SIU files no charges against Durham police after Whitby man’s overdose in custody

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Published April 14, 2022 at 4:52 pm

SIU investigates after Brampton pedestrian struck by police car

Durham Regional Police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the rapid deterioration of a Whitby man’s health while in custody after the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) found no grounds for charges.

The man, age 33 and known as the Complainant in the SIU report, was detained on December 18. The man’s brother called 911 at 9:30 that morning to report the complainant had taken 40 prescription antipsychotic pills. The brother told 911 the complainant was suicidal, aggressive and swearing.

The complainant had a history of mental health struggles and was apprehended under the Mental Health Act on several occasions. He was unarmed at the time of the call, but was known to be violent. He no outstanding criminal charges.

After the brother’s 911 call, paramedics quickly responded, arriving before the police who would follow separately.

A DRPS officer, known as the Witness Official (WO), was dispatched around to a home near Garden Rd And Rossland Rd near the Durham Regional Headquarters around 9:45.

Shortly thereafter a second officer, the Subject Official (SO), joined the call and responded to the scene. The complainant was apprehended around 9:55 and was set to be rushed to Oshawa’s Lakeridge Health hospital.

The complainant was initially cooperative with paramedics getting on the stretcher himself. However he became combative, cursing at the paramedics and tearing the medical equipment monitoring his vitals from his body.

The SO cuffed the complainant at the front and rode along to Lakeridge Health. When they arrived at the hospital around 10:10 the complainant’s condition had crashed as a result of a drug overdose.

The man, unconscious and suffering an elevated heart rate, was placed in the hospital’s care. Eventually he suffered a cardiac arrest and had to be intubated and treated in the intensive care unit.

The SIU was informed a little after noon December 18 to investigate the officer’s actions. SIU Director Joseph Martino examined if the officer failed to provide the necessaries of life. Martino concluded, “detailing the Complainant’s suicidal ideation and his consumption of a large quantity of prescription medication, the SO had reasonable cause to be concerned that the Complainant was of unsound mind and a danger to himself.”

“The application of the handcuffs to the front of the Complainant, particularly in circumstances in which the Complainant was making it difficult for the paramedics to do their job, was a reasonable measure.” Martino said, “It should be noted that the handcuffs were secured without incident, and that there is no evidence to suggest the Complainant’s condition was in any fashion causally connected to his restraint in handcuffs.

Given these finding Martino decided there was no ground to charge the subject officer with an offence.

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