SIU Concludes Investigation into London Custody Injury
Case Number: 07-OCI-208
Two SIU investigators were assigned to examine the police's activity during their interaction with 34-year-old John Moore. The SIU investigation revealed that on October 15, 2007, at approximately 9:22 p.m., two LPS officers went to an apartment on Beckworth Avenue in response to a disturbance call. A resident of the building had called police to report excessive noise coming from the apartment.
The officers entered the apartment and heard from a witness that John Moore was in the back bedroom and out of control. The officers found Mr. Moore lying on the floor, yelling incoherently and kicking the walls. The officers did not enter the bedroom because it was filled with things that limited access to the room. The officers stood in the doorway of the room and tried, with verbal requests, to calm Mr. Moore down. However, he became increasingly violent and moved toward the officers. The officers believed that Mr. Moore needed immediate medical assistance and asked for a supervisor to come to the apartment.
A Sergeant arrived and also tried to calm Mr. Moore down. He told Mr. Moore to calm down, stop kicking and place his hands behind his back. Mr. Moore did not comply with the officer's requests and continued kicking out in a highly agitated state.
The officers believed that Mr. Moore was a danger to himself and told him he was going to be apprehended under the Mental Health Act. When Mr. Moore did not respond and comply with their orders, the Sergeant discharged his Taser at Mr. Moore. The Taser probes struck Mr. Moore in the chest but seemed to have little effect. Two of the officers tried to handcuff Mr. Moore as he continued struggling and kicking. They were able to handcuff only one wrist. The Sergeant discharged his Taser four more times, again seemingly with little effect, before he realized that one of the two Taser probes was not making contact with Mr. Moore. The Sergeant then discharged the Taser in the touch-stun mode to Mr. Moore's lower back. The officers were then able to gain control of the other wrist and properly handcuff Mr. Moore.
Mr. Moore continued to struggle and resist after being handcuffed. He was sweating profusely, gasping for breath and yelling incoherently. The officers believed Mr. Moore's behaviour was symptomatic of excited delirium and that Mr. Moore required immediate medical assistance. The three officers carried Mr. Moore from the apartment to a waiting ambulance. He actively struggled as he was taken to the hospital.
Mr. Moore continued to struggle against the stretcher restraints at the hospital, where he was admitted. It was later learned that Mr. Moore had suffered a heart attack.
Mr. Moore was treated and released from hospital on October 25, 2007.
Director Cornish concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the Sergeant involved committed a criminal offence in Tasering Mr. Moore. He said, "The officers had sufficient grounds to arrest Mr. Moore under the Mental Health Act. Moreover, the force used to affect the arrest was reasonably necessary. The limitations of the room in which Mr. Moore was located made the use of pepper spray or their batons impractical and dangerous for both Mr. Moore and the involved officers. While it appears that the Sergeant discharged his Taser six times altogether during the incident, the evidence suggests that the second to fifth discharges did not actually "impact" Mr. Moore as one of the Taser probes had failed to lodge in Mr. Moore's body. In fact, that may also be true of the first discharge for the same reason, leaving only the sixth and final discharge, the "contact discharge", as the only certain force experienced by Mr. Moore via the Taser. Given Mr. Moore's continued resistance following the first Taser discharge and thereafter, the Sergeant's use of the Taser does not amount to unreasonable force. To the contrary, the use of the Taser appears to have assisted the officers in gaining control of Mr. Moore and affecting his arrest in a prompt and safe fashion. The weight of the evidence strongly suggests that Mr. Moore's heart attack was the result of his consumption of alcohol and illegal substances prior to the officers' arrival. Fortunately, Mr. Moore has survived his medical emergency."
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.