SIU Concludes Port Elgin Investigation
Case Number: 05-OFI-108
Other News Releases Related to Case 05-OFI-108
On July 24, 2005, Mr. Beldman suffered a gunshot wound to his leg after he was involved in a confrontation with a SSPS officer. He was taken to hospital where he was treated and then released into the custody of the police. On August 16, 2005, Mr. Beldman went into medical distress and died.
The investigation determined that on July 24, 2005, two SSPS officers were searching for Mr. Beldman who was believed to be suspect in a number of break and enters in the Port Elgin area. At about 10:25 p.m., an officer was parked at the rear of 43 Fenton Drive in an unmarked police car when Mr. Beldman approached her car from out of the bushes. The officer got out of her car and informed Mr. Beldman that he was under arrest. He ignored her repeated commands to surrender and the officer pepper sprayed Mr. Beldman in an attempt to de-escalate the situation and to affect the arrest. It had no effect on him as he made his way to the front of 43 Fenton Drive.
The officer followed, repeatedly issuing tactical commands for him to surrender. Mr. Beldman then grabbed a plastic lawn chair from the porch and threatened to kill the officer. The officer drew her firearm and repeatedly commanded him not to move. Mr. Beldman threw the chair at the officer and as he made a move in her direction, the officer fired once. Mr. Beldman momentarily fell to the ground but quickly got back up and fled into the darkness. The officer was uncertain whether or not she had shot Mr. Beldman. A search for him was launched and he was arrested the following morning at about 6:00 a.m., suffering from a gunshot wound to his leg.
Having reviewed all the available evidence, Director Cornish concluded that the officer's use of force was legally justified. He stated, "I am confident a reasonable person would have found it necessary to resort to deadly force in the interests of self-preservation as Mr. Beldman threw the chair in the officer's direction and then advanced on her. I note there is no indication that his unfortunate passing on August 16, 2005, was related to the gunshot wound he sustained in this incident."
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.