No Evidence Police Caused Man’s Death at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre; SIU Discontinues Investigation
(17 August, 2021) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has terminated an investigation into the death of a man in custody last month.
On July 1, 2021, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) contacted the SIU to report that a man they had arrested had been admitted to hospital. The SIU initiated an investigation.
Earlier on July 1, 2021, the OPP and other first responders were called to a violent single vehicle motor crash at the Woodstock OnRoute Service Centre on Highway 401 in Oxford County.
The man was one of the occupants of the vehicle. Shortly after the crash, the man had removed bags from the site of the wreckage and fled. He was later located following a search by OPP officers and arrested without incident for leaving the scene of an accident.
The man was taken to hospital and released the following day to the custody of Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre staff. The following morning he was discovered without vital signs in his cell. He was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced deceased on July 6, 2021. His cause of death remains unknown at this time.
Based on the SIU’s preliminary inquiries, Director Martino determined there was patently nothing to investigate in relation to the potential criminal liability of any police officer in connection to the death. As such, Director Martino has discontinued the investigation.
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
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Kristy Denette, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES