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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into London Shooting

Case Number: 09-OFI-006

Mississauga (21 April, 2009) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Ian Scott has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that two officers of the London Police Service (LPS) committed any criminal offence in relation to the gunshot injuries sustained by a London man in January of this year.

Six SIU investigators and three forensic investigators were assigned to probe the circumstances of this incident.

The SIU investigation determined that at 2:09 p.m. LPS officers went to an Oakville Avenue apartment to arrest 26 year old Joseph Barnes on a warrant. Mr. Barnes fled on foot. A number of officers chased after Mr. Barnes. At some point in the foot pursuit Mr. Barnes pointed a replica weapon at officers and civilians. Police fired a number of shots and Mr. Barnes was struck. Mr. Barnes was transported to London Health Sciences Centre and treated for gunshot wounds.

Director Scott said, “While the police were attempting to arrest Mr. Barnes, he jumped from a second floor apartment balcony and ran. Before he left, he grabbed a replica 9 mm handgun. One of the witness officers saw what was eventually determined to be a replica handgun and Mr. Barnes was told several times to stop and get on the ground. The two subject officers discharged their firearms seven times at Mr. Barnes after it appeared he pointed the replica handgun at officers and then at some civilians who were also in the area. Mr. Barnes was struck three times.”

Director Scott added, “In my view, the subject officers acted reasonably in these circumstances. Under ss. 25(4) of the Criminal Code, a peace officer is justified in using lethal force in arresting an individual when the arrest is a lawful one and the subject officer believes on reasonable grounds that the force is necessary for the purpose of protecting persons lawfully assisting the subject officer from imminent death or grievous bodily harm. Here, the arrest was lawful because the complainant had outstanding robbery warrants. Whether Mr. Barnes pointed his firearm at one of the subject officers or another officer, the subject officers were justified in using lethal force because all officers were involved in lawfully assisting the subject officers in this arrest. Finally, the fact that the handgun ultimately turned out to be a pellet gun does not affect the analysis; the subject officers had an honestly held and reasonable belief that the replica handgun was real. Accordingly, I cannot form reasonable grounds that the use of force in these circumstances was excessive.”

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. 

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342