Ontario SIU lays no charges against Thunder Bay Police Officers in 2010 death of a man

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The Ontario Special Investigation Unit (SIU) laid no charges against the Thunder Bay Police Officers in 2010 death of a man.

“The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that two Thunder Bay Police Service officers committed a criminal offence in connection with the death of a 50-year-old man in 2010,” SIU said in a statement.

The SIU launched an investigation on July 22, 2021, immediately after being notified by the Thunder Bay Police Service.

The case came to light following the release of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director’s Broken Trust review that detailed concerns about the Thunder Bay Police Service’s death investigations involving Indigenous persons.

The incident occurred in the early morning of April 1, 2010, officers went to the Royal Edward Arms apartment building following a call for an unwanted house guest. Officers spoke to the man, who was significantly inebriated, in the unit before he dressed and accompanied the officers outside.

The officers left the man on the sidewalk at about 2:10 a.m. Minutes later, the man collapsed. At that time, another officer driving a cruiser saw the man on the ground, stopped to help, and called an ambulance.

Paramedics provided medical care before the man was pronounced deceased at the scene at about 3:00 a.m. The autopsy attributed the man’s death to coronary artery disease.

“Director Martino was unable to reasonably conclude that either officer failed to comport themselves with due care and regard for the man’s health and wellbeing,” SIU said in its statement, adding that the officers were not aware that the man suffered from a heart condition and were without cause to believe he required immediate medical attention.

Director Martino said the officers were aware the man was very inebriated, but he appeared capable of caring for himself; he had dressed and was able to walk outside with the officers. The file has been closed.

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