The Kingston Wig Standard
Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit has cleared an Ontario Provincial Police officer after they used ARWEN rounds to subdue a man wielding a rifle in Stone Mills earlier this year.
Joseph Martino, director of the Special Investigations Unit, wrote in his decision that he was satisfied that the man warranted arrest, given the information provided to police by the man’s doctor regarding his mental state and access to a firearm. He also agreed that the use of the ARWEN (an anti-riot weapon) was legally justified.
“In what appears to have been a deliberate attempt to provoke the officers into a lethal confrontation, the complainant emerged from inside his home with a .22-calibre rifle — a weapon clearly capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm and death,” Martino wrote. “When he did so, and then raised it in the direction of the officers, the complainant gave them every reason to believe that their lives were in immediate danger.”
According to the SIU’s report, police were called to a home in Stone Mills Township on Jan. 3, a little after 11 a.m., by a man’s doctor. The man had called his doctor drunk on “moonshine” and told them of his suicidal ideations and that he had a firearm.
When the OPP arrived, they surrounded the home and attempted to make contact with the man. He then walked out his front door, refused to drop his .22-calibre rifle and pointed it at the officers. An officer shot the man three times with the ARWEN, and a police dog was deployed.
The man suffered bruising welts from the projectiles and stitches from the dog’s bite.
“In the circumstances, it is apparent that the subject officer’s use of the ARWEN, a less-lethal firearm, was a tactic reasonably available to the officer in the moment as it carried the prospect of quickly neutralizing the complainant without inflicting serious injury. And, in fact, that is precisely what occurred,” Martino wrote.
“Three of the ARWEN discharges met their mark and temporarily incapacitated the complainant, freeing the weapon from his hold and dropping the complainant to the ground. Thereafter, with the use of a police dog, the officers were able to safely approach the complainant and take him into custody
“In the result, as I am satisfied that the subject officer comported himself reasonably throughout his engagement with the complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the officer.”