Ontario's police watchdog says it hasn't yet interviewed key officers who were present when a young man died last week after falling from an Ottawa apartment during a police raid.
A video of the incident shows heavily armed Ottawa Police Service officers entering a 12th-floor apartment on Jasmine Crescent in Ottawa on Oct. 7. It was just before 9 a.m. Anthony Aust, 23, fell to his death that morning from a window. His stepfather, grandmother and two younger siblings were home at the time.
In an updated news release Tuesday, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) — a civilian agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been a death, serious injury or an allegation of sexual assault — said three officers have been designated as "subject officers," and the SIU has asked to interview them.
A subject officer is defined by the watchdog as the individual whose conduct may have caused death or serious injury. The SIU states said that those three officers can't be legally compelled to be interviewed and don't have to submit their notes to the agency, under the Police Services Act.
"The SIU has not yet heard back whether the officers will agree to interviews," it said in the news release.
Nine officers were considered witnesses, and two of them have been interviewed so far. The rest are scheduled to be interviewed at some point this week, the SIU said. Meanwhile, four civilians have been interviewed, and more civilian interviews have been arranged, it said.
"The scene and involved apartment were examined and digitally photographed, exhibits were collected, and measurements were taken of all areas relevant to the incident," says the SIU news release.
The SIU is asking anyone with information to contact them, as well as anyone with video evidence to upload it onto their website.
Family describes 'war zone' scene
Ben Poirier, Aust's stepfather, told CBC earlier this week that he was on the balcony having a coffee and a cigarette when police crashed through their door. According to him, the door wasn't locked.
"The place looked like a war zone," Poirier said, describing the SWAT team officers' no-knock warrant, also known as "dynamic entries."
Nhora Aust, 50, told CBC her son's probation office had called her Wednesday to inform her that his GPS ankle monitor had set off an alarm.
The 23-year-old Aust had moved into his mother's three-bedroom apartment in March. He was released from jail at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic after getting bail. As part of his bail plan, he could only leave the apartment with either his mother, father or uncle, who were his sureties.
"He didn't have time to live. He didn't have time to know life. He was a kid," said Aust's mother.