SIU Concludes Death Investigation in Chapleau
Case Number: 14-PCD-193
Mississauga (26 February, 2015) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the death of a 27-year-old man in August of 2014.
The SIU assigned three investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, two witness officers and two 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 Sunday, August 24, 2014:
- In the early morning hours, OPP officers attended an apartment building located at 31 Devonshire Street after receiving a 911 call indicating that a man had threatened to shoot another tenant;
- Officers spoke with the man accused of making threats. The officers determined that they did not have grounds to arrest him and exited the building. Outside the building, they spoke with the originator of the 911 complaint. Based on the updated information they received, one of the officers called a superior to get permission to enter the man’s apartment.
- Shortly thereafter, while the officers were outside, the man accused of making threats fell from his 2nd-floor balcony and landed on the ground outside. He was initially taken to the Chapleau Health Services for treatment of head injuries before being transferred to Health Sciences North in Sudbury. Three days later, he died.
The Forensic Pathologist who performed the autopsy on the man stated that the cause of death was ‘blunt force trauma to the head, consistent with a fall’. He also indicated that no other significant injury was found during the examination.
Director Loparco said, “Our forensic investigation revealed that there was no evidence of a struggle on the balcony, or inside the apartment proper. There was nothing at the scene that would cast doubt on witnesses who told SIU investigators that the man fell backward off his balcony and violently struck his head on a patio stone. The man’s blood alcohol level was excessively elevated. While we will never know why the man chose to climb over the balcony railing, it is likely that he knew that police would eventually try to come back to arrest him and he decided to leave. Given his inebriated state it is safe to say that once he fell he was in no state to break his fall. There is nothing to suggest that anything done by the police (other than their presence) contributed to his decision to climb over the railing and leave the building by way of his balcony. There are no grounds to lay a criminal charge in this case. The man’s death was a tragic case of misadventure.”
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