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News Release

SIU Reopens Brantford Drowning Death Investigation

Case Number: 09-OCD-010

Mississauga (20 January, 2015) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has reopened an investigation involving the Brantford Police Service (BPS) from 2009. The decision to reopen the case comes as a result of materially new information coming to light.

The initial SIU investigation determined that in the early morning hours of January 20, 2009, a BPS officer followed a set of shoe prints from a stolen car to the bank of the Grand River. There was a struggle between the officer and 32-year-old Benjamin Wood. Mr. Wood ventured out onto the river’s ice surface, despite repeated pleas from multiple officers to get off the ice. A short time later, officers saw Mr. Wood go through the ice. Members of the Ontario Provincial Police Underwater Search and Recovery Unit located his body at noon that same day. A post mortem determined that Mr. Wood died of drowning and hypothermia.

Based on the information available at the time, the SIU concluded there were no reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence was committed by any officer with the BPS.

A link to the news release issued at the conclusion of the investigation can be found here:
http://www.siu.on.ca/en/news_template.php?nrid=640

While the investigation is ongoing, no further comment will be made.

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