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Stamp receives conditional sentence for assaulting skateboarder

'Mr. Stamp could fairly be described as a powder keg on the day in question. Mr. Kent was, unfortunately, the match,' judge says during sentencing

Editor's note: The following story contains language heard in court that might not be appropriate for some readers. This story has also been updated from its original version to include more details about Stamp's sentence. 

The now-former Barrie police officer who pleaded guilty to assaulting a man in the city's downtown in 2021 received his sentence this afternoon in a local courtroom.

Jason Stamp pleaded guilty on Jan. 30 to assaulting Skyler Kent, who is now 22 years old. In the joint submission from the defence and the Crown, the former officer, who tendered his resignation to Barrie police last Friday, received a six-month conditional sentence, with no jail time, to which the judge agreed.

A conditional sentence is served in the community and means the offender is not in custody. Stamp's sentence today includes counselling, a weapons ban for at least five years, and having no contact with the victim.

For the first three months of the sentence, Stamp will be under house arrest, which means he is confined to his residence with a number of exceptions, including obtaining health care, conducting a job search or going to work, attending religious services, and buying essentials once a week. For the last three months, Stamp's lawyer said he is free to come and go as he chooses, but remains under the direction of his conditional sentence supervisor. 

Upon delivering her verdict, Justice Cindy Johnston called Stamp's actions "appalling and abhorrent."

"While I have no doubt there was some verbal provocation on the part of Mr. Kent, Mr. Stamp's behaviour was a gross breach of his duty as a police officer. That duty is to protect the public," the judge said. 

The incident began around 2:30 p.m., on Feb. 4, 2021. Stamp was patrolling the area near the Five Points intersection in downtown Barrie when he observed Kent ride his skateboard through a red light. The officer sounded his horn to get the young man's attention and then yelled to Kent that he was committing the offense of jaywalking.

Court heard that Kent yelled back “there’s no fucking traffic asshole” and continued skateboarding.

Stamp pursued Kent in his police vehicle and issued a provincial offenses citation. After issuing the ticket, court heard that Kent skated away and continued to berate Stamp. The officer then approached Kent to place him under arrest for causing a disturbance.

The remainder of the incident, which happened near Dunlop and Owen streets in front of Memorial Square, was filmed by several onlookers as Stamp violently placed Kent under arrest. Those videos soon began to appear in social media. 

At one point in one of the videos obtained by BarrieToday, and which were also shown in court this morning, Stamp flips Kent over and strikes him in the back of the head.

Another video shows Stamp on top of Kent with a taser to his neck. The officer can then be heard asking, “Do you want this?” followed by “Put your hands behind your back right now or I’m lighting you up.”

Kimberley Greenwood, who was the city's police chief at the time, issued a statement the following day saying the images captured in the video were "concerning to both the public and myself.”

Greenwood requested Ontario Provincial Police to conduct an investigation into the officer's actions. On April 29, 2021, the OPP charged Stamp with assault and assault with a weapon. He had been suspended with pay following the incident. 

Barrie police issued a statement on Monday saying Stamp had resigned from the local force on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.

At the time of the arrest, Kent was charged with causing a disturbance and assault with attempt to resist arrest. He was released on a promise to appear in court and an undertaking. Court learned today that those charges were withdrawn in July 2022.

Stamp had been with Barrie police for 18 years at the time of the incident. Court heard today that just prior to the February 2021 incident, he had been awarded a 20-year medal of exemplary service. 

"It is extremely unfortunate that Mr. Kent had to endure what he did that day," said the judge. "What is also unfortunate is that a 20-year career of good conduct as a police officer ended in such an egregious fashion."

The court also learned that there were mental health issues that had come to light recently with regards to Stamp. The defence lawyer said they were not using that as an excuse for his actions, but rather to help paint a picture of what transpired that day.

“On my client’s side, there were some very significant mental health challenges at play. Let me clear, they do not justify this — that's why we’re pleading guilty,” said defence lawyer David Butt. “But it gives us a context of the very real struggles that police officers, who every day put their lives on the line, and very often are subject to derision, obscenity, violence, and resistance.”

The judge said the incident was bound to be explosive.

"I have read psychiatric reports regarding Mr. Stamp and I accept that Mr. Stamp was suffering from stress and some emotional instability at the time of this incident," Johnston said. "Mr. Stamp could fairly be described as a powder keg on the day in question. Mr. Kent was, unfortunately, the match."

It was also pointed out in court that Kent is facing several charges, which include uttering a death threat toward Stamp. 

Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
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