Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says Kingston police officers were not at fault for the death of a man who was subdued with a stun gun after consuming a cocktail of illicit drugs this summer.
On July 23, around 1:30 p.m., Kingston police and paramedics were called to the Harvey’s on Princess Street to respond to a report of a naked man in one of the restaurant’s washrooms.
“Customers found the men’s washroom in disarray with personal items, syringes and water strewn on the floor,” an SIU report said.
The man had then moved to the women’s washroom, where he was found clothed sleeping on the floor.
When he awoke, the SIU said he became violent, attempting to rip the toilet paper dispenser out of the wall.
Paramedics arrived at the scene first, then two Kingston police officers. The man was reportedly locked inside one of the women’s washroom stalls and was still breathing, but not responsive, the SIU said. Two other Kingston police officers, one with a conductive energy weapon, were called in to help deal with the man because he had reportedly been volatile before.
Kingston police broke the lock on the stall and tried to communicate with the man, but he did not respond, so one of the officers tried to drag the man out of the stall to be assessed, the SIU said.
“The complainant awoke and started to fight with the officers, moving his arms and legs violently according to the involved officers. He was yelling incoherently and none of the officers could understand what he was saying,” the SIU report said.
Officers reportedly repeatedly tried to subdue the man, but to no avail, the SIU said.
The officers then warned the man that if he did not stop fighting, that he would be “Tasered.” When the man did not comply, the stun gun was used, and the man momentarily stopped fighting, but the SIU said he began again. The officer then deployed the weapon again, but it did not work the second time because one of the weapon’s wires was broken.
Nevertheless, police were able to gain control of the man, put him in handcuffs and place him on stretcher, the SIU said. He was transported to hospital where he later died.
According to a post-mortem, his death was attributed to sudden cardiorespiratory arrest due to methamphetamine, fentanyl and carfentanil toxicity.
After reviewing the events of the day, the SIU concluded that the officers acted lawfully during the arrest, and therefore criminal charges would not be pursued. The incident’s file is now closed.