The director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, has abruptly and without full explanation announced that he is ending the investigation into an incident that left a 46-year-old man unconscious in a cell on December 5, 2017. The SIU reports that Toronto police arrested the man on the evening of Dec. 6, 2017, and put him in a cell at their division. According to the SIU, the man was found unresponsive in his cell four hours later and was taken to hospital. He was returned to police custody the following day.
In announcing the end of the investigation on January 30, 2018, the SIU said only that the man was not seriously injured, so the incident did not fall under the agency’s purview. This is a curious statement to say the least. No details have been released about the nature of the injuries so the public has no way of gauging their seriousness. In addition, something happened to the man related to his death in custody and that requires some explanation. Actions like this can only contribute to public questions about the role of the SIU and its closeness to police institutions in Ontario.