SIU Concludes Death Investigation in Toronto
Case Number: 14-TCD-249
Other News Releases Related to Case 14-TCD-249
(30 June, 2015) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any Toronto Police Service (TPS) officer with a criminal offence in relation to the death of a 45-year-old man in October of 2014.
The SIU assigned six investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, four witness officers and nine civilian witnesses were interviewed. The three subject officers did not participate in an SIU interview and all declined to provide a copy of their duty notes, as is their legal right.
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Thursday, October 23, 2014:
• At approximately 10:40 a.m., TPS received a call from a mother who said her son was standing on a 25 centimetre ledge on the outside of a balcony railing, and would not come back into the apartment. Officers responded to the 26th floor of the condominium located at 55 Harbour Square.
• One of the officers talked to the man, attempting to develop a rapport in order to try to convince him to re-enter the apartment. The man continued to refuse to re-enter and said he wanted to die.
• Three officers with the Emergency Task Force (ETF) trained in negotiating soon responded. The initial officers left the apartment with the man’s mother. Other ETF officers went to the upper floors of the apartment building, planning to rappel down to the apartment in questions. This plan was aborted as being too dangerous for both the officers and the man as the ledge the man stood on was extremely small.
• The ETF officers spoke with the man for approximately two hours and 50 minutes. Part of the negotiations (from approximately 12:34 p.m. forward) was recorded digitally by a recording device placed in the apartment. The recording showed that police were polite and professional throughout their dealings with the man.
• At a certain point, the ETF negotiating officers called for a crisis team from the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health. A psychologist came into the apartment and talked to the man. He too was unable to convince the man to re-enter the apartment.
• When the man indicated that he did not want to talk to the psychologist anymore, the ETF negotiators continued to talk to him. The discussion was compassionate and non-confrontational. The officers tried to allay his concerns and tried to convince him to re-enter the apartment. They told him they were there to help him, not to hurt him; that they cared about him. They gave him cigarettes when he asked for them. They told him that he was not in trouble and that if he wanted to speak to someone else that they would try to make that person available. They tried to convince the man that they did not want him to die on each occasion that the man indicated that he wanted to die. They told him that they would not and could not leave.
• At 1:31 p.m., the man jumped 54 metres to his death from the 26th floor of the building to the 7th floor terrace below. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Director Loparco said, “The police response to the 911 call was quick and precautions were taken to arrive quietly and not panic the man. It is clear on the available evidence that neither the subject officers nor any of the other TPS officers present in the apartment at various times throughout the encounter had anything to do with the man’s death. I am satisfied that the officers acted reasonably throughout in pursuit of their duty to protect and preserve the man’s life. They spoke to him without approaching him and startling him. They tried using a psychologist and different officers to establish a rapport with the man. They provided him with cigarettes when he wanted them and offered him food and drink. They offered to take him to hospital or jail, as the man at one point said this is where he wanted to go. They also removed individuals from the apartment who he didn’t want present.”
Director Loparco concluded, “In the final analysis, the available evidence and particularly the audio recording of the final 57 minutes of the man’s life demonstrate that he was intent on killing himself. Tragically, the subject officers were not able to thwart his desire to jump from the 26th floor balcony to his death. No charges can therefore be issued.”
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342