News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Death of Ottawa Man

Case Number: 06-OCD-129

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TORONTO (10 November, 2006) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), James Cornish, has concluded that no Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officer is criminally responsible for the death of 65-year-old Carmello Crupi.

On July 27, 2006, Mr. Crupi was arrested in his home. Shortly afterwards, he started to have trouble breathing and fell unconscious. Mr. Crupi was transported to Ottawa General Hospital where he died.

Five SIU investigators were assigned to investigate the nature and extent of police involvement in the circumstances surrounding Mr. Crupi's death. The investigation determined that at approximately 12:43 a.m. on July 27th, two OPS officers responded to a domestic dispute call at a home on Cloutier Street. The officers arrived and found numerous family members inside the home. They told the officers that Mr. Crupi had struck his wife and the officers could see an injury under Mrs. Crupi's eye.

The officers told Mr. Crupi he was under arrest for domestic assault and attempted to handcuff him. Mr. Crupi resisted, yelling that it was his son who should be arrested. There was a brief struggle that ended when the officers handcuffed Mr. Crupi's arms behind his back and sat him on a bench by the front door. Mr. Crupi started to complain that he had a heart condition and family members also became agitated and asked the officers to remove the handcuffs. Mr. Crupi began to breathe heavily and continued to complain he was ill. One of the officers called the police dispatcher for an ambulance.

Three officers heard the call over the police radio and arrived at the home around 1:00 a.m. to assist. They saw that Mr. Crupi was sitting upright with his eyes open, talking and breathing heavily. The officers told family members that the handcuffs would not have an effect on Mr. Crupi's breathing and that an ambulance was on its way.

One of the arresting officers was briefing the sergeant outside the front door when Mr. Crupi collapsed on the floor. Officers removed Mr. Crupi's handcuffs and began CPR. An officer also set up a defibrillator but did not end up using it as the device indicated that it should not be applied. The officers continued CPR on Mr. Crupi until the paramedics arrived. By the time he arrived at the hospital, Mr. Crupi was unconscious and he was pronounced dead a short time later.

The investigation determined that Mr. Crupi had significant coronary health problems.

Having reviewed all the available evidence, Director Cornish concluded that the officers' actions did not constitute a breach of the standard of care imposed upon them by the criminal law. He stated, "When the officers arrested Mr. Crupi he put up a bit of a struggle although not a significant one. The officers handcuffed Mr. Crupi but used no more force than was necessary; indeed they appear to have been measured in the amount of force they did use adjusting it for Mr. Crupi's age and the apparent state of health. They were unaware of the extent of the medical distress that Mr. Crupi either was in or was about to be in. Unfortunately none of the lifesaving efforts worked and Mr. Crupi died."

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
  • publicly report the results of its investigations
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342