SIU clears officers in death of man who fled traffic stop

When police officers are involved in incidents where someone has been seriously injured, dies or alleges sexual assault, the Special Investigations Unit has the statutory mandate to conduct independent investigations to determine whether a criminal offence took place.

SIU clears officers in death of man who fled traffic stop

Postby Thomas » Tue Nov 29, 2022 2:47 pm

Died of unknown causes after failing breathalyzer test and being handcuffed

Ontario's police watchdog says there are no grounds to charge three Ontario Provincial Police officers in the death of a 66-year-old man who fled a traffic stop near Long Sault, Ont., this summer.

According to Saturday's release from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the man sped away from the officers in his pickup truck on the afternoon of July 22, 2022, after failing a breathalyzer test during a stop on Highway 401 at the Moulinette Road exit.

As the man took off, one officer's hand was still stuck in the pickup truck's door handle, causing him to be dragged a short distance, the SIU said.

Two of the officers initially pursued the man onto County Road 29 at speeds between 120 and 190 km/h, but they were always roughly a half-minute behind him, according to the SIU.

They headed north onto County Road 12 and then west on Eamon Road, where a sergeant monitoring the chase ordered it be called off. The man then failed to make a right-hand turn at the intersection with Gravel Pit Road, veering off into a cornfield before crashing into a ditch.

About 15 minutes later, the two officers involved in the chase, plus a third officer, arrived on scene to arrest the man, but he refused to get out of the truck, the SIU said.

When they pulled him out, he continued resisting arrest — even after being handcuffed — and then began to struggle with his breathing, the SIU said.

The cuffs were taken off, but the man became unresponsive. Officers performed CPR, but after paramedics arrived the man was declared dead at the scene.

The cause of the man's death still remains unclear four months later, the SIU said.

Force used was 'legally justified'

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates interactions with police officers that lead to death, serious injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

In his findings, SIU director Joseph Martino said the force used by the officers to pull the man from his truck and restrain him on the ground was "legally justified" and it did not appear the man had been hit by the officers.

Martino said the vehicles' speeds during the first part of the chase were dangerous, but the pursuit occurred in daylight on "sparsely populated rural roads" and the officers were never too close to the man's truck.

"Though it remains unclear how or why the [man] died, I am satisfied that his death is not attributable to criminal conduct on the part of the officers," Martino concluded in his report.

The officers involved refused to be interviewed for the investigation and did not provide their notes, as is their legal right.

Long Sault is approximately 100 kilometres southeast of Ottawa.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/s ... -1.6657852
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SIU clears OPP officers in man's death after fleeing Long Sa

Postby Thomas » Tue Nov 29, 2022 2:49 pm

SIU clears OPP officers in man's death after fleeing Long Sault, Ont. RIDE checkpoint

Ontario's police watchdog has cleared three Ontario Provincial Police officers of wrongdoing in the death of a 66-year-old man, who fled a RIDE check near Long Sault, Ont. last summer.

The Special Investigations Unit says while the man's cause of death remains under investigation, Director Joseph Martino is "reasonably satisfied" the man's death was "not attributable to criminal conduct" on the part of the officers involved and there is no grounds to charge the officers.

On July 22, police were conducting a RIDE program on the Hwy. 401 westbound off-ramp at Moulinette Road, about 20 kilometres west of Cornwall.

The SIU says the driver of a vehicle failed a breath test while at the RIDE checkpoint, but fled the scene while being advised of his arrest by officers. Officers pursued the man's vehicle briefly, with one officer speeding 188 km/h, but called off the pursuit, according to the SIU.

"The man continued to flee until he failed to negotiate a right hand turn from Eamon Road to Gravel Pit Road and entered a corn field. Officers later located the man in the truck in the field," the SIU said in a statement on Saturday, adding officers driving to the suspect's home discovered a "fresh gap" in a cornfield and followed it to the vehicle.

"One of the officers ordered the man to get down on the ground. He refused and resisted as three officers removed him. The man was unsteady on his feet and fell to the ground. He continued to resist on the ground and was handcuffed."

The SIU says that within moments of his arrest, the man struggled to breathe.

"Officers uncuffed him and placed him in the recovery position. Shortly after, the man became unresponsive and officers provided medical care."

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

In his report, Director Martino said he is satisfied it was "legally justified" for officers to use force in extricating the complainant from his vehicle and placing him in handcuffs.

"The evidence indicates that some force was used in removing the Complainant from the pick-up truck, but this was made necessary when he did not exit of his own volition and then held onto the steering wheel refusing to let go," Martino said. "A level of force was again necessary when the Complainant resisted the officers’ efforts on the ground. In neither case does it appear that strikes of any kind were used; the officers simply used their superior manpower to wrestle control of the Complainant."

Martino does raise concerns about the police pursuit, including the speeds at which the officers travelled and the "failure to completely disengage once ordered to discontinue the pursuit", but notes they were travelling on "sparsely populated rural roads" and the weather was sunny.

"It is also important to note that both officers were a fair distance behind the pick-up truck throughout their active engagement and cannot be said to have recklessly pushed the Complainant," Martino wrote.

"He was at all times able to alter his driving had he been so inclined. Nor am I persuaded that the officers acted unreasonably in commencing the pursuit. They had grounds to believe that the Complainant had committed a criminal offence with respect to his failed breathalyzer test and his dangerous flight from the RIDE program."

Martino says he is satisfied the death is not linked to criminal conduct on the part of the officers, and the file is closed.

"Though it remains unclear how or why the Complainant died, I am satisfied that his death is not attributable to criminal conduct on the part of the officers. As such, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges. The file is closed."

https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/siu-clears-op ... -1.6160545
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OPP officers cleared in death of man following chase near Lo

Postby Thomas » Tue Nov 29, 2022 2:51 pm

OPP officers cleared in death of man following chase near Long Sault

The cause of death remains undetermined.

The province’s police watchdog says it has found no reasonable grounds to believe three Ontario Provincial Police officers committed any criminal offence in connection with the death of a 66-year-old man following a police chase and crash into a corn field near Long Sault on July 22.

According to the Special Investigations Unit report, the incident occurred after the victim failed a breathalyzer at a RIDE check on Highway 401 near Moulinette Road.

While police from the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry OPP detachment were reading him his rights, the man fled in his truck.

One officer’s hands was stuck in the door handle and he was dragged “a short distance.”

A pursuit ensued until the driver missed a right turn from Eamon Road to another secondary road and crashed into the corn field.

Police located the man and ordered him to the ground. He resisted as the three officers removed him from the vehicle.

The SIU reported the suspect was unsteady on his feet and fell to the ground, where he was handcuffed.

“Within moments of his arrest, the man struggled to breathe,” the SIU reported in a release.

“Officers uncuffed him and placed him in the recovery position,” the report said.

“Shortly after, the man became unresponsive and officers provided medical care,” the report added.

“The man was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

While the precise cause of death remains unknown, SIU director Joseph Martino “was reasonably satisfied that the man’s death was not attributable to criminal conduct on the part of the officers involved.”

The SIU said the file had been closed.

https://ottawasun.com/news/local-news/s ... bf143308cb
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