SIU Director Recognizes Patience and Vigilance of OPP Officers During Orillia Standoff; Investigation Discontinued
Case Number: 20-PCI-009
(28 February, 2020) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has terminated an investigation into the serious injuries sustained last month by a 31-year-old man in Orillia.
On January 18, 2020, Ontario Provincial Police officers attended a home in Orillia in response to concerns communicated by family members with a man’s safety following indications he wished to harm himself. A perimeter was set up around the home, ERT and TRU teams mobilized, and paramedics staged nearby. In the ensuing hours, officers contacted the man by phone imploring that he not hurt himself. The plan was to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the standoff that would see the man apprehended and taken to hospital for assessment. The man steadfastly refused the officers’ appeals. At approximately 9 p.m., tear gas was deployed into the home and officers entered after the man was observed through a second-floor window with a knife at his throat. The man was located in a bathroom having cut himself multiple times. He was taken into custody following a short skirmish in which he threw a knife at an officer, cutting the officer’s hand, and was bit in the legs by a police dog. Following his apprehension, the man was taken by ambulance to hospital in Orillia before being transferred to a trauma centre in Toronto.
Director Martino said, “Based on the SIU’s preliminary inquiries to date, I am satisfied there is patently nothing to investigate as far as the potential criminal liability of any police officer is concerned in relation to this incident. There were clear grounds for the man’s apprehension under section 17 of the Mental Health Act considering his suicidal ideations. And there is no suggestion in the evidence of any excessive force or want of care in the officers’ dealings with the man. On the contrary, the evidence indicates that the police approached the situation with an appropriate degree of vigilance, working patiently over hours to secure a safe outcome for all concerned but forcing the issue when it appeared the man’s health and safety were in imminent danger.
"As for the bites inflicted by the police dog, I am unable to find fault with its use in the circumstances. The man was armed with a knife, which he threw at a police officer, and the officers had good cause to engage him at a distance with the release of the dog. For the foregoing reasons, the investigation is hereby discontinued, and the file is closed.”
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
- publicly report the results of its investigations
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Monica Hudon, email@example.com
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342