No Charges Against Sault Ste. Marie Officer in Man’s Self-Inflicted Death
(30 May, 2022) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe a Sault Ste. Marie Police Service (SSMPS) officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the death of a 30-year-old man in January of 2021.
In the evening of January 23, 2021, SSMPS officers were dispatched to an apartment building on Albert Street following a call to police from the building manager reporting an unwanted male in the building lobby. The officers encountered the man inside the vestibule of the building and talked with him. He kept his right hand inside his coat pocket and declined to show his hand, explaining that his arm was broken. After approximately ten minutes of conversation, the blade of a knife became apparent inside the left front pocket of the man’s coat. By this time, the officers had been advised via their dispatch that the man was subject to a probation order term that he refrain from possessing knives. An officer advised the man that he was under arrest, but the man did not surrender. Efforts to persuade the man to disarm himself and show his right hand were to no avail. At some point, three officers deployed their conducted energy weapons at the man. As the man fell to the ground, his right hand came out of his pocket holding a knife, which he used to cut across the front of his neck. After a struggle, officers took control of the man and rendered first-aid pending the arrival of paramedics at the scene. The man was pronounced deceased at the hospital.
Director Martino concluded that no officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the man’s self-inflicted knife wound and death. As there was no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, the file has been closed.
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
Lisez ce communiqué en français.
Monica Hudon, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES