Investigation Completed into Man’s Death at Niagara Falls Escarpment
(5 January, 2024) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, found no reasonable grounds to believe a Niagara Parks Police Service officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the death of a 19-year-old man after he jumped into the Niagara River escarpment in Niagara Falls last September. As police officers briefly interacted with the man moments before he jumped, the SIU investigated.
On September 9, 2023, officers were searching for the man and located him after pinging his cellphone. An officer exited her cruiser and tried to speak to him, but the man ran a short distance away and jumped over the retaining wall. The officer yelled at him, as he ran away, to stop. The man was located without vital signs, and he was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Director Martino concluded that though the officer’s overtures might have been the final impetus for the complainant’s fateful act, that alone was far from enough to attract liability in this case. Given what the officer knew of his suicidal ideations, non-action in the moment might just as likely have risked harm coming to the man.
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