OPP officer who shot and killed charging man cleared
Officer had 'no other options' when man rushed at him with bat, SIU says
Ontario's police watchdog says an OPP officer didn't break the law when he shot and killed a man running at him with an aluminum bat north of Napanee, Ont., in November.
A 48-year-old man died of gunshot wounds after police responded to a call about a single-vehicle collision in Stone Mills Township, Ont., on Nov. 12
In its report, the province's Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which looks into death, serious injury and allegations of sexual assault involving police, said the man involved in the crash on Fifth Lake Road told a passerby to go away, warning he had guns.
When an OPP officer arrived at the scene, the man told him he was homeless and wanted to sleep where he was, but eventually agreed to have his car towed and go to a shelter.
When the OPP officer ran a background check on the man, he discovered he was legally banned from possessing firearms. The man denied having guns and grabbed a bat from the passenger seat of his vehicle, saying it was for his protection.
The SIU said the man ignored orders to put the bat down and began jogging toward the officer.
The officer backed off until he was behind his cruiser, but as the man got within bat-swinging range the officer fired several shots. The man died from gunshot wounds to the torso.
'No other options'
The SIU said lethal use of force was justified in this case.
"The officer was confronted by an individual threatening him with a dangerous weapon at close range," the SIU said.
"While the officer continually retreated from the Complainant, and attempted to take cover behind his police vehicle, when the Complainant continued to advance on him, he left the [subject officer] with no other options for a safe retreat."
While the officer did have a Taser-type weapon on him, the SIU pointed out he was facing a "lethal threat" without immediate backup, so shouldn't be faulted for going straight for his service weapon.