TORONTO, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has
determined that Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers did not cause or
contribute to the death of a 58-year-old Stratford, Ontario man.
At approximately 3:30 p.m. on July 26, 2008, OPP officers from the
Listowel detachment, supported by members of the Tactical Rescue Unit and the
Emergency Response Team, responded to a call about a pick-up truck on fire and
a man armed with a sawed-off shotgun at Memorial Park in Listowel. When
officers arrived, the man held them at bay and repeatedly threatened to take
his own life. After a five-hour standoff during which police negotiators tried
unsuccessfully to convince the man to surrender, he sat down under a tree and
shot himself in the chest.
"In my view, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the
officers involved in this case committed any criminal offence," concluded SIU
Director James Cornish. "When the officers realized that the man was armed,
they immediately retreated to a position of relative safety and commenced
their efforts to have the man give up the gun and surrender himself
peacefully. Trained negotiators and an incident commander negotiated in
earnest, but no avail."
During the course of the investigation, the SIU interviewed six OPP
officers and seven civilian witnesses as well as reviewed 96 minutes of
audiotapes of dialogue between police negotiators and the distraught man.
The SIU is a civilian agency that investigates cases of serious injuries
(including allegations of sexual assault) and deaths involving the police.
Pursuant to section 113 of the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU is
mandated to consider whether a criminal offence has been committed by an
officer(s) in connection with the incident under investigation and, where
warranted by the evidence, to cause a criminal charge or charges to be laid
against the officer(s). The Director reports the results of investigations to
the Attorney General.
For further information:
For further information: John Yoannou, SIU Communications/Service des
communications, UES, Telephone/No de telephone: (416) 622-2342 or/ou
1-800-787-8529; For general information about the SIU, please visit our
website at www.siu.on.ca