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News Release

No Charges Warranted in Kitchener Death Case

Case Number: 16-OCD-025

Mississauga, ON (5 June, 2017) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Tony Loparco, has determined there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges against any Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) officer in relation to the death of a 37-year-old man in January of 2016.
 
Three investigators and two forensic investigators were assigned to this incident.

The SIU interviewed seven civilian witnesses, the majority of whom were affiliated with the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) team which arrived to tend to the man. Five subject officers were designated. None of the officers consented to an interview or to the release of their duty notes, as is their legal right.
 
The Unit’s investigation also included the review of the post-mortem examination, toxicological report and forensic evidence gathered from the scene.

The SIU investigation found the following:
  • In the evening hours of Saturday, January 30, 2016, EMS responded to a Kitchener residence in the Lancaster Street West and Bridgeport Road East area for a call regarding a potential drug overdose.
  • Paramedics immediately attended to the man, addressed his symptoms, and were very concerned when a cardiac monitor revealed that his heart rate was 185 beats per minute indicating that his heart was at risk of being in sinus tachycardia which could go into an uncontrolled rhythm. As the man was intermittently uncooperative with the paramedics, police were called to assist.
  • WRPS officers assisted the paramedics by helping to move the man from his bed onto the medical stair chair as he needed to be transported to hospital for medical treatment. Within seconds, the man dove off the chair and landed back onto the mattress. Officers also provided assistance to the paramedics by holding the man’s legs so that a sedative could be administered. When the man placed an object in his mouth and began chewing it, one officer held onto the man’s right bicep to keep his arm down and a second officer held onto the man’s shoulders, at the request of paramedics.
  • Within minutes, the man’s vital signs became absent and the paramedics began treating him.
  • The man was transported to Grand River Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination showed there was no trauma to account for the death of the man and no anatomical cause of death. The toxicology report determined that the cause of the man’s death was acute toxicity of methamphetamine.

Director Loparco said, “The evidence of all the paramedics is consistent and paints a clear picture of what occurred throughout their involvement with the man. He was exhibiting definitive signs of excited delirium, was agitated, uncooperative, and was actively resisting medical assistance. In order to properly and safely administer the medical intervention required by the man as well as to assist in removing him from his bedroom to be transported to hospital, the paramedics required the attendance and assistance of WRPS officers. The man’s potential strength, if his uncooperative disposition escalated, was also worrisome.”

Director Loparco continued, “In my opinion, on the totality of the evidence, the man was regrettably an uncooperative patient. The paramedics as well as the WRPS officers all worked diligently to save the man’s life and they performed their duties with professionalism and care. The officers complied, without hesitation, to all the directions of the paramedics including their assistance with the resuscitation attempts of the man. When directed not to restrain the man in any manner as he was in a critical pre-cardiac arrest situation, the officers did as they were asked. The officers placed no weight onto any portion of the man’s body, and they only held onto him for reasons of stability, not restraint, as he continued to be agitated and chaotic.

“There is no evidence that any of the WRPS officers who had contact with the man while he was alive in any way contributed to his death. As such, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the officers committed a criminal offence in this case 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.

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342