Category Archives: OPP

Man Dies in Fall from Highway During Police Encounter in Toronto (Sept. 18, 2018)

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 fell from a raised lane on Highway 401 in Toronto during an encounter with an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer. According to the SIU, OPP responded to a pedestrian on the eastbound collector lanes of Highway 401 near Yonge Street at about 1:55 AM, Tuesday, September 18, 2018. The SIU claim the man ran away after the officer spoke with him. He allegedly fell through a separation between the highway’s collector and express lanes to the ground below. The man was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:55 AM.

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Police Shoot and Kill 32-Year-Old Man in Burlington, Ontario (Sept. 22, 2018)

Police shot and killed a 32-year-old man in Burlington, Ontario early in the morning of Saturday, September 22, 2018. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, has reported that four Halton Regional Police officers and one Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer were involved in the killing.

According to the SIU, the events leading to the killing started with police looking for someone involved in a vehicular collision. At around 5:30, the SIU reports, police received a call about someone acting suspiciously in a gas station bathroom. No details have been released about what that could mean or why someone would place a call to police about it. When the man exited the bathroom he was shot and killed by police.

Police claim there was a “shootout,” but as we have seen in other cases of police killings of civilians a claim of a shootout is made initially even where multiple police alone are the shooters. In the killing of Hudson Brooks in Surrey, British Columbia, initial police reports suggested a shootout had occurred when an officer was injured. It turned out that only officers had weapons on site and the shooting was police inflicted.

Few details have been released at this point. None of the police claims have been independently confirmed publicly. It has not been confirmed publicly that the man killed had anything to do with the collision that police were supposedly investigating initially.


Man Dies Following Arrest by Ontario Provincial Police in Bolton, Ontario (July 23, 2018)

A 43-year-old man has died following arrest by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers in Bolton, Ontario, Monday, July 23, 2018.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, reports that police responded to calls made to 911 at around 1:45 PM regarding a man in a vehicle in a business parking lot in the community northwest of Toronto. According to the SIU, OPP officers from the Caledon detachment found the man and arrested him. At some point they then called for paramedics. The man, who has not been identified publicly, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 4:30 PM. No further details, including the cause of death have been released publicly. The reported details have not been independently confirmed publicly.


OPP-Involved Collision Kills 88-Year-Old Woman in Napanee: SIU Investigating (Mar. 6, 2018)

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating a collision in Napanee that resulted in the death of an 88-year-old woman and serious injuries to a 42-year-old man.

The SIU has reported that the Ontario Provincial Police was made aware of an SUV traveling at a high rate of speed on Bridge Street through the town of Napanee at around 3:30 PM on March 6, 2018. Officers apparently attempted to stop the SUV and on County Road 2, east of Barker Side Road, the SUV became involved in a collision with another vehicle. The driver of that vehicle, an 88-year-old woman, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the SUV was transported to hospital with a serious injury.

The SIU has assigned five investigators, four forensic investigators, and one collision reconstructionist to examine this incident.


Lone Subject Officer Designated in Police Killing of Babak Saidi (43) Outside OPP Detachment on Dec. 23, 2017

Babak Saidi was shot and killed by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) outside their Morrisburg detachment only minutes after his father dropped him off for a scheduled probation check-in on December 23, 2017. While little has been reported publicly about the details of the killing, as it rarely is in cases of police killings in Canada, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has designates a lone subject officer in their investigation. This means they believe that a sole officer fired the shot(s) that struck and killed Babak Saidi that day. As is unfortunately the standard practice in Canada the officer responsible for the killing has not been identified publicly. Saidi’s killing is being investigated by the provincial police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, which has assigned four investigators and three forensic specialists to the case.

The 43-year-old Saidi, whose was born in Iran but came to Canada as a refugee with his family, had been diagnosed with late onset schizophrenia and social paranoia according to his family. They are looking for answers and for mechanisms to address the ongoing use of violence by police toward people experiencing mental health issues.

In the words of Babak Saidi’s sister, Elly Saidi:  “This is yet another shocking example of a lethal police response to an unarmed person with mental health disabilities. I want everyone to learn from this tragic experience” (quoted in Duffy 2018).

Babak Saidi had gone to the same OPP station more than 30 times — every week for nine months — in 2017. Elly Saidi says that the family remains very much in the dark about why his routine check-in at the police station so quickly turned deadly. In her words “It would be good to get an explanation for what happened. I don’t know what instigated it: Why this time was so different than every other time?” (quoted in Duffy 2018).

Saidi’s father, Mehrab Saidi (83), has reported hearing “multiple gunshots” while in his car, moments after dropping off his son at the detachment. He has also said that he was instructed by police to wait at a nearby coffee shop for more information and was only notified of his sons death hours later.

Elly Saidi is chief executive of United World Voices, a registered charity in Ottawa that works with homeless youth and vulnerable women. She says her brother was only diagnosed with schizophrenia early in 2017 as the family had not been able to get a diagnosis for him. In her words: “We told lawyers for many years he needs help. Like a lot of people in his position, they fall through the cracks. He should have been assessed and treated much earlier. We knew there was something wrong with him, but it was hard to get anyone to listen. That’s the frustrating part” (quoted in Duffy 2018).

In the view of Elly Saidi her brother should not have died in the encounter:

“What is beyond doubt is that OPP members involved in this tragedy were unable to peacefully de-escalate this situation. The OPP resorted to a lethal response to an unarmed individual with mental disabilities. I know that things can escalate from zero to 100 in a few seconds with mentally ill people. The police need to know how to deal with that, how to de-escalate and contain the situation.” (quoted in Duffy 2018)

 

Interestingly, Babak Saidi had publicly reported feeling harassed by local police in Brockville, Ontario, where he lived. During a 2003 court hearing, Saidi, then 29, told a judge that police in Brockville “have been on my ass for 10 years” (quoted in Duffy 2018). He continued, telling Ontario Court Justice Charles Anderson : “They don’t like me and I don’t like them” (quoted in Duffy 2018).

In 2017 Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director compiled records showing that 142 people were fatally shot during interactions with police between January 1990 and December 2016 (Duffy 2018). Calls for de-escalation training have been made repeatedly in studies and reviews on police violence and mental health with no meaningful improvements. At the end of the day police remain the unaccountable monopoly on violence acting with impunity in communities.

 

Further Reading

Duffy, Andrew. 2018. “Babak Saidi was Dropped off at OPP Detachment for Routine Check-In—Minutes Later He was Shot Dead.” Ottawa Citizen January 31. http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/babak-saidi-was-dropped-off-at-opp-detachment-for-routine-probation-check-in-minutes-later-he-was-shot-dead


SIU Lets Off OPP Cop Who Killed 45-Year-Old Man in Nipigon in 2016

On January 11, 2018, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, released the decision of its investigation into the fatal police shooting of a 45-year-old Nipigon man by a Ontario Provincial Police officer in November of 2016. The SIU has concluded that no charges be laid. This is the too typical outcome of SIU investigations.

According to the SIU report, police were called to a Nipigon residence at around 6:59 PM on November 26, 2016. They report that a woman wanted a man removed from her home as he had allegedly been drinking and was being verbally aggressive with neighbors.

Two OPP officers attended the residence and met the woman on the street. The SIU reports that police claim that when they arrived on the front lawn of the Nipigon home, the 45-year-old man allegedly came out of the house holding a kitchen knife in his right hand down by his side (not in a threatening manner). An OPP officer took the decision to deploy a taser on the man.

Once the man was tasered, officers allege he “winced in pain and stepped back into the house” before stepping outside again. This time it is claimed that the man held the knife pointed forward but parallel to the ground. An OPP officer then shot and killed the man.

According to the SIU, officers called Emergency Medical Services at about 7:17 PM. EMS officials recorded that the victim had no heart beat or heart activity during his transport to the hospital. He was pronounced dead soon after. The SIU report listed the cause of death as a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.


SIU Investigating Death of Woman in Tichborne, Ontario, After Police Contact (Jan. 13, 2018)

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating after a 49-year-old woman was found dead in her home in Tichborne, Ontario, near Kingston. According to the SIU, the woman’s body was discovered at around 5:30 AM on the morning of Saturday, January 13, 2018.

Provincial police had had an earlier encounter with the woman when they came across what they described as a suspicious vehicle parked near Tichborne. The SIU report that the woman was found alive outside the vehicle, while the driver had allegedly fled on foot. According to the SIU, police took the woman back to her home and left. Four hours later emergency responders were called to the home where the woman was found dead. No other details have been provided publicly. It has not been reported publicly how the woman died or why police found the vehicle to be suspicious.

Tichborne, Ontario, is approximately 130 kilometers southwest of Ottawa.