Officer ‘justified’ to shoot less-lethal rounds at mental health arrest subject in Oakville, SIU finds


Published November 10, 2023 at 8:53 pm

An ARWEN launcher, via the SIU.

The officer who shot a man with less-lethal rounds from an ARWEN launcher during a mental health arrest in Oakville was “justified” in his use of force, according to the Special Investigations Unit.

Members of the man’s family called 911 on July 14 to report he was in the midst of a mental health crisis. The family fled the home when the man grabbed a knife and bear spray. Officers soon arrived and entered the home, but retreated when they found the man was still armed.

The officers set up a perimeter around the home. All attempts to communicate with the subject failed. Halton Police dispatched their Tactical Response Unit to the house and too command of the situation. They likewise tried communicating with the man over the phone, using social media and a loud hailer. However, these attempts also failed.

Police assured the man that they were there to help him and instructed him to leave the home unarmed. Officers could see into the house through various windows and observed the man pacing the home, still armed with the knife and bear spray.

Shortly before 3 a.m. ordered officers to enter the home after consulting with a forensic psychiatrist. The family gave the officers a key, but this failed to work. The officers then forced the front door open.

The officers spotted the still-armed man standing several meters into the home. They remained outside and watched the man retreat to the living room. Another group of police officers smashed open a front window of the house shortly after 4 a.m.

A standard ARWEN round.

At this point, the officer under investigation fired several rounds from his ARWEN launcher at the man. Several made contact, but had little apparent effect. The officers at the front door then advanced into the home, while the officer at the window fired another volley from the ARWEN.

The tactical unit commander then fired his taser at the man, at which point the man collapsed. More officers rushed to the man. After several more taser discharges, they arrested him. He was then taken to a local hospital.

Following a months-long investigation, the SIU found, “On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the [officer at the window] committed a criminal offence in connection with the use of his ARWEN.”

SIU Director Joseph Martino wrote in his final report, “While of unsound mind brought about by mental illness, [the subject] had brandished a knife and bear spray at his parents, and cut himself while punching a glass door. With respect to the force used by the SO in aid of the Complainant’s arrest, namely, six ARWEN discharges delivered in two volleys, I am satisfied that it was legally justified.”

“The officer would have known that the [man] had been seen with a knife and bear spray. He would also have known that the [man] had earlier threatened his parents with the weapons and there was concern that he might engage in self-harm. It appears the [officer] acted reasonably when he attempted to temporarily incapacitate the [man] from a safe distance with his ARWEN.”


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