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HomeNewsOntario’s police watchdog clears Bracebridge OPP officer

Ontario’s police watchdog clears Bracebridge OPP officer

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No charges will be laid against a Bracebridge OPP officer after an anti-riot weapon enfield (ARWEN) was used to shoot a 30-year-old man in March.

Joseph Martino, Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), says there are “no reasonable grounds” to believe the officer committed a criminal offence when he used the ARWEN during a March arrest in Severn Bridge.

In a report published July 22, Martino says the use of the ARWEN was justified to help officers arrest the man. “In the result, there were no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer comported himself other than lawfully in his dealings with the man. The file has been closed,” Martino writes.

The incident happened shortly after midnight on March 24, 2022. The SIU’s investigation began the next day.

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Martino says officers confronted a man outside his home to arrest him on outstanding warrants, according to Martino’s report. When he saw police, the suspect ran into his house and hid in a closet. Martino says police surrounded the man’s home while a warrant was prepared and called for the suspect to surrender. “After not hearing from the man and learning that the man was known to carry drugs, officers entered the house and located him hidden under some clothes,” Martino writes.

According to Martino, the ARWEN was fired at the man’s upper left leg after the man didn’t leave the closet and officers “had reason to believe he may have had a knife.”

He continues that the man was not responsive to being hit and was found unresponsive. Martino says the man overdosed and was in medical distress. After officers administered first aid and multiple doses of Narcan, Martino says the suspect was taken to hospital where he was discharged later that day.

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of police that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault, and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

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