SIU Concludes Investigation in Windsor
Case Number: 04-OCD-072
On June 22, 2004, Mr. Morency was arrested by the WPS and placed in a police cell. He died later that day after showing signs of medical distress.
The SIU investigation determined that at approximately 7:30 a.m., a WPS officer responded to a call about a theft suspect who was in a pharmacy parking lot near Wyandotte Road and Lauzon Avenue. A man, later identified as Mr. Morency, had reportedly broken into a car and then walked to a nearby Tim Horton's store. The officer arrested Mr. Morency in the store and transported him to the WPS headquarters building. The evidence indicates Mr. Morency was arrested and lodged in the cell at about 9:00 a.m. without any incident. The information gathered also shows that Mr. Morency was in reasonable physical condition and did not display any symptoms of impairment prior to being lodged in the cell.
At approximately 4:35 p.m., a police member went to Mr. Morency's cell to give him dinner. Mr. Morency was lying on the bench and would not wake up; he was unconscious but breathing. WPS officers placed him on the floor in the recovery position and administered CPR. The paramedics arrived and at approximately 5:26 p.m., Mr. Morency was transported to hospital. He died at approximately 5:41 p.m.
A post mortem examination concluded no anatomical cause of death.
Having reviewed all of the available evidence, Director Cornish stated, "Although Mr. Morency's exact cause of death has not been determined, through an exhaustive series of investigations this Unit has ruled out any cause that could be attributed to police conduct. Indeed, I believe the involved officers kept an adequate watch on Mr. Morency, especially given that he was exhibiting no signs of medical distress and they had no information that he may be in danger. They did keep an eye on Mr. Morency and when they noted that he was not responding, they acted quickly in an effort to save his life." The Director concluded the officers could not have done any more than they did to save Mr. Morency.
The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
- report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General.