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News Release

SIU Concludes Death Investigation in Chatham

Case Number: 13-OCD-123

Mississauga (11 June, 2013) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Chatham-Kent Police Service officer with any criminal offence in relation to the death of a 30-year-old man last month.

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

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Friday, May 17, 2013:
• At approximately 3:30 p.m., the subject officer was dispatched to Park Avenue West and Bakers Drive regarding a call of two individuals going through vehicles. 
• When the subject officer arrived at the location, another officer was talking to a male and female, and questioning them about the contents of their bags. The subject officer knew the individuals from previous involvement with the police. On the basis of their answers, both individuals were placed under arrest for theft and possession of stolen property. 
• The subject officer began to walk back to his cruiser when he saw the male start to run north across Park Avenue West. The officers pursued him and yelled at him to stop and that he was under arrest. The man continued to flee and ran toward the train tracks that lay parallel to and approximately 130 metres north of Park Avenue West. The subject officer caught up to the man who was ascending an embankment near the railway tracks and grabbed one of the man’s pant legs. The man responded by kicking free, causing the officer to slip.
• The man continued to run toward the railway tracks. At the same time, a VIA Rail Canada passenger train was travelling westbound at approximately 75 km/hr. Its operator saw the man running toward the tracks and immediately activated his electronic whistle, and then the train’s emergency horn.
• Nonetheless, the man ran onto the tracks and either tripped or slipped on the rail-bed stones. He was struck by the train and died instantly.

Director Scott said, “In my view, the subject officer had the lawful authority to pursue the man - he had witnessed another officer place him under arrest for indictable offences and had no reason to doubt the lawfulness of that arrest. When the man fled police custody in an attempt to evade the police, the subject officer had the authority to apprehend him under s. 25 of the Criminal Code which gives officers the power to apprehend for the purpose of enforcing the law. The man ran in front of a moving passenger train in an attempt to escape police custody and could not avoid being struck by the train. While the man’s death is a tragic event, no criminal liability may attach to the actions of the subject officer.”   

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