SIU clears York police officers in shooting that put man, 44, in hospital with serious injuries
Ontario's police watchdog has cleared two York Regional Police officers from any criminal wrongdoing after investigating their shooting of a 44-year-old man last November.
According to a report by the Special Investigations Unit released Thursday, the officers fired three gunshots each after the man ran toward an officer with a knife.
"I am unable to conclude that the [officers] comported themselves unreasonably when, faced with a real and present risk of death, they chose to meet a lethal threat with a resort to lethal force of their own," wrote SIU director Joseph Martino.
Martino says officers were called to investigate a suspicious vehicle that had been parked overnight at a commercial plaza on Hanlan Road in Vaughan around 8:15 a.m.
After approaching, the officers directed the man to step outside his car, noting there was drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. When he refused, one of the officers attempted to forcibly pull him out of — something Martino noted was "within their rights" to do.
The man tried to drive away, to which the officers blocked him in with a police cruiser and put a stop stick on his vehicle. Shortly after, the man emerged from his car wielding a knife and raised it at an officer before charging and making a motion "as if to strike."
The officers shot the man, leaving him with wounds in both of his legs, one to his arm and another to his chest. Afterwards, the officers handcuffed, searched and provided him first-aid before emergency medical services arrived and brought the man to hospital with serious injuries.
"The evidence establishes that each officer fired their weapon attempting to protect themselves from a reasonably apprehended knife attack," said Martino.
The agency investigates incidents involving police in which a member of the public is hurt or killed.
Only one officer was interviewed by the SIU in its investigation. The other declined to be interviewed or provide their notes on the incident. Four civilian witnesses and two witness officials were interviewed, and video footage from the lot and one of the officer's cars were analyzed in the investigation.