SIU probing fatal police-involved shooting at OPP detachment

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SIU probing fatal police-involved shooting at OPP detachment

Postby Thomas » Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:42 pm

SIU probing fatal police-involved shooting at OPP detachment in Morrisburg, Ont.

The province’s Special Investigations Unit says it has been called to investigate the shooting death of a man at the OPP detachment in the town of Morrisburg in eastern Ontario.

The SIU said that at around noon on Saturday, a man entered the OPP detachment on Fifth Street West in the town.

There was an “interaction” between the man and several OPP officers and one of the officers discharged a firearm, which struck the victim.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. The OPP told The Canadian Press that one of its officers was injured in the encounter and is receiving treatment.

Four investigators and three forensic investigators have been assigned to this incident, the SIU said.

Morrisburg is located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, south of Highway 401, approximately 43 kilometres west of Cornwall.

The SIU is called to investigate any interaction between an Ontario police officer and a member of the public that results in death, serious injury or an allegation of sexual assault.

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Family demands answers after fatal shooting at Morrisburg, O

Postby Thomas » Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:48 pm

Family demands answers after fatal shooting at Morrisburg, Ont., OPP detachment

Babak Saidi was the 'kindest, sweetest, most loving person,' sister says

An eastern Ontario family is demanding answers after a 43-year-old man died Saturday following a shooting at the Ontario Provincial Police detachment in Morrisburg, Ont.

Babak Saidi, who had schizophrenia, was required to check in weekly at the detachment after his 2014 conviction for assault and battery, his sister Elly Saidi told CBC News Saturday evening.

He had been visiting the detachment without any incident, she said — until this weekend, when his check-in went horribly wrong.

"My brother, he was the kindest, sweetest, most loving person," Elly Saidi said. "He had a mental disability, and we need to know how to deal with a person with mental disability."

Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, invoked its mandate following the fatal shooting Saturday afternoon.

Two shots

Babak Saidi departed for his Saturday morning rendezvous at the detachment with a tin full of freshly baked muffins.

The muffins were a Christmas gift for his father and a family friend who were picking him up from his farm near Cardinal, Ont., and bringing him into town.

They were also a sign, his sister said, that he was in a good mood.

Recounting her father's version of events, Elly Saidi said when they arrived at the police station, they were told to wait about 15 minutes. They went to do some grocery shopping, and when they came back, Babak Saidi got out of the car to go inside.

The next thing her father saw, she said, was her brother on the ground, with two officers on top of him.

Babak Saidi was taken into the detachment, she said, and then — within two minutes — her father heard two shots ring out.

'Sorry, your son is gone'

A police officer told her father and his friend to go wait at a nearby Tim Hortons, Elly Saidi said, and that someone would come by to explain what happened.

"They waited for a few hours, and then the police came," she said. "My dad asked the police, 'Where is my son?' And the police officer told my dad that, sorry, your son is gone."

Ten hours after the shooting, Elly Saidi said, that remained the only detail the family had been given about what happened inside the detachment — an absence of information that was "unacceptable."

"I have to be strong for my parents. It's very hard to see my mom and my dad crying and being heartbroken," she said.

"My mom was sitting in a corner of the room, hugging my brother's picture. And all she's saying is, 'I don't know what happened. I don't know where his body is.'"

Trying to rebuild life

Elly Saidi said her brother had been trying to rebuild his life at the time of his death, raising sheep and cattle on his farm just west of Morrisburg.

A worker with homeless youth in Ottawa, Saidi said she was speaking out because there had been too many recent incidents where interactions between police officers and people with mental health issues had turned violent — even deadly.

She also said she was certain her brother was unarmed.

"They have absolutely no tools and no awareness to deal with people with mental disability. Too many people with mental disabilities have died at the hands of the police," she said.

"They need to have education and awareness [of] how to deal with people with mental disability. And not [assume] they're all bad and a menace to society."

SIU investigating fatal 'interaction'

In its initial statement, the SIU said that a man entered the OPP detachment on Fifth Street West at around noon and ended up having an "interaction" with the officers there.

One of the officers fired a gun and hit the man, the SIU said.

The man, whom the SIU confirmed Sunday was indeed Babak Saidi, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem examination is scheduled to take place Wednesday in Ottawa, SIU spokeswoman Monica Hudon said.

In its own statement, the OPP said the man suffered fatal injuries after getting into an "altercation" with a Morrisburg police officer outside the detachment.

The officer was also being treated for "undetermined" injuries, police said.

Const. Tylor Copeland, a spokesman for the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry OPP, referred questions about the shooting to the SIU.

He did say that in more than a decade as an OPP officer, he hadn't heard of any shootings at the Morrisburg police station.

The officer who fired the weapon has not been named.

7 investigators on the case

The SIU probes incidents involving police and civilians that result in serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault.

Seven investigators have been assigned to the case, the SIU said.

The SIU said Sunday they would be interviewing the officer who is the subject of their investigation, as well as 10 officers who were witnesses.

Anyone with information can call the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529.

Morrisburg is approximately 80 kilometres south of Ottawa.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/fa ... -1.4463915
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Identity of man killed in OPP-involved shooting released

Postby Thomas » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:21 am

The province’s Special Investigations Unit has invoked its mandate to investigate an OPP-involved shooting death in Morrisburg on Saturday.

The SIU did not immediately provide details of the incident, however on Sunday they identified the man as Babak Saidi, 43, from Iroquois.

The investigative agency said one subject officer and 10 witness officers have been identified and will be interviewed as part of the investigation. A post-mortem is scheduled to happen in Ottawa on Wednesday.

In a news release late Saturday afternoon, the SIU said preliminary information indicated a man entered the OPP detachment at 6 Fifth Street W. at about noon.

“There was an interaction between the man and officers and one of the officers discharged a firearm,” the SIU release states.

“The man was struck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The agency dispatched four investigators and three forensic investigators to the incident.

The SIU asked that anyone with information contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529. Anyone with video is asked to upload it on the SIU website.

The SIU investigates incidents involving police and civilians that involve serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault.

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SIU investigating fatal shooting at OPP detachment

Postby Thomas » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:35 am

MORRISBURG (Staff) — The province’s Special Investigations Unit invoked its mandate to investigate an OPP shooting death in Morrisburg on the weekend.

The shooting occurred on Saturday, and a Postmedia report out of Ottawa on Sunday said the SIU did not immediately provide details of the incident, however it did identify the man killed as Babak Saidi, 43, of Iroquois.

The investigative agency said one subject officer and 10 witness officers have been identified and will be interviewed as part of the investigation. A post-mortem is scheduled to happen in Ottawa on Wednesday.

CBC News on Saturday afternoon reported that Saidi had schizophrenia, and that he was required to check in weekly at the Morrisburg OPP detachment after his 2014 conviction for assault and battery, according to his sister Elly Saidi.

“My brother, he was the kindest, sweetest, most loving person,’’ Elly Saidi told CBC News. “He had a mental disability, and we need to know how to deal with a person with mental disability.’’

Elly Saidi said her brother had been visiting the detachment without any incident until this weekend, when everything went horribly wrong.

Elly Saidi said that Babak was picked up for the trip to Morrisburg by his father and a friend, at his farm near Cardinal. Recounting her father’s version of events, Elly Saidi said that when they arrived at the police station in Morrisburg, they were told to wait about 15 minutes. They went to do some grocery shopping and when they came back, Babak Saidi got out of the car to go inside.

Elly Saidi told the CBC that the next thing her father saw was Babak on the ground, with two officers on top of him.

She said Babak was taken into the detachment, and within a couple of minutes her father heard two shots ring out.

Elly Saidi said that a police officer told her father and his friend to go and wait at a nearby Tim Hortons, and that someone would come by to explain what happened.

“They waited for a few hours, and then the police came,’’ she said. “My dad asked the police, ‘Where is my son?’ And the police officer told my dad that, sorry, your son is gone.’’

The Ontario Special Investigations Unit in a mid-afternoon tweet on Saturday said it was investigating a police-involved fatal shooting at the Morrisburg SDG OPP detachment.

About an hour later the OPP’s corporate communications office released a statement at 4:14 p.m. indicating that an OPP officer was involved in an altercation with an adult male outside the OPP detachment shortly after 11 a.m. on Saturday.

The news release said that preliminary information indicated a man entered the OPP detachment at 6 Fifth Street W. at about noon.

“There was an interaction between the man and officers and one of the officers discharged a firearm,’’ the SIU release stated. “The man was struck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.’’

The agency dispatched four investigators and three forensic investigators to the incident.

The SIU asked that anyone with information contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529. Anyone with video is asked to upload it on the SIU website.

The OPP statement on Saturday said the adult male sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, and that the officer involved was being treated for undetermined injuries.

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Re: SIU probing fatal police-involved shooting at OPP detach

Postby Thomas » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:40 pm

Babak Saidi was dropped off at OPP detachment for routine probation check-in — minutes later he was shot dead

Two days before Christmas, Babak Saidi’s father dropped off his schizophrenic son outside the Morrisburg OPP detachment for a routine probation check-in. Minutes later, the 43-year-old was shot and killed by an OPP officer.

The details of his killing have gone largely unexplained as the province’s police watchdog investigates the case.

And while Saidi’s family waits for answers, they’re calling for better training for officers who deal with the mentally ill.

Saidi had a lengthy criminal record that included a string of convictions for drug trafficking, dangerous driving and assault. He had been in and out of jail for most of his adult life.

Elly Saidi said her brother, who had been diagnosed with late onset schizophrenia and social paranoia, was trying to remake his life on a farm near Iroquois, Ont., at the time of his death.

“This is yet another shocking example of a lethal police response to an unarmed person with mental health disabilities,” Saidi said. “I want everyone to learn from this tragic experience.”

Babak Saidi’s death occurred less than two years after Abdirahman Abdi, 37, an immigrant from Somalia with mental health issues, died in a confrontation with Ottawa police. Const. Daniel Montsion has been charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. He’s to go on trial in February 2019.

Saidi’s death is being investigated by the provincial police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, which has assigned four investigators and three forensic specialists to the case.

A lone subject officer has been designated. That means that SIU investigators believe only one OPP officer fired the shots, or shot, that struck and killed Saidi.

That officer has not been publicly identified.

The circumstances of Saidi’s death remain unexplained. What is known is that Saidi’s 83-year-old father, Mehrab, dropped him off for his probation check-in late on the morning of Dec. 23. Moments later, Saidi had some kind of altercation with an officer outside the detachment and was shot. He was later pronounced dead on scene.

Mehrab Saidi heard “multiple gunshots” while in his car, Elly Saidi said, and was instructed by police to wait at a nearby coffee shop for more information. Hours later, he was told of his son’s death.

Saidi’s family remains in the dark about why his routine check-in at the police station suddenly turned deadly. “It would be good to get an explanation for what happened,” said Elly Saidi. “I don’t know what instigated it: Why this time was so different than every other time?”

Her brother, she said, had gone to the same OPP station more than 30 times — every week for nine months — without incident in 2017.

Elly Saidi is chief executive of United World Voices, a registered charity in Ottawa that works with homeless youth and vulnerable women. She said her brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia early last year after the family pushed to have him assessed by a psychiatrist as part of a court proceeding.

The family had long believed that his criminality was fuelled by mental illness, but had never been able to get him diagnosed.

“We told lawyers for many years he needs help,” she said. “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.”

Babak Saidi was born in Iran. His family, members of the persecuted Baha’i Faith community, fled the country while he was still a child after the Iranian revolution in 1979. They earned refugee status in Canada in 1985 and settled in Brockville.

Saidi went to Brockville Collegiate Institute, but struggled with attention deficit disorder and dropped out in Grade 10. He later developed a drug habit, which led him into the local drug trade.

He became a notorious figure in Brockville.

Saidi almost died in February 2000 when he was shot in the stomach by a man seeking revenge for an assault on his daughter. The shotgun blast peppered Saidi’s abdomen with 80 pellets and led to the removal of one of his kidneys.

Saidi was arrested in his hospital bed and charged with drug possession for the purpose of trafficking — cocaine and cash were found in his pockets — and assaulting a woman. He was sentenced to 22 months in jail for those offences.

Saidi felt harassed by the police. In one 2003 court hearing, a 29-year-old Saidi told a judge that police in Brockville “have been on my ass for 10 years.”

“They don’t like me and I don’t like them,” he told Ontario Court Justice Charles Anderson.

Elly Saidi said that while she doesn’t know what happened at the Morrisburg OPP detachment, she does know that 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,” she said. “The OPP resorted to a lethal response to an unarmed individual with mental disabilities.”

She said the family wants the OPP to introduce comprehensive, mandatory training programs to better equip officers to deal with the mentally ill.

“I know that things can escalate from zero to 100 in a few seconds with mentally ill people,” she said. “The police need to know how to deal with that, how to de-escalate and contain the situation.”

The OPP did not respond to a request for comment on that suggestion.

In November 2015, the OPP published a report, Our People, Our Communities, which highlighted the increasing importance of mental health issues in policing. It said the OPP experienced a 42 per cent increase in calls for service related to mental health issues between 2007 and 2013. The service now handles more than 12,000 such calls each year.

In 2016, the OPP introduced a mandatory, half-day training session on de-escalation techniques for all uniformed officers. Last year, front-line officers received another half-day of training on mental illness and de-escalation.

“While there is more to be done, important strides have been made,” OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes said recently. “This is, in large part, due to our members’ genuine desire to improve dealings with those who are going through a mental health crisis.”

Statistics compiled last year by Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director revealed that 142 people were fatally shot during interactions with police between January 1990 and December 2016.

“In many of these cases, the person shot by police was ‘in crisis,’” wrote police review director Gerry McNeilly in a March 2017 report.

That report reviewed recommendations made by 32 coroner’s inquests in Ontario during the past two decades and concluded: “Improved training for police officers focusing on identifying the symptoms of a person in crisis, containment, communication and de-escalation rather than the use of force has been recommended repeatedly.”

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