Use of ARWEN by Police Officer was Legally Justified; SIU Closes Burlington Investigation
(11 August, 2022) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that a Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the deployment of an Anti-riot Weapon Enfield (ARWEN) at a 30-year-old man in April.
In the afternoon of April 13, 2022, officers with the HRPS Tactical Rescue Unit were dispatched to a Burlington address to deal with a barricaded person situation. A man was locked inside the garden shed. Of concern was the fact that the man, in mental health crisis at the time, appeared to be in possession of a shovel, and had been the subject of a reported assault and break and enters that same afternoon. The officers took up positions within several metres of the shed, and a trained negotiator took the lead in attempting to speak with the man. The man told the officers they would have to shoot him. At one point, he managed to force open the shed doors and threw a tire iron at one of the officers. Shortly thereafter, the man confronted the officers holding a shovel in one hand and a garbage can lid in the other, which he used as a shield. One officer deployed his ARWEN at the man multiple times, and another officer discharged his conducted energy weapon at the man. The man was taken into custody. He did not suffer any serious injury.
As there was no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer comported himself other than lawfully in his dealings with the man, Director Martino determined 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
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Monica Hudon, email@example.com
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES