SIU Concludes Investigation into Barrie Firearm Death

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 11 /CNW/ - Ian Scott, the Director of the Special
Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds
to believe that two officers with the Barrie Police Service (BPS) committed a
criminal offence in relation to the firearm death in July of a 48 year old man
in Barrie.
    The SIU assigned seven investigators and four forensic investigators to
probe the circumstances of this incident.
    The SIU investigation determined that on July 5, 2009, two BPS officers
approached Dennis Albert Melton on Bayfield Street. Mr. Melton had been
observed acting in an erratic manner. Unknown to the officers at the time, Mr.
Melton was armed with a knife. For no apparent reason, he stabbed one of the
officers in the throat area, seriously injuring him. The second officer
intervened and tackled Mr. Melton to the ground. This officer was also stabbed
in the neck area, and he too was seriously injured. The officer managed to
extricate himself from Mr. Melton and create some distance between them. At
this time, the first officer discharged his firearm in Mr. Melton's direction,
followed shortly by a number of rounds fired by the second officer. Mr. Melton
began walking away from the scene north on Bayfield Street with the knife
still in his hand. The second officer pursued him on foot, ordering Mr. Melton
numerous times to drop his weapon and get on the ground. Mr. Melton did not
comply and continued to walk north. The officer manoeuvred in front of Mr.
Melton and repeated his verbal commands. Mr. Melton continued toward the
officer with the knife raised, prompting the officer to discharge a number of
shots. Mr. Melton was struck and collapsed. He was taken to Royal Victoria
Hospital (RVH) where he was pronounced dead. A post mortem conducted on Mr.
Melton on July 7th at the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto confirmed
that Mr. Melton died of multiple gunshot wounds.
    Both officers were taken to the RVH in Barrie where they underwent
emergency surgery for their life-threatening injuries. They continue to
recover from those injuries.
    Director Scott said, "Pursuant to ss. 25(4) of the Criminal Code, a
police officer may use lethal force if the officer is proceeding to arrest the
person, the offence is one for which the person may be arrested without a
warrant, the person takes flight, the officer believes on reasonable grounds
that force is necessary to preserve any other person from imminent or future
death or grievous bodily harm, and the flight could not be prevented by
reasonable means in a less violent manner. Here, Mr. Melton had committed an
aggravated assault on two police officers, an offence for which he could have
been arrested without warrant had he complied with the officer's demands. Mr.
Melton took flight by walking north on Bayfield Street and refusing to comply
with the police demands. Further, given his gratuitous and violent attacks on
the two subject officers with a knife that he continued to brandish and the
real possibility of other members of the public coming into contact with him,
it was a reasonable conclusion for the officer to draw that lethal force was
necessary to protect others if he refused to comply. Finally, with respect to
the issue of whether the flight could have been prevented in a less violent
manner, it is worth noting that the officer did not have a Taser with him, and
pepper spray would have been too risky in this circumstance of potentially
imminent harm to others. As well, the subject officer was justified under the
self-defence section of the Criminal Code as he was under a reasonable
apprehension that he would face imminent death or grievous bodily harm."

    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: Monica Hudon, SIU Communications/Service des
communications, UES, Telephone/No de telephone: (416) 622-2342 or/ou

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