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Police cleared in death of man on Manitoulin Island: SIU

Investigation launched in November 2020 after man died of self-inflicted gunshot wound
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The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that an Ontario Provincial Police officer committed a criminal offence in connection with a 43-year-old man’s death on Manitoulin Island in November 2020.

On Nov. 28, 2020, OPP responded to a home in Sucker Creek following a report of a man who had armed himself with a rifle during a domestic dispute with his partner and her son. A trained negotiator was brought in and made multiple attempts to reach the man. Officers later located the man in the home, where he had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Director Martino said he was satisfied that the subject officer and the other responding officers acted with due care and regard for the man’s health and welfare throughout the police operation despite being unable to prevent him taking his own life. Accordingly, Director Martino concluded there was no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file has been closed.

Full Director’s Report (with incident narrative, evidence, and analysis, and director’s decision) can be read here.

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must:
    •    consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
    •    depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
    •    publicly report the results of its investigations