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News Release

SIU Concludes Probe into Sault Ste. Marie Man's Injuries

Case Number: 07-OCI-214

TORONTO (16 January, 2008) --- James Cornish, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded that no officers of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service (SSMPS) committed any criminal offence when they arrested 81-year-old Eric Chapman on October 24, 2007.

Three investigators, including one forensic identification technician, from the SIU were assigned to probe the circumstances surrounding this incident.

Investigators determined that at 8:33 a.m. on October 24, 2007, the Sault Ste. Marie Police was called to the Sault Ste. Marie Hospital to investigate a report of an elderly man armed with a gun. Officers arrived and learned the man was in a hospital room on the second floor. Hospital staff cleared the surrounding area around the room. A short time later, the man came out into the hallway with his hand in his pocket. The officers ordered him to take his hand out of his pocket and stop. He ignored their directions and continued to walk towards them. He was forced to the ground by a ballistic shield one of the officers was carrying. Once the man's hands were secured, the officers located what appeared to be a pistol in the man's pocket. Upon investigation by the officers the pistol turned out to be a BB gun. During the course of the arrest, the man suffered a cut to his head and a broken elbow.

Director Cornish said, "I have no hesitation in concluding that the officers used nothing more than reasonable force in apprehending Mr. Chapman. As far as anybody knew other than Mr. Chapman, Mr. Chapman was armed with a firearm and had given every indication of a willingness to use it."

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