No charges against police in case of Vaughan father of 2 who died after 911 call: SIU

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Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says there are 'no reasonable grounds' to believe police committed a criminal offence in connection with the death of a 35-year-old man in York Region nearly a year ago. (Jeremy Cohn/CBC - image credit)
Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says there are 'no reasonable grounds' to believe police committed a criminal offence in connection with the death of a 35-year-old man in York Region nearly a year ago. (Jeremy Cohn/CBC - image credit)

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says there are "no reasonable grounds" to believe police committed a criminal offence in connection with the death of a 35-year-old man in York Region nearly a year ago.

The father of two died after an encounter with police in Vaughan on June 8, 2020.

York Regional Police were called to a home on Jade Crescent shortly before 11 p.m. for a "domestic dispute."

According to a report from SIU director Joseph Martino released Wednesday, the man's wife told them he was experiencing a "mental health crisis and had lit rubber gloves on fire in the basement of their home."

She expressed fear for her family's safety and asked police to "remove her husband from the home." She indicated this was not the first time she had had to ask police to remove her husband from their home for hospital treatment, said the report.

The man, who was experiencing delusions, at one point hit an officer which sparked "a violent confrontation." The officer was unable to call for help, so the wife called 911 again.

When more officers arrived, one used a conducted energy weapon or a stun on the man, at which point they handcuffed him and he became unresponsive. Paramedics could not revive the man and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Due to interference from police radios, audio recordings of the event are partially "inaudible," the agency notes.

The two officers involved declined to submit their notes from the incident to the SIU and one declined to be interviewed. The exact cause of the man's death could not be determined, the report says.

"I am satisfied that the force used… was lawful," Martino concluded.

The SIU is an arm's length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Neighbours previously told CBC News the father of two lived in the home with his wife and children. Other neighbours said they had observed the man acting strangely in the past and said police had been called to the home before.

"The husband was always very nice and cordial with me," said neighbour Nancy Russo, adding she was "shocked and surprised this happened."