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News Release

SIU Concludes Death Investigation in London

Case Number: 12-OCD-381

Mississauga (5 March, 2013) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a London Police Service officer with any criminal offence in relation to the death of a 55-year-old woman in London in December of 2012.

The SIU assigned five investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, four witness officers were designated and nine civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer participated in an interview with the SIU and provided a copy of her duty notes.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Thursday, December 27, 2012:
• In the late afternoon hours, the subject officer received information regarding a suspected suicide attempt by means of a drug overdose which led her to attend the parking lot of a building on Commissioners Road.
• The officer saw an individual sitting in a parked vehicle actively swallowing pills. She reported her observations via radio and requested the attendance of an ambulance and back-up officers. 
• The subject officer approached the vehicle, and tried to get the woman’s attention by banging on the driver’s window.  The woman refused to open the locked car doors, and continued to swallow pills.  The subject officer struck the driver’s window and was ultimately successful in breaking it. The woman then opened her driver’s door. The subject officer pulled her out of the vehicle as she did not exit on her own accord. The woman was placed on the ground and her arms handcuffed from behind. 
• While other officers took custody of the woman, lifted her up, and removed the handcuffs, the subject officer left the scene and was treated at a hospital for an injury sustained in the process of breaking the window.   
• The woman was transported to Victoria Hospital.  She died later that day.

A subsequent search of the woman’s vehicle found an empty pill bottle of heart medication and a series of suicide notes. The coroner listed the cause of death as a medication overdose.

Director Scott said, “In my view, the subject officer had the lawful authority to apprehend the woman under the provisions of the Mental Health Act: the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that the woman was causing serious bodily harm to herself and that she may have been suffering from a mental disorder based upon the information she received before arriving at the scene coupled with her observations at the scene. The subject officer’s removal of the woman from her vehicle, the placing of her on the ground and the use of handcuffs were a reasonable use of force given her lack of compliance with the subject officer’s reasonable demands to open her car door. In any event, there is no suggestion that the actions of the subject officer contributed in any way to the woman’s unfortunate demise.  To the contrary, the officer’s actions were by all accounts an earnest attempt to save the woman’s life.”  

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