SIU Concludes Custody Injury Investigation in Niagara
Case Number: 11-OCI-188
Mississauga (9 November, 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 Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) with a criminal offence in regards to the injuries sustained by 29-year-old Jason Gorman in September of this year.
The SIU assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. The incident area was forensically examined, video recorded and photographed. A canvass of the area was conducted. One officer was designated as a subject officer and six officers were designated as witness officers. All officers were interviewed by SIU investigators. The SIU also interviewed ten civilian witnesses.
The SIU investigation determined that in the early hours of September 19, 2011, NRPS officers responded to a radio call regarding a possible break and enter in progress at a plaza at 7000 McLeod Road, Niagara Falls. Shortly after the arrival of the subject officer, Mr. Gorman sustained two broken wrists and a fractured spine as a result of a fall from the roof.
Director Scott said, "In my view, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained proximate to Mr. Gorman’s arrest. The live issue is whether Mr. Gorman fell from the roof of his own accord, or was caused to fall by the subject officer. On the one hand, Mr. Gorman asserts that he was kicked in the thigh, causing him to be propelled off the roof, a position he has publicly taken. On the other hand, the subject officer, who voluntarily submitted to an interview, admitted that he was on the roof in response to the dispatch but was not near Mr. Gorman when he fell.
"Two factors of the investigation support the subject officer’s version. First, an independent civilian witness heard the complainant state to officers immediately after the fall, 'I f-----g jumped’. Second, there were glove prints found on the metal facet of the roof suggesting that Mr. Gorman positioned himself in a manner that he was attempting to lower himself down to the ground."
Director Scott concluded, "In light of this spontaneous utterance by the complainant and the forensic evidence, in my view, it is more likely that Mr. Gorman fell off the roof of his own accord. Accordingly, I cannot form a reasonable belief that the subject officer caused him to fall off the roof. Therefore, in my view, he did not commit a criminal offence in relation to the complainant’s injuries."
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.
Jasbir Dhillon, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342