News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Man’s Drug Overdose in Niagara Police Custody

Case Number: 23-OCI-397   

Mississauga, ON (24 January, 2024) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, found no reasonable grounds to believe a Niagara Regional Police Service officer committed a criminal offence in connection with a 36-year-old man who fell into medical distress while in a cell in Niagara Falls. On September 28, 2023, officers arrested the man on a warrant in relation to charges of break and enter. About 30 minutes after he was lodged in a cell, the man was found unresponsive. Paramedics were called, and a dose of naloxone was administered. The man was transported to hospital where it was discovered drugs were reportedly hidden in his rectum. Director Martino surmised that if the man been strip searched, the drugs may have been located but he did not believe the officers’ decision to not conduct one was unreasonable given he was not arrested on drug charges and he denied using drugs.
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

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

Monica Hudon,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES