News Release

SIU Concludes Custody Death Investigation in Windsor

Case Number: 06-OCD-055

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SIU Investigates Custody Death in Windsor

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TORONTO (20 June, 2006) --- James Cornish, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe that two Windsor Police Service (WPS) officers committed a criminal offence in relation to the death of Bryan Dukic.

Mr. Dukic, 42 years of age, died on April 5, 2006, after a struggle with the two WPS officers at the rear of 3125 Russell Street in Windsor.

Six SIU investigators, including three forensic identification technicians, investigated the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Dukic. The SIU probe determined that at about 6:20 p.m. on April 5, 2006, two officers were patrolling when they noticed a Dodge Caravan leaving the parking lot of Hurricanes Roadhouse. The officers recognized the van and followed it as it drove through a field and came to a stop at the rear of 3125 Russell Street. They approached the van and identified the driver, Mr. Dukic, as a disqualified driver. At about 6:35 p.m., the police told Mr. Dukic he was under arrest and would be taken into custody. An escort wagon was called at 6:48 p.m. to transport Mr. Dukic to the station.

When both officers moved in to take physical custody of Mr. Dukic, he fled into a field near the apartment buildings. The officers quickly caught up to Mr. Dukic. He resisted the officers' commands, flailed his arms, and struck out at one officer several times.

Both officers took Mr. Dukic down to the grass. Mr. Dukic continued to resist while on the ground, lying in a prone position by kicking out his legs. Mr. Dukic did not surrender his arms from underneath his torso and the officers were unable to handcuff him. In an effort to gain control, one officer struck Mr. Dukic 4 or 5 times in the area of his head and the other officer followed with a knee strike to Mr. Dukic's rib area. At about 6:50 p.m., Mr. Dukic was successfully handcuffed.

Mr. Dukic started complaining that he had trouble breathing around the time the escort wagon arrived, which was at 7:04 p.m. As a result, the police called for an ambulance and put Mr. Dukic in the recovery position until the paramedics arrived. When the paramedics arrived, they realized he was in serious medical distress. Mr. Dukic was transported to Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital where he died as the result of bleeding from a ruptured spleen.

The post mortem examination conducted the following day determined Mr. Dukic also suffered from a pre-existing medical condition relating to his spleen.

Upon review of the investigation, Director Cornish concluded there were no reasonable grounds to believe that either subject officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the arrest of Mr. Dukic and his subsequent death. The Director stated, "The overriding weight of the evidence, including that provided by the preponderance of the independent civilian witnesses, is that Mr. Dukic resisted the officers' efforts to arrest him and while on the ground, was punched by one of the officers and kneed by the other. I am satisfied that the use of force described by the officers was reasonably necessary in the circumstances to secure Mr. Dukic's arrest and, therefore, legally justified. It is indeed tragic that Mr. Dukic fell into medical distress and died shortly after his arrest."

He continued, "The officers acted with due diligence as soon as it became apparent that Mr. Dukic required medical attention, given what they knew and did not know at the time. As laypersons, they could not have known beforehand that Mr. Dukic had sustained a life-threatening internal injury requiring immediate medical care."

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