SIU clears Ottawa police officer in death of a man in Orleans this summer

OTTAWA — Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared an Ottawa Police officer of wrongdoing in connection to the death of a 34-year-old man in Orleans this summer..

The Special Investigations Unit says just after midnight on July 13, the officer confronted a man that fit the description of a suspect who had reportedly attempted to break into vehicles on Mudminnow Crescent, near Tenth Line Road.

After determining there were no grounds to arrest the man, the officer, at the man’s request, drove him to a bus stop at the intersection of Tenth Line Road and Innes Road

The SIU says five hours after police dropped him off, the man was found dead at a bus stop near the intersection.

In its report, the SIU said the man had told the officer he was “simply lost in the area and had not been trying to break into vehicles.” The officer found no break and enter tools in the man’s backpack.

Police dropped the man off at the northeast corner of Innes and Tenth Line roads, and the individual walked towards a bus stop at 12:44 a.m.

The SIU said in the report released Wednesday evening that a person was visible from a McDonald’s security camera in the area where the complainant was eventually located at 12:52 a.m.

“That person moved around and was upright, but it was difficult to make any other determinations,” said the SIU, adding people travelled through the area during the 1 a.m. hour “uneventfully.”

The SIU said at 2:46 a.m., the scene became sufficiently illuminated and the individual could be seen on the security camera lying on the ground.

“He did not move before the arrival of a police officer about three hours later.”

The SIU said that when the officer dropped the man off at the gas station, he was able to walk, “without any apparent difficulty, across the road and towards the bus stop.”

“The video evidence suggests that the Complainant assumed the position on the ground, in which he was eventually located, sometime between 2:21 and 2:46 a.m.,” said the SIU.

The cause of the man’s death remains under investigation, however, the SIU said opioid involvement is suspected in the death.

“As there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer conducted himself unlawfully throughout his engagement with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the officer,” said SIU Director Joseph Martino.

The SIU says the subject officer agreed to be interviewed as part of the investigation.

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