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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Barrie

Case Number: 09-OFD-162

Mississauga (11 September, 2009) --- Ian Scott, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that two officers with the Barrie Police Service (BPS) committed a criminal offence in relation to the firearm death in July of a 48 year old man in Barrie.

The SIU assigned seven investigators and four forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.

The SIU investigation determined that on July 5, 2009, two BPS officers approached Dennis Albert Melton on Bayfield Street. Mr. Melton had been observed acting in an erratic manner. Unknown to the officers at the time, Mr. Melton was armed with a knife. For no apparent reason, he stabbed one of the officers in the throat area, seriously injuring him. The second officer intervened and tackled Mr. Melton to the ground. This officer was also stabbed in the neck area, and he too was seriously injured. The officer managed to extricate himself from Mr. Melton and create some distance between them. At this time, the first officer discharged his firearm in Mr. Melton’s direction, followed shortly by a number of rounds fired by the second officer. Mr. Melton began walking away from the scene north on Bayfield Street with the knife still in his hand. The second officer pursued him on foot, ordering Mr. Melton numerous times to drop his weapon and get on the ground. Mr. Melton did not comply and continued to walk north. The officer manoeuvred in front of Mr. Melton and repeated his verbal commands. Mr. Melton continued toward the officer with the knife raised, prompting the officer to discharge a number of shots. Mr. Melton was struck and collapsed. He was taken to Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) where he was pronounced dead. A post mortem conducted on Mr. Melton on July 7th at the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto confirmed that Mr. Melton died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Both officers were taken to the RVH in Barrie where they underwent emergency surgery for their life-threatening injuries. They continue to recover from those injuries.

Director Scott said, “Pursuant to ss. 25(4) of the Criminal Code, a police officer may use lethal force if the officer is proceeding to arrest the person, the offence is one for which the person may be arrested without a warrant, the person takes flight, the officer believes on reasonable grounds that force is necessary to preserve any other person from imminent or future death or grievous bodily harm, and the flight could not be prevented by reasonable means in a less violent manner. Here, Mr. Melton had committed an aggravated assault on two police officers, an offence for which he could have been arrested without warrant had he complied with the officer’s demands. Mr. Melton took flight by walking north on Bayfield Street and refusing to comply with the police demands. Further, given his gratuitous and violent attacks on the two subject officers with a knife that he continued to brandish and the real possibility of other members of the public coming into contact with him, it was a reasonable conclusion for the officer to draw that lethal force was necessary to protect others if he refused to comply. Finally, with respect to the issue of whether the flight could have been prevented in a less violent manner, it is worth noting that the officer did not have a Taser with him, and pepper spray would have been too risky in this circumstance of potentially imminent harm to others. As well, the subject officer was justified under the self-defence section of the Criminal Code as he was under a reasonable apprehension that he would face imminent death or grievous bodily harm.”

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