More than a year later, the province’s Special Investigations Unit has cleared police in Lindsay of any wrongdoing in a man’s drowning.
The SIU launched an investigation on Sept. 17, 2018, after reports a man had fled from Kawartha Lakes Police Service officers and drowned in the Scugog River on Sept. 16, 2018.
The subsequent SIU investigation determined that around 6:35 p.m. on Sept. 16, officers responded to reports of a man “acting strangely” at an apartment building on Colborne St. W. in Lindsay near the bank of the Scugog River.
In his report, SIU interim director Joseph Martino said the 34-year-old man was found lying under some bushes near the water. Police determined the man was wanted on several outstanding warrants at the time, Martino said.
However, the SIU says when officers approached, the man ran into the river and disappeared. One witness told SIU investigators that the man attempted to swim across the river but did not see him exit the water.
SIU, Peel police investigating shooting in Brampton that left 1 dead, 1 seriously injured
A search of the river ensued, and on Sept. 17, police advised the SIU that OPP divers had recovered the man’s body around 3:20 p.m.
The victim’s name was not released.
The SIU interviewed nine civilian witnesses and four witness officers as part of the investigation.
A post-mortem examination on Dec. 14, 2018, identified evidence of “recent use” of fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis products.
“The pathologist determined the drug intoxication was a contributory factor to the complainant’s death, given the likelihood of impairment to the complainant’s judgment, his coordination and his swimming ability,” stated Martino.
The pathologist at the complainant’s post-mortem examination attributed his death to “drowning in a man with mixed drug intoxication,” Martino stated.
Martino concluded that the officers did their due diligence at the scene, including using a civilian’s boat to search the river and summon paramedics and firefighters to assist in the search.
“To those who might suggest that the officers should have entered the river to attempt a rescue, it would be asking too much, in my view, to have expected the officers to adopt that course of action,” Martino concluded.
“By the time they realized the complainant was in the river, the complainant had submerged for the last time and could not be seen. By all accounts, the water in the area was murky and any effort to swim into the river to locate him would likely have proved futile and fraught with danger.
“On this record, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the officers who responded to the scene, attempted to locate the complainant, and endeavoured with other first responders to rescue him from the river exercised a level of care in so doing that fell well within the limits prescribed by the criminal law. Accordingly, there are no grounds for proceeding with charges in this case and the file is closed.”
SIU investigates fatal shooting of man wanted on Canada-wide arrest warrant in Peterborough
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Latest posts by Global News (see all)
- Convicted murderer William Sandeson’s appeal hearing to get underway Monday – Halifax - January 19, 2020
- Canopy Growth delaying launch of cannabis-infused beverages - January 17, 2020
- Cannabis edibles arrive on Alberta store shelves Monday - January 13, 2020