SIU clears officer who shot and wounded sword-wielding man

·2 min read
This roughly one-metre-long sword was being carried by a 28-year-old man who was shot by an Ottawa Police Service officer in April 2021. Ontario's police watchdog has cleared the officer, saying he used his gun as a 'last resort.' (Supplied/Special Investigations Unit - image credit)
This roughly one-metre-long sword was being carried by a 28-year-old man who was shot by an Ottawa Police Service officer in April 2021. Ontario's police watchdog has cleared the officer, saying he used his gun as a 'last resort.' (Supplied/Special Investigations Unit - image credit)

Ontario's police watchdog says no charges should be laid against the Ottawa police officer who shot and wounded a 28-year-old man wielding a sword in the city's east end this past April.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said it was satisfied the officer did not fire his gun "other than as a last resort and in the reasonable belief that it was necessary to do so to protect himself from an imminent risk."

According to the SIU report, police were called to the area near the intersection of Montreal and Ogilvie roads in the early hours of April 4 after getting word that a man was wielding a sword.

The responding officers tried repeatedly to get the man to drop his weapon, the SIU said. Based on police and civilian witnesses, the man appeared to be in "the throes of a mental health crisis," its report noted.

A specialized mental health response was not an option due to the presence of the man's weapon and speed at which events unfolded, the report said.

Eloic Hamel/Radio-Canada
Eloic Hamel/Radio-Canada

When the officer in question — the third to arrive on scene — got out of his cruiser, the man with the sword ran at him from about 15 to 20 metres away, the SIU said.

The officer first retreated and yelled for the man to "stop" and not "do it," the report said. But once the man had closed to within three metres, the officer fired his gun four times.

Four bullets struck the man, including one in his left arm and two in his groin. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries and was reported by the SIU at the time to be in stable condition.

"There can be no doubt that the officer was confronted with a potentially lethal weapon in the hands of a man willing and able to use it," the report said, adding the man had previously struck the first police cruiser to arrive on the scene with his sword.

The SIU report also noted the officer did not fire once the man was on the ground. The man who was shot declined to be interviewed by the SIU.

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