SIU Director Concludes Charges Unwarranted in Death of Immigration Detainee
Case Number: 15-OCD-118
- On June 10, 2015, subject officer #1 (with the Peterborough Police Service) and subject officer #2 (with the Ontario Provincial Police) accepted a paid duty assignment at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. The duty entailed guarding a refugee claimant who was in the custody of the Canadian Border Services Agency and awaiting deportation. The 39-year-old man suffered from significant mental health issues, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
- Between 10:30 p.m. and 10:45 p.m., the two officers, five nurses, and three security guards entered the “isolation room” where the man was being held. They were attempting to sedate the man, who had been smearing his feces on the bed, his face, his forehead, and his arms. He had also been ingesting feces and clumps of his own hair.
- Subject officer #2 was instructed by a nurse to hold a towel to the man’s mouth to prevent him from biting and spitting. While the security guards held down the man’s legs, subject officer #1 held his left arm and subject officer #2 used the towel to block the man’s mouth and force his head down.
- The sedative was successfully administered and the man went to sleep within five minutes.
- Around 1:00 a.m., the two subject officers and four nurses entered the room in order to clean the room. The man awoke. Again, he ingested feces and threw it about the room.
- Subject officer #1 held down the man’s left arm to prevent him from throwing anything else. Subject officer #2 used a towel in the same manner as before, to cover the man’s mouth and hold his head against the bed.
- While being restrained, the man kicked, hit, and grabbed at the nurses who were attempting to clean him and his bedding. Suddenly, the man stopped moving. It was determined that he was without vital signs and resuscitation efforts were performed.
- He was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m.
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
- publicly report the results of its investigations