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News Release

Charges Not Warranted in Highrise Death in Toronto

Case Number: 15-TCD-229

Mississauga, ON (19 August, 2016) ---
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit has decided no charges are warranted in an incident in which a 35-year-old man fell from a 16th floor balcony and died.

Four investigators and three forensic investigators were assigned to this incident.

Both subject officers participated in SIU interviews and provided copies of their duty notes.  The Unit’s investigation also included interviews with five civilians and two witness officers, analysis of forensic evidence gathered at the scene, and the review of CCTV recordings from the building (which did not include footage of the incident).    
The SIU investigation found the following:
  • On October 1, 2015, Toronto Police officers attended an apartment building on Jane Street south of Finch Avenue. They intended to arrest a 35-year-old man for assault with a weapon.
  • The two subject officers knocked on the door of an apartment and announced they were police officers.
  • The man who was the subject of the arrest panicked and went on the balcony. At the same time, a woman who resided in the apartment answered the door and allowed the officers to enter.
  • The officers searched the apartment.  When they did not find the man, even after searching the balcony, the woman informed them that he went out on the balcony as they arrived.
  • One of the officers returned to the balcony, looked over the railing, and discovered the man lying in the parking lot below.
  • The man was pronounced dead at the scene. 

SIU Acting Director Joseph Martino said, “It is evident on this record that the officers share no responsibility in the man’s death. The two subject officers were present in the apartment lawfully looking to arrest the man.  However, neither saw him much less had any interaction with him before the fall occurred.  As to what prompted the fall, the man’s fearful and panicked demeanour when he observed police officers at the door suggests an accident in the course of an attempt to evade arrest, perhaps by scaling down to the balcony below, or a deliberate act of suicide.  Be that as it may, there is simply no basis to believe the officers caused or contributed to the man’s demise in any fashion that might attract criminal liability.”  

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. 

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

Jason Gennaro
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342