Ontario police watchdog clears Stratford officers for violent 2015 arrest of Indigenous man with autism

Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared two Stratford officers of criminal wrongdoing after they threw an Indigenous man with autism to the ground and hit him in the head during a 2015 arrest for walking along train tracks.

The decision has left Joshua Nixon’s family questioning where the line is for acceptable use of force.

“I’m emotionally numb,” the man’s sister, Jenaya Nixon, said in a phone interview with The Globe and Mail on Friday. “I didn’t expect anything different. But it’s just ridiculous, all of it.”

According to a report by the province’s Special Investigations Unit published on Feb. 4, Mr. Nixon was taking a shortcut home along train tracks in Stratford the night of July 27, 2015, when he was approached by a police officer who was “concerned about this contravention of the Railway Safety Act.”

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