Category Archives: SIU

SIU: Windsor Man Killed by Police Shot Multiple Times by Two Officers

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has confirmed publicly that the 33-year-old man killed by Windsor police was shot multiple times by two officers who discharged their firearms. In a public release, the SIU states that it has identified two subject officers and eight witness officers. Witnesses report that they heard five shots fired. The man was shot and killed on the morning of March 21, 2018. Ten SIU investigators have been assigned to the case.

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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.


Family of Gordon Couvrette Says They Warned North Bay Police of Heart Condition Before He was Tased and Killed

The family of Gordon Couvrette (43), who was tased and killed by North Bay police, disputes the police account of their activities. They also say they warned police that Couvrette had a heart condition and that tasing him could be fatal. This according to a report by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) which is investigating the killing. It is reported that Couvrette died of a heart attack.

Police claim they were called to the scene of a domestic incident early on the morning of February 22, 2018. A friend close to the Couvrette family, Emma Higgins, disputes that account of the situation. In her words, as reported by the SIU:

“He [Couvrette] woke up from sleep delirious from his bipolar medication and thought someone broke in so he started yelling trying to scare the ‘intruder’ protecting his girlfriend. She and her son told the cops that they can’t taze him he’s bipolar and on medication for it and his heart can’t take it and that he was doing no harm.”

Despite the words of those who knew and lived with Couvrette police moved to arrest the man. In the course of the arrest they used a taser.

What Higgins reports is additionally disturbing. She adds that not only did police tase him, but police “held him down and tazed him in the heart.”

Gordon Couvrette was taken to the North Bay Regional Health Centre where he was pronounced dead.

The SIU is still investigating the killing. They report that one subject officer and seven witness officers have been designated. The post-mortem took place February 23, 2018, in Sudbury.


SIU Investigating Death of Gordon Couvrette (43) During Police Encounter in North Bay (Feb. 22, 2018)

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating the death of 43-year-old Gordon Couverette during an encounter with police in North Bay on February 22, 2018. According to the SIU, Couverette went into medical distress after police allegedly responded to a domestic dispute early that morning. Couverette was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Four investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to the case.


SIU Investigating After Woman “Falls” from Roof During Encounter with Police

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating the death of a 28-year-old woman in Mississauga during an encounter with police on the afternoon of February 22, 2018. According to the SIU, the Peel Region Police were called to a townhouse complex at around 4 PM in response to a reported “woman in distress.” The SIU claim that a short time later the unidentified woman fell from the roof to the ground below. She was later pronounced dead in hospital. The SIU reports that four investigators and three forensic investigators have been assigned to this case. No further details have been released publicly.


Family of Joey Knapaysweet, Cree Youth Killed by Timmins Police, Releases Statement, Calls for Answers

Police in the small northern Ontario city of Timmins, shot and killed 21-year-old Joey Knapaysweet on February 3, 2018. In a context, as is true across Canada, in which police control information about their killings, few details have been provided publicly. Joey Knapaysweet was from the James Bay community of Fort Albany — more than an hour’s flight from Timmins. According to the family statement, he had gone to Timmins to “seek help in dreams for betterment of his life.” On Thursday, February 15, the family released a statement from Fort Albany saying they need answers about why police chose to kill their loved one.

Micheline Knapaysweet expresses her pain:  “I cannot sleep at nights, I need answers. This is my son, my child.” She asks further “What did he do that was so bad that he had to be shot and killed? I am so heartbroken, with so many questions unanswered.”

The Special Investigations Unit, the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario has only said: “There was an interaction between the man and officers, and one of the officers discharged a firearm. The man was struck. He was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.”

The police killing of Joey Knapaysweet occurred the same weekend as another Cree person from Fort Albany, 62-year-old Agnes Sutherland, died in custody of Timmins police. Their deaths through police interactions, happened as an all-white jury in Saskatchewan was about to acquit white farmer Gerald Stanley in the 2016 killing of a young Cree man, Colten Boushie. The Stanley trial and acquittal brought international attention to white supremacy, colonialism, and racism in Canada and Canadian criminal justice. The Stanley verdict sparked protests across the country against the mistreatment of Indigenous people throughout the justice system in Canada.

Might the deaths of Joey Knapaysweet and Agnes Sutherland spark further actions and calls for systemic transformation. In Timmins a vigil before the Stanley trial verdict brought out at least 100 people. Micheline Knapaysweet has made a dedication to wear a red scarf, Joey Knapaysweet’s favorite color, until the family receives need answers to their questions.


SIU Lets Off Brantford Officer For Role in Police Chase that Killed 94-Year-Old Woman

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in Canada, has let off a Brantford police officer for his involvement in a police chase that led to a collision that killed a 94-year-old woman and injured a 71-year-old passenger in November of 2016.

The officer turned on his cruiser’s lights and sirens in a an attempt to stop a Nissan after two men entered it from a house where an assault suspect was believed to be. Notably, the officer did not know one of the men was the suspect. In response to the officer’s actions the driver of the Nissan accelerated to try to get away, drove into an intersection, and collided head-on with a Honda, in which the two seniors were passengers. Investigators on scene later estimated that the Nissan was traveling 131 km/hr in a 50 km/hr zone before the collision.

The 94-year-old became unresponsive at the scene before paramedics arrived and was pronounced dead at hospital. The 71-year-old passenger suffered a broken sternum, a broken bone in her back, and two broken bones in her left hand.

The SIU reports that it was only after the driver was arrested that he realized it was the assault suspect. That raises questions about why the officer undertook the actions taken. As well it might have been assumed that the lights and sirens would provoke a response as the car was leaving a residence and it was not a routine traffic stop. The SIU did conclude that it was the officer’s actions that led to the collision but still decided to let him off.

Said SIU director Tony Loparco in his report: “I find that there is no evidence that the [officer’s] driving created a danger to other users of the roadway.” But clearly his actions did create a danger to others in the roadway as one person was left dead and another badly injured as a result. According to Loparco, the officer “was concerned that might cause a situation dangerous to the public.” Which it obviously did.