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News Release

SIU Concludes Mississauga Custody Death Investigation

Case Number: 12-OCD-063

Mississauga (20 March, 2012) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer with Peel Regional Police (PRP) with any criminal offence in relation to the death of 51-year-old William Ford in February of 2012.

The SIU assigned three investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident.  The subject officer provided an interview to the SIU.  In addition, two witness officers and three civilian witnesses were interviewed.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, February 22:
• At approximately 2:25 p.m. on that day, the subject officer was dispatched to a Metro store parking lot in the area of 110 Lakeshore Road East.  In the vicinity, he saw Mr. Ford with a black pipe in his hand.  The officer believed Mr. Ford to be intoxicated because he appeared drowsy, was near a beer store, and had alcohol on his breath. 
• The subject officer decided to take Mr. Ford to his home.  After writing him a Provincial Offence Notice for public intoxication, the officer left Mr. Ford in the care of a friend.  Later on, the friend turned the care of Mr. Ford over to another individual who did not actually enter the residence, but did check on Mr. Ford from outside. 
• At 6:45 p.m., Mr. Ford’s common-law wife entered the residence and discovered him unconscious on the floor.  He was soon thereafter declared dead at the scene. 

Director Scott said, “In my view, there is no evidence to suggest that the subject officer was involved in Mr. Ford’s death.  It would appear that the subject officer was attempting to assist Mr. Ford by escorting him to his home rather than detaining him either at the station or a detox centre.  An autopsy did not disclose any trauma and the friend who was caring for Mr. Ford saw no signs of injury or bruising on him.  While somewhat inconclusive at this point, it seems that Mr. Ford’s demise is more likely associated with an overdose of a powerful painkiller as opposed to any form of police misconduct.  Accordingly, I cannot form the grounds that the subject officer committed any criminal offence with respect to this incident.”

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, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342