MISSISSAUGA, ON, May 15 /CNW/ - The Director of the Special
Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has determined that there are no
reasonable grounds to believe that any Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officer
committed a criminal offence in relation to the firearm death of a 27 year old
Ottawa man in early March 2009.
Seven investigators and two forensic investigators from the SIU were
assigned to probe the circumstances of this incident.
The SIU investigation determined that at 7:02 p.m. on March 6th, OPS
officers were dispatched to a reported armed bank robbery on Montreal Rd.
Responding officers saw Mr. Paul Jeffrey fleeing the area on foot. Mr. Jeffrey
had what appeared to be a black pistol in his possession. This pistol later
turned out to be a replica. At one point Mr. Jeffrey faced an officer and told
the officer he would shoot. Other officers were then alerted via radio to the
fact that Mr. Jeffrey might be armed and would shoot. At various points during
the foot chase that unfolded, Mr. Jeffrey pointed the gun in the direction of
the officers. This prompted several officers to shoot at Mr. Jeffrey.
Mr. Jeffrey was struck and died as a result of the gunshot injuries he
sustained. The evidence was not capable of showing which of the four subject
officers fired the shot that killed Mr. Jeffrey.
Director Scott said, "Pursuant to ss. 25(4) of the Criminal Code, police
officers have the authority to use lethal force against a fleeing felon if
they believe on reasonable grounds that the force is necessary for the purpose
of protecting them or those assisting them or others from imminent death or
grievous bodily harm, and the flight could not be prevented in a less violent
manner. Here, the subject officers were attempting to apprehend a man who had
just robbed a bank and had a replica handgun in his possession. Even though
the pistol was not real, Mr. Jeffrey behaved in a manner that would cause a
reasonable person to conclude that it was real. First, he was running from a
recently consummated bank robbery. Second, he threatened to shoot an officer.
Third, he ran at the officers with the replica gun held in a manner strongly
suggesting that he was going to shoot one of them. And finally, the replica
could easily be mistaken for a real handgun."
Director Scott concluded, "The law is clear that a police officer may
rely upon an honest and reasonable, but mistaken, belief in apprehending death
or serious bodily harm before responding with lethal force. Here, I am of the
view that the subject officers had an honest and reasonable belief that the
Mr. Jeffrey was an armed fleeing felon who was prepared to use imminent lethal
force against one or more of them. Accordingly, I cannot form the requisite
grounds to believe that the subject officer who discharged the lethal bullet
committed a criminal offence. Further, the other subject officers did not
commit a criminal offence when they shot at Mr. Jeffrey because they too had
the same reasonable, although ultimately mistaken, belief that he was about to
use lethal force."
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