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News Release

SIU Director: Evidence is Clear, Officers Did Not Contribute to Man’s Death in Apartment Fall

Case Number: 15-OCD-311

Mississauga, ON (22 September, 2016) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit has concluded there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in a December 2015 incident in which a 29-year-old man fell from a Burlington apartment and died.

Five investigators and two forensic investigators were assigned to this incident.

The SIU interviewed one of two subject officers.  Neither officer provided a copy of their duty notes, as is their legal right, and the second subject officer did not consent to participate in an interview with the SIU, also in accordance with her legal right. 

Six civilian witnesses and four witness officers were interviewed as part of the investigation.  

The SIU investigation found the following:
  • Around 2:20 p.m. on December 23, 2015, the Halton Regional Police Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team was contacted about a 29-year-old man in crisis at an apartment building near the intersection of Plains Road East and Francis Road, in the City of Burlington.
  • The team arrived at the apartment and – concerned about the man’s potential threat to other tenants and to himself – officers determined the need to enter the unit. 
  • The superintendent led the team up several floors, knocked on the door, and called out to the man.  When no answer was forthcoming, the superintendent unlocked the door and the officers entered the apartment.
  • Within 30 seconds, officers located the man standing on the balcony.  
  • The man looked at the officers, then straddled the railing and threw the weight of his body over the railing.
  • The officers rushed down to the man and attempted to provide cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
  • The man was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem examination would determine the cause of his death to be multiple traumas, consistent with a fall from a significant height.     
 
Director Tony Loparco said, “The man’s jump from the balcony was observed and consistently described by several witnesses who confirmed that he jumped off of the balcony himself. There is no doubt as to how it came to be. The issue that I need to determine is whether either of the two subject officers did anything that contributed to his death. 

“Nothing in the entire body of evidence suggests that the actions of either of the two subject officers contributed to the man’s death.  The officers were clearly acting within the lawful course of their duties when they entered the apartment. As soon as the man saw the officers, he made the decision to jump from the balcony. The officers neither said nor did anything that caused the man to throw himself over the ledge. Their mere presence cannot be construed so as to satisfy the essential element of causation. 

“The man’s death is tragic. However, it is an unfortunate outcome that attracts no criminal liability. Nothing suggests that the subject officers were anything less than professional, responsive and thoughtful on the evening of December 23, 2015. More importantly, they did absolutely nothing to causally contribute to the man’s death. Consequently, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed, and no charges will 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. 

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

Jason Gennaro, jason.gennaro@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-641-1897 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 1897