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News Release

SIU Concludes Custody Death Investigation in Windsor

Case Number: 05-OCD-033

TORONTO (28 April, 2005) --- James L. Cornish, Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any Windsor Police Service (WPS) officers committed any criminal offence in relation to the death of 28-year-old Kendall Hawkins, who fell to his death from the Ambassador Bridge on March 20, 2005.

The SIU investigation revealed that at approximately 12:00 p.m., an off duty police officer from another service saw Mr. Hawkins climbing the metal supports of the Ambassador Bridge. He called 911 and four WPS officers responded quickly to the scene. Mr. Hawkins was sitting approximately 30 metres up, just under the top of the bridge. Traffic was heavy on the bridge and it was very noisy; high winds added to that noise. One of the WPS officers on the ground attempted to shout up to Mr. Hawkins, but Mr. Hawkins gave no indication that he could hear and in fact never acknowledged the police presence at all.

Minutes after the arrival of WPS officers, and before they could establish any communication with Mr. Hawkins, he stood up and fell feet first from the bridge. The WPS officers immediately ran to assist Mr. Hawkins and EMS personnel transported him to hospital via ambulance.

Director Cornish concluded that no WPS officer was able to establish any communication with Mr. Hawkins before he fell to his death. He said, "Although we do not know why Mr. Hawkins climbed up the side of the bridge and although we do not know why he fell, it is clear based upon the exhaustive investigation carried out by this Unit, that the police did nothing that caused or contributed to this tragic loss of life."

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