No Charges Against OPP Officer in Drowning Death of Man in Norfolk County’s Waterford Ponds
(12 November, 2021) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that an Ontario Provincial Police officer committed a criminal offence in the drowning death of a 42-year-old man in Waterford Ponds, Waterford last July.
In the evening of July 17, 2021, officers were called due to the man being in mental distress and behaving erratically. Officers were dispatched to locate and arrest the man on an outstanding warrant. As the officers approached, the man entered the Waterford Ponds and began to swim across. About halfway, the man began to struggle and call out for help. Despite the efforts of the officer and two civilians to rescue him, they could not locate him. Officers attempted to locate the man from aboard a rowboat for more than two hours to no avail. The man’s body was recovered the following day. The man’s cause of death was attributed to drowning.
Director Martino was satisfied that the officers comported themselves with due care for the man’s health and safety. He said it was apparent that the officers did nothing to contribute to the man’s death and much to attempt to prevent it. Accordingly, the file has been closed
Full Director’s Report (with Incident Narrative, Evidence, and Analysis & Director’s Decision):
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
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342