of Nature. He said he was unconscious when he was taken to police headquarters.
However, Ivalu said police used excessive force against him in the booking area of police headquarters when he was brought in.
Police issued a news release on Nov. 11 that said the SIU had been called in to investigate the case of a man injured in police custody.
Ivalu said his lawyer, Paul Lewandowski, told him he took off his shoe and threw it at a police officer while in the booking area, striking an officer in the forehead. Police then used force on Ivalu, breaking two of his ribs and his big toe.
Ivalu said he woke up in hospital, where he had been handcuffed to a bed.
"When I asked the doctor at the hospital why I'm in pain so much she told me I had a few broken ribs," Ivalu told CBC News.
"I was angry, I don't know, mixed feelings really but mostly angry at them. I guess they should have just never used that kind of force, enough to break ribs."
Ivalu was later found guilty of public intoxication and assaulting a police officer in connection with the incident, and he served six weeks in jail.
Ivalu's case is one of two the SIU the civilian agency that deals with cases of serious injury, death or sexual assault involving police is investigating involving the Ottawa Police Service's handling of suspects in custody.
The SIU is also probing the case of Stacy Bonds, an Ottawa woman who was kneed and strip-searched in 2008 after being arrested for public intoxication.
The SIU is also reviewing a cellblock video of Terry Delay, a homeless man who appears to have been kicked as he was put into a holding cell, as part of Bonds's case.
Charges against Bonds were stayed in October. Cellblock video of the incident was released to the public, sparking criticism of the police's cellblock operations.
The Ontario Provincial Police are investigating four other videos showing questionable conduct by Ottawa police.
An SIU spokesperson said the agency has interviewed Ivalu, but did not say whether there is surveillance video of the incident.
Ivalu said his six-week jail sentence included another conviction for assaulting a police officer. He said on Oct. 3, 2010 he was charged with assault after pushing a police officer. Ivalu said the officer pushed him back, causing him to fall on his elbow where a scar is still evident.
Ivalu, who stays at a downtown homeless shelter, moved to Ottawa in 2008.