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Police watchdog ends investigation into Sarnia man’s overdose

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Journal staff

Ontario’s police watchdog says it has terminated an investigation into the drug overdose of a 33-year-old man in Sarnia in August.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says the incident occurred Aug. 27 when a Sarnia police officer stopped a cyclist for a highway traffic act infraction, and during their interaction, seized ‘a quantity of various drugs.’

The man was taken to the police station and subject to another search before being put into cells, the SIU stated, adding that he was taken to hospital later that morning after appearing unwell; he was treated for a drug overdose and released days later.

“The custody footage made clear that the man did not consume any illicit substances in cells – they would have had to be ingested prior to his arrest,” the SIU stated. “The footage further indicated that the man was regularly checked by police personnel while in his cell, and that medical assistance was arranged promptly upon the first signs of distress.

“On this record, there was manifestly nothing to investigate as far as the potential criminal liability of any officer was concerned vis-à-vis the man’s overdose.

“Based on the SIU’s preliminary inquiries, including a review of the video footage of the man’s time in custody, Director Martino was satisfied that the investigation should be discontinued at this time.”

The SIU conducts investigations of the circumstances around serious injuries, allegations of sexual assault, firearm discharges at persons, and deaths in cases involving officials — including municipal and provincial police officers.


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