News Release

SIU Concludes Waterloo Custody Injury Investigation

Case Number: 06-OCI-060

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TORONTO (24 May, 2006) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has concluded there is no reasonable basis to believe that a Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) officer committed a criminal offence during an incident in which a 36-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest.

On April 12, 2006, WRPS officers were called to the Grand River Hospital by staff to assist in subduing an agitated psychiatric patient. An officer used a TASER device while attempting to subdue and restrain the man. Moments later, the man went into cardiac arrest. He was resuscitated and released from hospital on April 18th.

The SIU investigation determined that at about 5:15 p.m., hospital staff issued a code "white" broadcast after a man started acting in a dangerous and violent manner inside a hospital room. The WRPS was called for assistance and within minutes, two officers arrived. They consulted with hospital staff about the possible use of the TASER device, and then entered the room to restrain the man to allow hospital staff to sedate him.

The senior officer spoke calmly to the man to try and de-escalate the situation and calm the agitated man. The man assumed a boxer's stance and approached the officers, punching the air. On the third approach, an officer discharged his TASER. The man was struck and temporarily immobilized. He was handcuffed and a nurse administered a sedative. Within seconds of being hoisted and secured onto a gurney, the man became breathless. Medical staff immediately revived the man.

Director Cornish concluded the subject officer was acting in the course of his duty to preserve the peace and that his use of the TASER in the totality of the circumstances was reasonably necessary, and therefore justifiable. The Director stated, "Whether or not the TASER discharge had any effect in respect of the man's cardiac arrest was not explored by this investigation. What is clear is that the man's medical distress was not the result of any conduct on the part of the officer for which he should be held criminally liable."

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