No jail time for Hamilton cop charged with assault of Indigenous man during arrest

A Hamilton Police officer who was caught on video kicking an Indigenous man in the head during an arrest on the Hamilton Mountain in 2022 will not face any jail time for his crime.

Instead, Officer Brian Wren is receiving a conditional sentence and 18 months probation in a decision handed down by a Hamilton court last Thursday.

Tomchuck earlier told the media he was “disgusted” there will be no jail time for the officer.

A video taken by an alert citizen filmed the interaction between Tomchuck and police at a gas station last year, resulting in Wren’s suspension and charges of assault against the officer.

Tomchuk, 32, suffered permanent injuries from the incident. The court heard Wren kicked Tomchuck so hard he broke his own toe.

Police were in the midst of arresting Tomchuk for theft-related crimes on the Hamilton Mountain in May 2022 when a private citizen began recording a video of his arrest.

The video shows Tomchuk being wrestled to the ground by a crowd of officers at a gas station.

Once Tomchuk was on the ground, an officer can be heard yelling, “hands behind your back now f***er.”

At that point, an officer wearing all black and a black hat came from behind and can be seen kicking Tomchuk in the head, who was on the ground beside a gas pump. He was already being subdued by at least three other officers.

A few seconds later, that same officer, in black, came around from another angle and again began kicking Tomchuk in the head and face.

Tomchuk was completely immobile by that point – about 45 seconds into the video.

A justice of the peace said it appeared Tomchuk was beaten until he was unconscious at his bail hearing last year.

When Hamilton Police were shown the video, Wren was suspended with pay immediately and charged with assault.

Hamilton Police Chief Frank Bergen called the video “disturbing” and “troubling.”

Tomchuk’s family had agreed to act as his surety and to connect him with programs for counselling.

Wren’s LinkedIn profile describes him as a PC at the City of Hamilton for the past 11 years.

He has appeared on the provincial Sunshine List since 2015 for earning over $100,000 in his public service position.

His salary in 2015 was $105,931.32, which went up to $131,107.87 in 2021.

Patrick’s mother Olga was saddened by the incident and said it’s not the first time her son faced police brutality. It was only this time it was caught on video.

“I don’t think it’s right,” she said. “They get away with it. If you’re here to protect and serve, don’t do this to my son. Please.”

She said her son is “no angel” but has sustained injuries from the incident and is now on medication to deal with the pain.

Olga said the force used to deal with her son was “excessive. He knows he didn’t fight back. Usually Patrick gets up and runs but he didn’t this time. He just laid there. It was a good thing there was a civilian there taping all this.”

The incident has led city activists to call on police to wear body cams at all times, as well as hiring an Indigenous liaison officer with the Hamilton Police Service to improve relations between police and the city’s Indigenous residents.

The judge’s decision to grant probation means the officer could go back to serving on active duty in the future. The judge said Wren had an unblemished record before the incident and pled guilty to the charge, which the judge said showed he had remorse for his actions.

During Wren’s trial, it was discovered the officer had Metis heritage.

A disciplinary hearing is still being awaited while Hamilton Police decide if Wren will still serve on the force or not.

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