TORONTO, July 29 /CNW/ - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has
determined that the evidence gathered in the course of this probe does not
properly support criminal charges against officers of the York Regional Police
Service in respect of their apprehension of a robbery suspect.
"In my view, the evidence gathered in this extensive investigation falls
short of providing a reasonable basis upon which to believe that the officers
involved in this incident committed any criminal offence," concluded SIU
Director James Cornish.
On February 19, 2008 at approximately 10:45 p.m., officers in both marked
and unmarked cruisers, with emergency lights activated, pursued a car
southbound on Highway 400 after they identified it as being involved in an
earlier robbery at a nearby gasoline station. Overhead, the York Regional
Police helicopter monitored events on the ground. Based on reports from the
scene of the robbery, officers had reason to believe that the three occupants
of the car were armed with handguns. Near Kirby Side Road, officers used their
cruisers to surround the car, but one of the vehicle's occupants, a male, fled
on foot. Both the male and the trailing officers lost their footing on the
snowy, uneven and icy ground, allowing the opportunity for the officers to
make the arrest.
During the course of his flight and apprehension, the male sustained a
fractured cheekbone and a head injury.
"The officers were justified in using force against the man to ensure
their own safety and that of other officers on the scene," said Mr. Cornish.
"In my view, the officers had reason to believe that this man was carrying a
firearm. They acted reasonably in using force until they had control of the
male's arms. I am satisfied that the officers' account of the male having his
arms beneath his body and refusing to release them is consistent and
The man involved in this SIU investigation, 25-year-old Martin White of
Brampton, is one of three accused men facing a variety of charges. Given that
these matters remain before the courts, the release of any further information
would not be appropriate and, indeed, could jeopardize the future legal
The SIU designated two subject officers and 15 witness officers in its
investigation. Also, two SIU investigators and three forensic investigators
reviewed police documents and materials such as police communication tapes,
video footage from the York Regional Police helicopter ("AIR 2") and cell
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