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SIU says OPP officers won’t be charged for using anti-riot weapon in July incident

Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area in Ayr on July 17. 2023. (Provided by the SIU) Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area in Ayr on July 17. 2023. (Provided by the SIU)

Brant County OPP officers won’t face charges for firing an anti-riot weapon at a 46-year-old man, the Special Investigations Unit has decided after looking into the incident.

The SIU released details of the confrontation on Tuesday.

Early on the morning of July 17, staff at the Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area in Ayr called OPP about a man who was driving at “dangerous speeds” and refused to leave the property. The caller said the man claimed to be “borderline schizophrenic and paranoid,” and “the last time somebody found him on the road he went to the mental hospital and that was not happening that day.”

When he heard police arrive at the park, the man hid in a bush on the south side of the road near the entrance.

He stayed there for three hours while police surrounded the area and attempted to negotiate his surrender.

The man refused to come out, telling police he was on drugs, had a knife and wanted to commit suicide by police.

The OPP called in their Emergency Response Team (ERT) and paramedics.

According to the SIU, at around 4:40 p.m., the man “yelled that he was going to start a fire” and then did it. He also said “he had a knife, as well as other weapons, and that police would have to shoot him.”

Ten minutes later the man ran out of the bush and towards officers.

Police yelled at the man to stop and get on the ground, but didn’t comply.

Two conducted energy weapons were fired but didn’t hit the man.

The man was then hit twice, once in the leg and once in the ribs, with ARWEN (anti-riot) rounds.

He was taken into police custody and transported to Brant County Hospital.

After the incident, police found a backpack, personal items and papers belonging to man in the bush. The fire had burned some of them.

SIU Director Joseph Martino has determined that there are “no reasonable grounds to believe that the [officer] committed a criminal offence” in firing the ARWEN. He said the man was trespassing on the property, threatening the safety of both himself and officers. Martino concluded that the officers were legally justified and acted “sensibly” in using the weapon.

The SIU investigates all incidents involving police where there has been a death, serious injury, firearm discharged or allegation of sexual assault. Top Stories

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