SIU Clear Cornwall Ontario Police After May 2013 St. Felix Street Warrant Execution Incident

SIU Clear Cornwall Ontario Police After May 2013 St. Felix Street Warrant Execution Incident

cwpolicecar2-250x97SIU Concludes Injury Investigation in Cornwall

Case Number: 13-OCI-124

Mississauga (1 August, 2013) — The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Cornwall Community Police Service officer with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 38-year-old man in May of 2013.

The SIU assigned three investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, nine witness officers and four civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer provided his notes but declined an interview with the SIU, as is his legal right.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Friday, May 31, 2013:
• In the evening hours, the subject officer, a member of the Emergency Response Team, was assisting in executing a warrant at a residence on Saint Felix Street. The officers had information that the residence’s principal occupant may have had an unregistered firearm. There was also concern regarding the presence of a Pit Bull terrier dog.
• The subject officer was the second officer in the line of officers to forcibly enter the residence. His job was to deploy a distraction device which makes a very loud bang and emits an extremely bright light for a short duration.  He threw the distraction device and it detonated as a man (an occupant in the house but not the target of the search warrant) was walking toward the officers.  The device exploded near the man’s abdomen causing a deep laceration.
• The man was taken to hospital for treatment.

Director Scott said, “The subject officer was assisting in executing a valid search warrant. Therefore, he had the lawful authority to enter the residence and use reasonable force in its execution. Given the prior knowledge of a firearm and potentially vicious dog, in my view, it was a reasonable option to deploy a distraction device. Unfortunately, the complainant sustained a serious injury as a result of its deployment. On the basis of this investigation, it would appear that his injuries were likely the result of an accident as opposed to an intentional attempt to injure him. Accordingly, no criminal liability may attach to the actions of the subject officer.”

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General.

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