SIU Concludes Investigation into Custody Death in Norfolk County

    TORONTO, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - The Director of the Special Investigations Unit
(SIU) Ian Scott has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe
that officers from the Ontario Provincial Police - Norfolk Detachment (OPP),
committed any criminal offence in relation to the death of a 36-year-old Delhi
man on June 23, 2008.
    Four investigators and two forensic investigators from the SIU probed the
circumstances of this occurrence.
    On Monday June 23, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. members of the OPP responded to a
call in the area of Front Street and Fishers Glen Road, Norfolk about a man,
later identified as Jeffrey Mark Marreel, in the area exhibiting erratic and
violent behaviour. Neighbours had observed Mr. Marreel with a steel step in
his hands, which Mr. Marreel was using in a threatening fashion and to inflict
harm upon himself.
    When the first officer arrived Mr. Marreel reacted by threatening the
officer physically and verbally. The officer attempted via his cruiser's
loudspeaker to communicate with Mr. Marreel in an effort to have Mr. Marreel
drop the steel step. Mr. Marreel did not comply; instead, he persisted to
threaten the officer with violence, and tossed a piece of metal at the
officer's cruiser. Mr. Marreel continued to harm himself and damage various
objects in the area, including trees, a stop sign, and a telephone junction
box. For his own safety the officer decided to wait until additional officers
arrived. He followed Mr. Marreel to the intersection of Front Road and Fishers
Glen Road.
    Two other officers arrived at the scene and at this time the decision was
made to arrest Mr. Marreel. The officers circled Mr. Marreel and started to
move in on him. Mr. Marreel was ordered to drop the steel step and get down on
the ground. Mr. Marreel dropped the step. Mr. Marreel was again ordered to lie
face down on the ground. Mr. Marreel did not do so. A struggle ensued as the
officers reached Mr. Marreel and force was used by the officers to eventually
subdue and handcuff him.
    Mr. Marreel was taken to the OPP office in Simcoe. At the police station
Mr. Marreel went into medical distress, whereupon he was transported to
Norfolk General Hospital by ambulance. Mr. Marreel later died in hospital of
acute cocaine poisoning.
    Director Scott said, "I am satisfied that the officers were proceeding
lawfully to arrest Mr. Marreel on a number of grounds, namely, cause
disturbance, uttering threats and assault with a weapon. Section 25 of the
Criminal Code authorizes the use of reasonably necessary force by police
officers in the discharge of their lawful duties. The evidence collected by
the SIU in my view establishes that the officers' use of force fell within the
latitude authorized by the criminal law as being no more than was reasonably
necessary to overcome Mr. Marreel's violence and effect his arrest."

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

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