SIU finds no wrongdoing by OPP in death of Kenilworth man

MISSISSAUGA – The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has completed its investigation into police involvement connected to the death of a 47-year-old Kenilworth man late last year.

On Nov. 26, 2022, Wellington OPP went to a home on Concession 7 in response to a resident there causing damage.

Last year, the SIU initially told the Advertiser it was not investigating the OPP’s involvement in relation to the death, before later clarifying the agency had in fact invoked its mandate to investigate the incident, two days after being contacted by police.

In a March 27 press release, SIU director Joseph Martino stated he did not find any grounds to lay criminal charges connected to the death.

According to a publicly-available report from Martino, police arrived at 10:28pm and began setting up a perimeter around the sprawling property. Specialized OPP units were also requested.

Martino’s report states a crisis negotiator  unsuccessfully attempted to make contact with the man inside, through three unanswered phone calls and a megaphone.

Police also tried to figure out where the man was within the home’s basement using a drone and ground-level infrared cameras, to no avail.

Almost eight hours later, at 6am, tactics and rescue unit officers entered the home, breached a bathroom door in the basement and found the man dead inside.

He had shot himself with a crossbow, according to the SIU report.

Unlike most SIU investigations, police were forthcoming with information, supplying SIU officials with audio recordings, logbooks, reports, officers’ notes, interview recording, photos, diagrams, a forensics report, robotics operators and negotiator team information sheets, video data, and other communications.

In the investigation, Martino considered whether there was evidence of criminal negligence causing death on the part of police.

“In my view, there is no such misconduct disclosed in the evidence,” Martino wrote.

The SIU director stated police demonstrated “due care and regard for public safety, including the health and well-being of the [man],” and found no fault with how long police waited to enter the home.

“Police had been advised that the [man] was unstable and had access to multiple long guns, crossbows, and knives in the house,” Martino explained.

“In the circumstances, they were within their rights in exhausting all communication efforts from outside the home before they ventured inside.”

What the SIU couldn’t figure out, is when the man died by suicide, and Martino wrote the death “might have occurred before the arrival” of police, which had no contact with the man until he was located deceased.

“There is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case,” Martino concluded, closing the file.