Toronto officer cleared in Oshawa shooting


Published November 17, 2022 at 6:31 pm

Ontario’s police watchdog has found a Toronto police officer was in the right to shoot a man during a police raid in Oshawa in the summer.

The Special Investigations Unit, which investigates interactions with police resulting in death or injury, released its report exonerating the officer on November 17.

Months prior, on July 20, Toronto Police Service raided a home on Simcoe St. and Windfield Farms Dr. in the city’s northern reaches. The officers rolled up around 6 a.m. to search the home.

The man who was later shot, dubbed the Complainant in the SIU report, was staying at the home as a guest. He was among a group of friends staying over at the home.

One of these friends was the object of the police raid. He was wanted in connection to a murder committed the month before.

The police raiding party consisted of members of the Emergency Task Force (ETF), the Toronto police tactical unit. The service brought in the ETF because of suspicions the group was armed.

The ETF’s goal was therefore to detain the group quickly and ensure the home was safe for following homicide detectives. To accomplish this goal the ETF employed a “dynamic entry.” Essentially the officer broke down the door, launched flashbangs and used “overwhelming force” to “neutralize possible threats.”

When the ETF officers entered the home, the Complainant spotted them with their weapons drawn and attempted to flee. The complainant was on a second-floor balcony as the officers stormed the place.

He scaled the balcony railing, and briefly hung off the outside. He then dropped to the ground “in a controlled fashion.” The Complainant was armed with two semi-automatic pistols at the time.

The officer who would shoot the complainant, dubbed the Subject Officer (SO) in the report, waited behind the home with fellow officers to ensure no one escaped the house.

The SO was walking up to the rear of the house when he saw the complainant hanging from the railing. The SO ran to the Complainant and screamed at him to drop his weapon once he had landed.

Moments later the SO fired two rounds at the Complainant, one of which hit its target. The bullet went straight through the Complainant’s right thigh and he collapsed to the ground. The missed round went through a downspout on the side of the house.

A tactical paramedic team was on sight with the officers. They treated the Complainant’s bullet wound and took him to hospital. Two 9 mm pistols were found on the ground where he had collapsed. One was a Glock, though the other was of unknown make. Both were loaded.

The SIU was soon informed of the shooting and launched an investigation. Some months later SIU Director Joseph Martino concluded there was no ground to criminally charge the SO.

Martino found that the SO’s use of force was justified in order to deter a threat. “It would seem highly probable that the SO fired his weapon believing it was necessary to protect himself from a real risk of death or grievous bodily harm,” Martino wrote.

“The firearm in the Complainant’s hand constituted a grave and imminent threat to the officer’s life and limb, ” Martino continued, “In the circumstances, when the Complainant failed to drop the gun he was holding at the SO’s direction, the officer was entitled to meet a threat of lethal force with a resort to lethal force of his own.”

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