Struggle with OPP leads to probation for Petrolia man

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Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

A Petrolia man will serve his sentence at home after a scuffle with OPP earlier this year.
Errol Gayle, 39, plead guilty to resisting arrest Dec. 11. He received a conditional discharge with 12 months of probation.
On May 23, court heard,Gayle was involved in a fight with a woman he was seeing. The pair were at a Petrolia house in the early evening when an argument started over text messages Gayle had been sending to other women.
When things got heated the woman left the house. But Gayle followed and grabbed her arm to try and stop her. The woman wrestled away and left the area. A passing car noticed the woman and asked if she was alright. She said no, and they went to the Petrolia OPP station to report what happened.
After taking the woman’s statement, officers went to Gayle’s house at 9:30 pm. He was outside smoking and began walking away when police arrived. They told Gayle he was under arrest which made him angry. He turned around and tried to walk past the officers but was taken to the ground.
Gayle refused to be handcuffed, placing his hands firmly under his stomach. After a series of knee strikes by officers they were finally able to get his hands free to arrest him. Gayle was taken to Petrolia OPP where he said he was “sorry for his behavior during the arrest.”
Justice Deborah Austin says Gayle escalated the situation. “You made their job more difficult of trying to investigate the situation between yourself and your partner,” she says.
But Austin recognized that “you have accepted responsibility for your actions, you have never been in trouble with the criminal justice system before, you are someone who has some challenges in your life.”
Gayle will spend the next year on probation. He can’t contact the woman without her consent or go to her house. Gayle can’t possess weapons for five years and must take counselling for anger management and mental health.
The original assault charge against Gayle was withdrawn by the Crown, since Gayle completed the Partner Assault Response program.