SIU Concludes Investigation into Police Shooting at Avondale Cemetery in Stratford

    TORONTO, July 3 /CNW/ - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has
determined that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an officer
with the Stratford Police Service committed any criminal offence in his
attempt to subdue an emotionally upset man in a local cemetery.
    The SIU assigned five field investigators and three forensic
investigators to this case.
    On May 29, 2008 at approximately 3:30 a.m., officers responded to a call
received by the local Crisis Hotline and, with the assistance of witnesses,
located the 46-year-old man near the grave of a relative. When officers found
the man, they noted that he had a large cut on his left arm and was holding a
blood-stained knife with a 10-inch blade.
    The officers attempted to negotiate with him, but used a Taser as a
less-lethal alternative force option when he ignored a warning to drop the
knife. The Taser, however, was not effective as the man appeared to use his
knife to disable the probes. The officers involved retreated; one of them
reloaded his Taser and fired a second time but, again, without success as the
man's movements prevented contact.
    SIU Director, James Cornish, concluded: "When the man did not stop
advancing on the subject officer and refused repeated requests to drop the
knife, the officer backed up and fired one shot from his service pistol
striking the man's left leg. The man dropped the knife, allowing the officers
to render first aid until emergency medical services arrived."
    Mr. Cornish added: "The evidence reveals a scenario where the officers
confronted a man in a state of depression and agitation, and they attempted to
stop him from harming himself any further. The subject officer believed that
shooting the man was necessary to protect himself and fellow officers from
serious bodily harm or death. The officer did so only after attempting to use
other methods to bring this confrontation to a peaceful and safe conclusion."

    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

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