No Action Contemplated in Hilton Beach Overdose Death
Case Number: 15-PCD-127
Other News Releases Related to Case 15-PCD-127
(10 May, 2016) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit has determined that no further action is contemplated in the case of a 43-year-old man who was found dead following a stand-off with Ontario Provincial Police officers in June 2015.
The SIU assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.
The SIU interviewed seven witness officers, one civilian police employee, and one civilian witness. 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 completed a scene analysis, reviewed and analyzed police radio communications from the evening of the incident, and requested the Centre of Forensic Sciences analyze tissue and fluid samples of the deceased man.
The investigation found the following:
- On June 20, 2015, Ontario Provincial Police received a call for a barricaded man inside a residence on Maple Street in Hilton Beach. The reports indicated the man had access to several firearms and was suicidal.
- Around 9:00 p.m., OPP officers and members of the OPP’s Tactical Response Unit (TRU) arrived at the home.
- Soon after, officers spoke on the phone with a man inside the home. The man stated that he would not leave the home and warned of consequences if police entered the home.
- TRU members set up containment around the residence and attempted to communicate again with the man, over the phone and with the use of a loud hailer. The attempts at communication failed.
- Around 5:00 a.m., TRU members utilized a distraction device, broke the living room window, entered the house, and found an unresponsive 43-year-old man.
- The man was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem later determined the cause of death to be morphine intoxication.
SIU Director Tony Loparco said, “It is evident that none of the officers who responded to the residence, including the officer with overall command of the police operation, committed a criminal offence in connection with the man’s death.
“The police were lawfully at the scene in the discharge of their duty to preserve and protect life. Having contained the home to ensure the safety of the public, the overall plan was to apprehend the man under the Mental Health Act for his own protection. Officers were mindful, however, of provoking the man into a confrontation that could result in the man harming himself or the officers.
“In the circumstances, I can find no fault with the length of time it took before the officers finally forced their way into the home. They did so after they were convinced the man was no longer a potential threat, given that he did not react to a distraction device or the living room window breaking.
“In the final analysis, I am satisfied that the conduct and tactics of the involved officers were reasonable throughout and that there are therefore no grounds to believe that any of the officers are criminally liable in respect of the man’s death – which a note found beside his body and the results of the post-mortem examination indicate was the result of an intentional overdose of morphine.”
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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