SIU Concludes Shooting Injury Investigation in Halton
Case Number: 11-OFI-220
Other News Releases Related to Case 11-OFI-220
Mississauga (13 March, 2012) --- The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge three officers with Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) with criminal offences in regards to the firearm injury sustained by 28-year-old Jacqueline Capton in October of 2011.
The SIU assigned six investigators, four forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident. While one of the three subject officers submitted to an interview, the other two officers declined, as is their legal right. Nine witness officers and six civilian witnesses were interviewed. Evidence was recovered from the two shooting scenes and submitted for examination to the Centre of Forensic Sciences, along with the police firearms used in the incident.
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Saturday, October 22:
• Just after 9:00 p.m., HRPS was notified by an individual that his pickup truck had just been stolen from the parking lot of a movie theatre complex on Winston Churchill Boulevard. The owner further indicated to police that the pickup truck left the area followed closely by an SUV vehicle.
• HRPS officers located the pickup truck and the SUV parked next to each other in the lot of a wastewater treatment plant on the North Service Road, between Bronte Road and Third Line. One of the officers manoeuvered his cruiser behind the rears of the SUV and pickup truck. The three subject officers also arrived in their vehicles and approached the SUV and pickup truck on foot.
• While this was happening, the man driving the pickup truck and the man driving the SUV decided to attempt to escape. Ms. Capton was a passenger in the front seat of the SUV. The driver of the pickup truck reversed the vehicle and was met by gunfire coming from the rear. He stopped the pickup truck and raised his hands. Meanwhile, the SUV driver accelerated backwards and then drove forward attempting to flee the scene. This vehicle, too, was met with gunfire from multiple police officers. He continued to drive forward, ultimately making his way back onto the North Service Road where he proceeded eastbound. By the time the SUV had made it back onto the road, it had sustained multiple bullet impacts, most of them to the front of the vehicle. It was during this time that Ms. Capton was struck in the right shoulder area.
• The SUV continued a short distance across North Service Road until it struck an officer’s cruiser and came to a stop in a ditch north of the roadway. During this time, three shots were discharged by an officer at the SUV. None of these rounds caused injury to either Ms. Capton or the driver of the vehicle.
• Ms. Capton was arrested shortly after the SUV came to a rest in the ditch, and the man was apprehended a short time later.
• All told, officers had discharged upwards of 40 rounds from their firearms.
Acting Director Martino said, “I am persuaded that the subject officers were proceeding lawfully to take the occupants of the SUV and the pickup truck into custody and that their use of force in the parking lot of the water treatment facility was no more than was reasonably necessary in the circumstances, and therefore legally justified. This was a highly volatile and rapidly developing set of circumstances in which the subject officers, in my view, reasonably believed that their lives and/or that of their colleagues were in danger from the movements of the SUV and the pickup truck. The evidence indicates that several officers were behind and in the vicinity of the vehicles when the pickup truck first reversed from its parked position. The evidence further indicates that the SUV driver was intent on escaping police custody at all costs, and that the SUV was accelerating forward in the direction of the officers when the first volley of police gunfire was discharged. Shots were fired again at the rear of the SUV as it travelled into a ditch, and yet again as the SUV made its way onto the roadway around the perimeter of the parking lot. Here, too, there was evidence that the SUV was moving in the direction of officers when the shots were fired.
“It is important to bear in mind that the criminal law focuses on the propriety of a police officer’s resort to force at the moment the force in question was used. Moreover, it does not require a police officer faced with a threat to his or her well-being to measure with exactitude the degree of responsive force. What is required is a response within a reasonable range. Notwithstanding the magnitude of the shots fired by police, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the subject officers, in the heat of the moment, made judgments and used force that fell within the latitude prescribed by the criminal law.”
Acting Director Martino continued, “As it turned out, the events around the takedown of the SUV on the North Service Road were not a focus of the SIU investigation when it became clear that Ms. Capton’s injuries were sustained at the wastewater plant. The SIU has referred this matter to HRPS for their consideration.”
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.
Monica Hudon, email@example.com
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342