SIU Concludes Investigation into OPP Officers’ Shooting Death of Woman in Burk’s Falls
(23 August, 2022) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that two Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers committed a criminal offence in connection with fatally shooting a 38-year-old woman last August.
On August 5, 2021, OPP Almaguin Highlands Detachment officers went to a cottage in Burk’s Falls for a call about a disturbance. There, the officers came across the woman who swung a knife through the open driver’s door window of their cruiser. This was followed by the woman advancing towards an officer with the knife. The woman ignored repeated commands for her to drop the weapon. One officer fired his gun four times at the woman while at the same time the other officer shot his gun three times. The woman was struck four times and fell to the ground. The officers provided CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive. The woman was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Director Martino was satisfied that the officers acted reasonably when they sought to protect themselves from a potentially lethal attack with a resort to lethal force of their own, leaving no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.
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, email@example.com
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES