No Criminal Charges against Peel Officer Who Shot Man Multiple Times
Case Number: 15-OFI-271
Other News Releases Related to Case 15-OFI-271
(22 November, 2016) ---
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has determined there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges against a Peel Regional Police officer in relation to the shooting injuries sustained by a 26-year-old man in November of 2015 in Mississauga.
Four investigators and four forensic investigators were assigned to this incident.
The SIU interviewed two civilian witnesses and six witness officers, including the injured man and an officer who was present with the subject officer at the time of the shooting. The subject officer participated in an SIU interview and provided a copy of his duty notes.
The Unit’s investigation also included a review of various communications recordings and forensic analyses of the scene and of the subject officer’s firearm.
The SIU investigation found the following:
- At approximately 1 a.m. on November 14, 2015, the 26-year-old man arrived in the area of Burnhamthorpe Road East and Dixie Road. From there, he made a call to 911 using his mobile phone. He indicated to the emergency call taker that he was wearing a suicide belt which he planned to detonate, in part because of his “people” being killed in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Agitated and upset with his family from the evening before, the man had left the family home having fastened the electrical cord of a hair clipper around his waist with the clipper end in his right pocket and the clipper pouch hanging from the cord at the front of his waist near his abdomen. The man had crafted a makeshift imitation explosive device to scare his family into believing he would be blowing himself up.
- Police were able to trace the man’s mobile communications and officers were dispatched to the area.
- The subject officer and another officer arrived in the area in separate cruisers. Upon noticing the man on the grounds of the Burnhamthorpe Public School, the officers brought their vehicles to a stop in the middle of the Golden Orchard Drive and Grand Forks Road intersection. The man began walking towards the cruisers. While the witness officer remained in his cruiser, the subject officer exited his vehicle, shone his flashlight at the man and asked if it was he who had called the police. As the man continued to approach the subject officer, the officers noticed a black strap around his waist and a black device in his right hand. When the man neared to within ten to 15 metres of the officers, he began to yell that he was going to blow them up and kill them while picking up his pace in their direction. The witness officer exited his vehicle and sought cover behind it as he drew his firearm and pointed it at the man. The subject officer retreated between the two cruisers drawing his weapon in the process. He fired five times at the man while walking backward from the cruisers as the man continued his advance to within about six metres of the officer. The shots felled the man on Grand Forks Road just west of Golden Orchard Drive, resulting in wounds to his abdomen, left thigh and scrotum.
- For the next hour and a half, concerned that the man was still armed with a bomb, the police service’s tactical unit secured the scene and deployed a robot in an effort to monitor him from a distance. Finally satisfied that there were no actual explosives present, officers approached the man and arranged for his transport to hospital.
- The man was treated in hospital and released the next day.
Acting Director Martino said, “Section 34 of the Criminal Code sets out the parameters of the law of self-defence in Canada. In essence, people are legally entitled to take action to defend themselves or others from attack or the threat of force as long as the action they take is reasonable in the circumstances. I have no hesitation in concluding that the shooting in question was justified in self-defence. The subject officer had no reason to doubt that the man meant what he said when he threatened to kill the officer while wearing an apparent explosive around his body. The officer knew as they responded to the area in search of the man that he had called the police indicating he had a bomb and was planning to set it off. In fact, it had been the man’s very intention to deceive those around him into believing he really had an explosive device strapped around his waist. The contraption he put together proved effective. At night, confronted by the man with something that looked like an explosive device around his waist and a detonator in his hand, the subject officer did not have the luxury of testing the authenticity of the man’s claims. The subject officer feared for his life and believed it necessary to shoot the man to prevent him from detonating a bomb that would endanger his life. Of course, as the man was not actually armed with any weapons, the officer was mistaken in his assessment of the threat. Be that as it may, his mistake, made in the heat of the moment with no time to take the man other than at his word, was entirely reasonable in the circumstances.
“It is telling in this regard that the witness officer, similarly situated to the subject officer, was of the same mindset and was himself about to shoot the man when he heard the subject officer’s shots ring out. The fact that both officers retreated a block west of the scene following the shooting and stayed there pending the arrival of tactical officers, who themselves only approached the man once they were satisfied it was safe to do so some time after their arrival, is also instructive of the genuine threat the officers on the ground believed they were confronting at the time.”
Acting Director Martino concluded, “In the final analysis, I am satisfied that the shots the subject officer fired at the man as he neared to within metres of the officer’s position, threatening to kill the officer and detonate a bomb as he did so, amounted to reasonable force in self-defence by an officer engaged in the lawful execution of his duty. Consequently, this file is closed as there are no reasonable grounds in my view to believe the subject officer committed a criminal offence.”
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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Monica Hudon, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342