Officer’s Use of Less Lethal Shotgun was Lawful; SIU Closes Inverary Investigation
(5 August, 2022) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that an Ontario Provincial Police officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the discharge of his less lethal shotgun at a 35-year-old man in April.
On the morning of April 7, 2022, the man was in mental distress when he called police to inform that he had breached the terms of his release and that officers should be sent to his home to arrest him. The man further advised that he needed help and wanted to be taken to the hospital. Officers were dispatched to the address. A family member informed police that the man was in a mental health crisis, had earlier been seen with a knife, and possibly had access to a firearm in the house. Tactical Rescue Unit officers took charge of the scene, setting up a perimeter around it. Continued efforts to speak with the man, via telephone and loud hailer, were to no avail. Shortly before 2 p.m., the man leapt through a bedroom window. Righting himself, he started running in the direction of an officer and refused to stop at the direction of the police. The officer fired his less lethal shotgun as the man advanced on him. The sock round struck one of the man’s hands. He was taken to hospital and underwent a psychiatric examination. He was not diagnosed with any serious physical injury.
As there were no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer who discharged the less lethal shotgun comported himself other than lawfully in his dealings with the man, Director Martino determined there was no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file has been closed.
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
- publicly report the results of its investigations
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Kristy Denette, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES