SIU Concludes Investigation Into The Use Of Taser By A Hamilton Police Service Officer

    TORONTO, June 2 /CNW/ - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has
determined that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an officer of
the Hamilton Police Service committed a criminal offence during his arrest of
a distraught individual during a domestic dispute last month.
    Mr. James Cornish, Director of the SIU, has concluded that " my
view, the arrest of this man was lawful, the use of force was justified and
that the force used was not unreasonable in the attempt to overcome the
resistance being offered."
    On April 17, 2008 at 8:55 p.m., three officers responded to a disturbance
call at an apartment on Queenston Road in Hamilton. A man, who initially
denied them entry, shouted through the door that he had a gun and would shoot.
He had also thrown objects from the fourth-floor balcony, including toilet
paper that he had lit on fire.
    Believing that a woman could be in the apartment and realizing that the
man was a potential danger to himself, officers pushed their way through the
door that had been barricaded by a couch and mattress, and entered the
darkened apartment with flashlights. In the effort to subdue the man, one of
the officers discharged his Taser weapon. Suddenly, the man caught on fire.
Officers, surprised by the fire, acted quickly to extinguish the flames by
pushing the man to the floor and patting out the flames. The man was treated
in hospital for burns to his leg, thigh and stomach area.
    Subsequent investigation revealed that the man had concealed a can of
hair spray in the waistband of his trousers and had placed knives placed
throughout the apartment in different locations. When the officer fired his
Taser, it inadvertently struck the aerosol can thus, unintentionally, igniting
the contents.
    "These officers were attending a volatile situation where a distraught
man was engaged in destructive and potentially dangerous behaviour. The man
was uttering threats to the officers in an attempt to keep them from entering
his apartment. They had ample justification to enter the man's apartment and,
indeed, could well have been the subject of criticism if they did not do so."

    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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