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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation of Male Injured during Arrest by York Regional Police Officers

Case Number: 08-OCI-029

TORONTO (29 July, 2008) --- The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has determined that the evidence gathered in the course of this probe does not properly support criminal charges against officers of the York Regional Police Service in respect of their apprehension of a robbery suspect.

"In my view, the evidence gathered in this extensive investigation falls short of providing a reasonable basis upon which to believe that the officers involved in this incident committed any criminal offence," concluded SIU Director James Cornish.

On February 19, 2008 at approximately 10:45 p.m., officers in both marked and unmarked cruisers, with emergency lights activated, pursued a car southbound on Highway 400 after they identified it as being involved in an earlier robbery at a nearby gasoline station. Overhead, the York Regional Police helicopter monitored events on the ground. Based on reports from the scene of the robbery, officers had reason to believe that the three occupants of the car were armed with handguns. Near Kirby Side Road, officers used their cruisers to surround the car, but one of the vehicle's occupants, a male, fled on foot. Both the male and the trailing officers lost their footing on the snowy, uneven and icy ground, allowing the opportunity for the officers to make the arrest.

During the course of his flight and apprehension, the male sustained a fractured cheekbone and a head injury.

"The officers were justified in using force against the man to ensure their own safety and that of other officers on the scene," said Mr. Cornish. "In my view, the officers had reason to believe that this man was carrying a firearm. They acted reasonably in using force until they had control of the male's arms. I am satisfied that the officers' account of the male having his arms beneath his body and refusing to release them is consistent and credible."

The man involved in this SIU investigation, 25-year-old Martin White of Brampton, is one of three accused men facing a variety of charges. Given that these matters remain before the courts, the release of any further information would not be appropriate and, indeed, could jeopardize the future legal proceedings.

The SIU designated two subject officers and 15 witness officers in its investigation. Also, two SIU investigators and three forensic investigators reviewed police documents and materials such as police communication tapes, video footage from the York Regional Police helicopter ("AIR 2") and cell booking video.

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. 

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