The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating the death of a man who was tased by Toronto police after allegedly setting himself on fire. According to the SIU, Toronto police went to the intersection at Dundas Street East and Church Street at 8:43 AM after reports of a man pouring some type of accelerant on himself and setting himself on fire. The SIU report that police officers attended a nearby convenience store and had “an interaction which included deployment of a conducted energy weapon.” The man was then taken into custody. The victim was transported to St. Michael’s Hospital for treatment and later died there.
The SIU has assigned two investigators and two forensic investigators to examine the circumstances involved in the man’s death.
No other details have been released publicly. It has not been explained why police decided to tase someone who may have needed immediate medical assistance and appeared to have been in distress. This is another example of why police should not be deployed to respond to people in health crisis or distress.