The province’s civilian police watchdog has cleared two Ottawa Police Service officers in the death of a 25-year-old man who lost vital signs as they took him to a shelter from an Elgin Street sidewalk in January.
In a report released Monday, Special Investigations Unit director Joseph Martino concluded that “there is nothing to suggest that either officer was derelict in their care of the (man) in the 20 to 25 minutes that he was in their custody.”
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Officers cleared in connection with death of intoxicated man who was being taken to shelter Back to video
Civilian witnesses reported that the officers treated the man with “care and compassion,” Martino wrote.
A woman called 911 at about 12:13 p.m. on Jan. 2 to report that a man was struggling to get up from the ground in front of the Lord Elgin Hotel.
Minutes later, the two responding officer found him lying on the sidewalk, seemingly asleep, with his head on a snowbank, according to the SIU report.
They were able to rouse the man, who appeared “heavily intoxicated,” helped him to his feet and sat him in the back seat of a police cruiser. The officers decided to take him to the Shepherds of Good Hope shelter, where there was a bed available and a nurse on staff to monitor his condition.
Once at the shelter on King Edward Avenue at about 12:34 p.m., one officer parked the cruiser and went inside to speak to staff. When the officer returned with shelter staff, and the second officer joined them at the rear passenger door, the man’s eyes were closed and he was unresponsive, although breathing and with a pulse.
One of the officers called an ambulance at 12:36 p.m. but the man was without vital signs when paramedics arrived. The officers helped paramedics lift the man onto a stretcher and into an ambulance but cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, with one police officer helping with chest compressions, and advanced life-saving measures were not successful.
The cause of death is still being determined pending the result of toxicology tests.
The SIU investigates cases of death, serious injury, sexual assault and discharge of a firearm at a person involving police in Ontario.
This content was originally published here.