SIU Investigation into Markdale Death Finds No Reasonable Ground to Lay Charges
Case Number: 15-PCD-134
Other News Releases Related to Case 15-PCD-134
(17 February, 2016) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit has determined that no charges will issue from an incident in which Ontario Provincial Police officers were called to assist paramedics and after which a 43-year-old man died.
The SIU assigned four investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident. The subject officer did not participate in an SIU interview nor did he provide a copy of his duty notes, as is his legal right. The SIU interviewed three witness officers and five civilian witnesses.
The investigation found the following:
- Shortly after 1:30 a.m. on July 1, 2015, paramedics responded to a 911 call on Main Street West in Markdale. The call was for a possible drug overdose.
- At the home, paramedics found a 43-year-old man in a physically agitated state, flailing his arms and not responding to directions.
- The paramedics called OPP officers to assist.
- The man was then handcuffed, strapped to a backboard, and taken to Grey Bruce Health Services.
- At the hospital, the man stopped breathing and was pronounced dead.
- A post-mortem later determined the cause of death to be methamphetamine toxicity (drug overdose).
SIU Director Tony Loparco said, “I am satisfied that all the officers acted reasonably throughout, in pursuit of their duty to assist the man in his time of medical distress. They arrived on scene in a timely fashion, and acted quickly at the behest of the paramedics to move the man safely to the ambulance. He was handcuffed (and strapped to a backboard by paramedics) to protect himself and others from physical harm at a time where he was incapable of controlling his movements. When medical personnel asked that the handcuffs be removed in order for medical treatment to occur, this was done immediately.
“In the final analysis, the man’s death tragically occurred because of his ingestion of methamphetamine and nothing that any officer did or failed to do contributed to his death. As a result no charges can issue.”
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.
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