Category Archives: Ontario

Man Dies After Being Tased by Peel Police in Malton, Ontario (Sept. 10, 2019)

A 34-year-old man died after being tased by Peel police on September 10, 2019 in Malton, Ontario. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, reports that police officers responded to “a domestic call” at a home on Morning Star Drive near Cambrett Drive some time after 9 PM. The SIU claims that officers had “an interaction” with a man that “involved the use of a conducted energy weapon.” The man then “went vital signs absent” and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. No details have been provided publicly about the specifics of the call or the nature of the “interaction” police had that killed the man

The SIU report that five investigators and one forensic investigator have been assigned to the killing. Two subject officers and one witness officer are the focus of the investigation.

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Police Pursuit Ends with Death of 36-Year-Old in New Tecumseth, Ontario (Sept. 16, 2019)

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating a fatal collision in New Tecumseth (north of Toronto) resulting from a police pursuit on September 16, 2019. According to the SIU, an Ontario Provincial Police officer was operating a police vehicle in the New Tecumseth area at about 11:40 PM. The officer allegedly observed a Pontiac and began to follow the vehicle. No reason has been given publicly for why the officer took note of the vehicle or decided to pursue it.

At some point the Pontiac became involved in a collision with a Volkswagen in the area of 20th Sideroad and 5th Line. Two women in the Volkswagen, the 23-year-old driver and a 36-year-old passenger, were taken to hospital where the passenger was later pronounced dead. A woman who was a passenger in the Pontiac was also taken to hospital with injuries.

The SIU has assigned two investigators and two forensic investigators to this case. At time of writing one subject officer has been designated.


Kingston Police Shoot and Kill Evan Freeman (22) (Sept. 12, 2019)

Kingston police shot and killed 22-year-old Evan Freeman on the afternoon of September 12, 2019. Freeman was said, by witnesses, to be experiencing some mental health distress and harming himself when police killed him. He was both hit with a taser and shot by Kingston Police Department officers.

Police are not health care providers. A large proportion of people killed by police need health supports but are instead met with police violence.


52-Year-Old Man Dies after Arrest in Kingston, Ontario (July 23, 2019)

A 52-year-old man has died after being arrested at a Harvey’s restaurant in Kingston, Ontario on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is examining the death. According to the SIU, Kingston police responded to a call at around 1:30 PM regarding a man allegedly “behaving erratically” at the Harvey’s restaurant at Princess and Regent streets. When officers arrived, police claim they found the man in the restroom and took him into custody. The man was later taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No details have been released publicly about what “behaving erratically” meant, why police rather than health care experts were sent to the scene, or why the police arrested the man. No details have been provided either about what happened between the man being taken into custody and his later being transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police control all of this information and its means of release (or not).


Peterborough Police Shoot and Kill Billy Shea (27) with OPP Present (July 23, 2019)

Officers of the Peterborough Police Service and the Peterborough County OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) were involved in the shooting and killing of 27-year-old Billy Shea on July 23, 2019. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, reports that the shooting occurred during a standoff.

The SIU reports that around 8:30 PM, police began to follow a vehicle on Highway 115 believed to have been used in alleged robberies. They claim that the police pursuit ended with the Mustang colliding with another vehicle in the area of The Parkway and Sir Sandford Fleming Drive in Peterborough. Peterborough Police Service and Peterborough County OPP officers then allegedly became involved in an armed standoff with occupants in the vehicle they had been pursuing.

The SIU says that at around 9:40 PM one officer discharged his firearm and struck the individual, later identified as Billy Shea, killing him. The victim was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to the SIU, six investigators and three forensic investigators have been assigned to the case. At the time of posting, one subject officer from the Peterborough Police Service has been designated. In addition, five officers with Peterborough County OPP and seven officers with the Peterborough Police Service have been designated as witness officers.


Two Die Following Police Pursuit Near Ottawa (July 7, 2019)

Two people, a 36-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman have been killed in a six-car crash following a police pursuit on July 7, 2019 on Highway 417 near Ottawa. Officers of the Ottawa Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) had initiated pursuit of a vehicle driven by the 36-year-old victim.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU, the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario) reports that the crash incident was initiated with a call from a man reporting that his daughter had been abused by a family friend at a Kanata hotel. This means the identity of the alleged suspect was known and under Ontario rules a police pursuit should not have been undertaken (where a suspect’s identity is known).

The SIU has designated one Ottawa police officer as the subject of its investigation, and also identified three other “witness officers,” two of whom are OPP officers. The agency assigned three investigators, two forensic specialists, and a collision reconstruction expert to its investigation team.

According to Ottawa defence lawyer Lawrence Greenspon, the main job for the SIU is to determine why the pursuit was launched given the identity of the suspect was known to police. While rules govern when a suspect should be pursued, Greenspon notes that too often those regulations are not followed. He outlines the too regular script followed by police:

“Every time there’s a crash like this it’s the same story: ‘We started the pursuit and it was stopped before the fatal collision took place.’ The big question here that needs to be answered is: Why were they chasing him in the first place? If they knew his identity, why start chasing him?” (quoted in Duffy, Yogaretnam, Gillis, and Miller 2019).

In Ottawa, the police service’s policy “requires that officers only engage in a pursuit if they believe a crime has been committed and if there’s no alternative for apprehending a suspect who poses a threat to public safety” (Duffy, Yogaretnam, Gillis, and Miller 2019).

 

Further Reading

Duffy, Andrew, Shaamini Yogaretnam, Megan Gillis, and Jacquie Miller. 2019. “Updated — Highway 417 Crash: Vehicle Pursuit Stemmed from Sexual Assault Investigation.” Ottawa Citizen July 9. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/multi-vehicle-crash-closes-westbound-highway-417-at-panmure-road


Toronto Police Shoot and Kill 21-Year-Old Man in Scarborough (June 25, 2019)

Toronto police shot and killed a 21-year-old man in Scarborough on the evening of June 25, 2019. Reports claim that Toronto police were called around 8 PM for an incident at Midland Avenue and Midwest Road near Lawrence Avenue. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, reports that officers with the gangs and guns unit were present prior to the shooting. The circumstances that brought them there or their relationship to the police call have not been revealed publicly.

It has been reported that an officer opened fire on a vehicle with a driver and three others in it, striking the driver who later died in hospital.

The SIU has assigned five investigators and three forensic investigators to examine the killing.