News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation of Man’s Fall into Niagara Gorge

Case Number: 15-OCI-001

Mississauga (21 August, 2015) --- The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any Niagara Regional Police Service officer with a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 23-year-old man in Niagara Falls on New Year’s Day.

The SIU assigned five investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, 10 civilian witnesses and two witness officers were interviewed.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 and Thursday, January 1, 2015:
• On New Year’s Eve, the 23-year-old man travelled to Niagara Falls with several friends where they had booked a room at the Hampton Inn to ring in the New Year. A sizeable quantity of alcohol was consumed by the group in their room before they left for a casino and thereafter a bar, where the drinking continued. 
• Soon after their return to the room in the early morning hours of January 1, 2015, other patrons at the inn started to complain about noise coming from the room, eventually prompting management to contact the police.
• An officer made her way to the room in question and ushered out the remaining members of the party; others had already left in anticipation of the police arrival. 
• Back down in the parking lot near the front entrance of the inn, the same officer noticed the 23-year-old male carrying a shoe in his hand and asked if he belonged to the group that had been evicted. He said no and indicated he was looking for his shoe. The officer watched as the male made his way back into the inn lobby.
• A few minutes later, the man stepped out of the inn again and across River Road.  Two employees of the inn observed him next to the wall that separated the roadway from the gorge, speaking on his cell phone. Very quickly, the man took a few steps south, staggered and then stumbled to his left over the wall. There was no one around him at the time. 
• The man was rescued by firefighters, transported by air ambulance to Hamilton General Hospital and diagnosed with multiple serious fractures.

Acting Director Martino said, “In my view, the record is clear: the man and his self-induced intoxication are solely to blame for his stumble into the gorge and the serious injuries he suffered.”       

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,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342