Tag Archives: OPP

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.

Advertisements

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 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.


SIU Investigating Police-Involved Death of 59-Year-Old Man Near Peterborough (Jan. 1, 2018)

It is only the first day of 2018 and already someone in Canada is dead in connection with a police encounter. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Canada is investigating the death of a 59-year-old man in Douro Township, northeast of Peterborough. According to the SIU, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received a call about a man in some type of distress at a residence in Douro Township at around 3:15 PM in the afternoon of January 1, 2018. The only details released publicly at this time are that officers entered the residence and located the man and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Nothing has been said about the nature of the police interaction with the man. The SIU has assigned two investigators and two forensic investigators to this incident.


SIU Investigating Death of Man During OPP Encounter in Douglas (Dec. 6, 2017)

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating after a52-year-old man died of gunshot wounds during an interaction with officers of the Ontario Provincial Police in the village of Douglas. The SIU reports that police were called to a home in the village near Renfrew around 3 PM by someone concerned about a family member. At some point during the police encounter the man suffered a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


No Explanation Why Charges Against OPP Constable Mark McKillop Dropped in Killing of Debra Chrisjohn of Oneida Nation

No explanation has been given for why charges of criminal negligence causing death have been dropped against Constable Mark McKillop of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in the death of Debra Chrisjohn (39) of Oneida Nation of the Thames.

In a public statement Chrisjohn’s family said this about the dropping of charges: “The decision by the Crown… is hard for the family to understand. We hope that everyone who played a role will be held accountable.”

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province,  had charged two police officers with the death of Chrisjohn—Constable Nicholas Doering of the London Police Service (LPS) and OPP Constable McKillop. McKillop and Doering faced one charge each of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessities of life. Doering will still face those charges.

London Police Service officers responded to calls made to 911 during the late afternoon of September 7, 2016. Chrisjohn was arrested by LPS and transferred into the custody of Ontario Provincial Police with the Elgin County detachment.  At around 7:52 PM, Emergency Medical Services transported Chrisjohn to St. Thomas Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 8:43 PM.

Caitlyn Kasper, a lawyer at Aboriginal Legal Services and counsel for the family, noted that the family has still not been provided with basic details of the death of their loved one. Kasper explained in the public statement:

“Without knowing the specific details surrounding the death of Debra, it is difficult for the family to assess the decision by the office of the Crown attorney. However, we know that as this active prosecution moves towards preliminary inquiry or trial, more details will emerge. In the meantime, I certainly expect that the Ontario Provincial Police will be thoroughly reviewing the actions of Const. McKillop to determine if there were breaches of the Police Services Act.”


SIU Lets Off Cop in 2016 Police Chase Death of Teen, Despite High Speed, Possible Breaches of Police Services Act

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, has decided not to recommend charges against a Leeds OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) officer who was involved in a high speed chase in May 2016 that ended in a crash near Smith Falls that killed a teenager in May 2016.

According to the SIU, the officer, who has not been named publicly, saw a vehicle, a Hyundai, allegedly speeding  on County Road 17 and turned around to follow it. With the police pursuit the vehicle turned down a dirt road into trees, killing the 18-year-old male driver. A 16-year-old girl who was a passenger in the front seat was not seriously injured. The SIU report suggests that the speeding car was going 100 km on a stretch of road with speed limits varying between 50 km/h or 80 km/h when the officer saw it, and around 170 km/h when it left the road.

SIU director Tony Loparco, who has rather consistently sided with police officers and forces in cases of harm to civilian since assuming his position, did raise concerns about the officer’s speed, reporting that  the OPP vehicle reached 165 km/h, and about the fact that the officer did not immediately notify the dispatcher of the pursuit. According to Loparco, each of these may have constituted a breach of the Ontario Police Services Act.

Yet Loparco decided that the officer’s actions did not meet the bar either for dangerous driving or criminal negligence. In his words: “There is no evidence that the [officer’s] driving created a danger to other users of the roadway or that at any time he interfered with other traffic; additionally the environmental conditions were good and the roads were dry.”

This is a curious statement given that the teen driver was driving at speeds less than the officer reached at the time the officer began pursuit. So if even the officer’s higher speed and the road conditions did not pose a threat to the public, why pursue a joy riding teen driving at lower speeds under the same conditions?

Loparco went further, suggesting that there was no causal connection between the officer’s pursuit and the crash. In his words: “I am unable to establish that there was a causal connection between [the officer’s] actions…and the single-vehicle collision that caused the…death.” Yet the stated evidence appears to suggest the teen both sped up and turned off the road in response to the officer’s pursuit and the closing speed of that pursuit.

The SIU assigned eight investigators to the case. Once again it appears the state has protected the state.