Special Investigations Unit (SIU)

Special Investigations Unit (SIU)

August 26, 2005 15:08 ET

SIU Concludes Custody Death Investigation in Kitchener

Attention: News Editor TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 26, 2005) - James Cornish, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) officers committed any criminal offence in relation to the death of 24-year-old Adam Steele after his arrest on April 12, 2005.

Shortly after 6:00 p.m. on that date, members of the WRPS were called to Fairview Park mall to investigate reports of a man behaving strangely. Witnesses reported the man was jumping counters, screaming and speaking incoherently. The man had also previously been seen running in and out of traffic on Fairway Road near Highway 8 earlier that evening.

Two WRPS officers located the man, later identified as Mr. Steele, in the food court area of the mall and felt that he needed medical help. An off duty WRPS officer, mall security guards and three Kitchener firefighters also arrived to assist. When asked whether he had taken any drugs, Mr. Steele admitted to being on cocaine. Mr. Steele was arrested and handcuffed under the Mental Health Act and placed in a police cruiser by the two officers.

Paramedics met the officers outside the mall. While they were discussing how best to take Mr. Steele to the hospital, he lapsed into cardiac arrest. Mr. Steele was taken by ambulance to St. Mary's Hospital where he died at about 7:11 p.m.

A post mortem examination concluded no anatomical cause of death. Toxicological testing later determined that Mr. Steele had levels of cocaine in his system at the time of death.

Director Cornish concluded, "The evidence establishes that this young man was in the throes of a manic episode on the evening of April 12, 2005. Whatever the cause of Mr. Steele's death, I am satisfied that none of the subject officers bear any criminal liability in relation to it. In their short time with Mr. Steele, the officers were able to arrest him without incident and then acted quickly to assist in whatever way they could with medical intervention at the first sign of distress. The officers' conduct fell within the requisite level of care prescribed by the criminal law. Indeed, I believe that the officers did all that they could to ensure Mr. Steele was treated properly and cared for in a timely fashion."

The SIU is a civilian agency that investigates circumstances involving police and civilians which have resulted in serious injury, sexual assault or death. Under Part VII, Section 113, of the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU has the sole authority to decide whether or not charges are warranted based on the findings of a complete investigation. The Director's decision is reported to the Attorney General.

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Rose Bliss
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de telephone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529
IN: JUSTICE

Contact Information

  • Rose Bliss, Communications Manager, Special Investigations Unit
    Primary Phone: 416-622-2342