SIU Concludes Investigation into Custody Death in Kawartha Lakes

    TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has
concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that officers of the
Kawartha Lakes Police Service committed any criminal offence in the arrest of
27-year-old David Stevens, who died while in their custody.
    "The officers involved used minimal force in detaining Mr. Stevens," SIU
Director James Cornish determined.
    On June 8, 2008, officers were called to the Admiral Inn at 1754 Highway
7 in Lindsay to investigate reports of a man ransacking two rooms. The damage
included a broken lamp and toilet, blinds pulled off the window and numerous
blood-covered items scattered about the rooms. Mr. Stevens was arrested
without incident; however, shortly after being handcuffed, he went into
medical distress. The arresting officers performed CPR until the arrival of
paramedics and the fire department, but Mr. Stevens was pronounced dead at the
scene. A post-mortem examination found no anatomical cause of death, pending
toxicology results.
    Mr. Stevens appeared to be suffering an adverse reaction to some drugs
while being arrested, and the officers called an ambulance before they
proceeded to detain him. Mr. Stevens was observed foaming at the mouth,
talking to the wall and making nonsensical comments.
    Mr. Cornish concluded: "Upon securing Mr. Stevens in handcuffs, the
officers, who were aware of the risks associated with positional asphyxia,
placed Mr. Stevens in a seated recovery position. When they saw that he was
not breathing and that vital signs were absent, the officers immediately
removed the handcuffs and began administering CPR. They also made a second
call for an ambulance, indicating the urgency of the situation. Unfortunately,
despite the efforts of the officers and EMS personnel, Mr. Stevens did not
    The SIU assigned three field investigators and three forensic
investigators to probe the circumstances surrounding Mr. Stevens' death. Two
subject officers provided statements; two witness officers as well as six
civilian witnesses were interviewed. SIU investigators also studied copies of
9-1-1 calls and communications tapes containing officer radio transmissions
    "While this investigation has been closed without final toxicology
results, the weight of the evidence, in my view, strongly suggests that Mr.
Stevens' death was not due to any undue force applied by the officers," Mr.
Cornish concluded.

    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

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