SIU Concludes Firearm Death Investigation in Hamilton
Case Number: 11-OFD-021
Mississauga (26 May, 2011) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer of the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) with a criminal offence in regards to the firearm death of 19-year-old Andreas Chinnery in February of this year.
The SIU assigned six investigators and three forensic investigators to the investigation. The SIU made a digital photographic record of the scene, collected physical evidence, and seized exhibits relevant to the incident. A scale drawing of the scene was completed. A canvass of the area was conducted to locate any potential witnesses. Six civilian witnesses were identified and interviewed. Two officers were designated as witness officers and one officer was designated as a subject officer. All three officers were interviewed.
The SIU investigation determined that during the evening of February 2, 2011, HPS officers were dispatched to an apartment on Barton St. East, Hamilton, regarding a man damaging his apartment with a baseball bat. They were also informed that the man was yelling and making verbal threats. The officers were met by a person at the apartment building who made the initial complaint and were escorted to the apartment occupied by Mr. Chinnery.
According to the two officers, the subject officer knocked on the apartment door. The banging and yelling stopped. The subject officer was the closer of the two officers to the door. A witness officer was at the subject officer’s left side and slightly behind him. Mr. Chinnery forcefully opened the door and could be seen by both officers. He was holding a baseball bat which he brought over his right shoulder. Both officers drew their police issued Glock firearms and the subject officer ordered him to drop the bat. Mr. Chinnery swung the bat, hitting the strike edge of the door. Both officers yelled at Mr. Chinnery to drop the bat. Mr. Chinnery yelled an expletive and took a step towards the officers. He started to swing the bat in a downward direction toward the subject officer. The subject officer twice discharged his firearm. Mr. Chinnery was struck by both bullets. One of the bullets caused a fatal injury. The subject officer provided first aid to Mr. Chinnery and an ambulance was summoned. Mr. Chinnery was transported to Hamilton General Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
Director Scott concluded, "Even though one lawyer represented both the subject and witness officer, and conferred with them before they wrote up their notes, I accept the officers’ version of these events. They are corroborated on many points by a civilian witness, the forensic identification evidence and the bullet paths as determined by the autopsy results. Accordingly, on this factual basis, I am of the view that the subject officer was justified in law in using lethal force under s. 34(2) of the Criminal Code because he had a reasonable belief that he would suffer death or grievous bodily harm had he not discharged his firearm, and he could not have reasonably escaped from this imminent threat. It is tragic that Mr. Chinnery lost his life but the subject officer had no reasonable alternative but to discharge his firearm"
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.
Frank Phillips, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
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