SIU in­ves­ti­gat­ing death of man, 55, in Lon­don po­lice cus­tody Thurs­day

The London Free Press - - LOCAL - JONATHAN JUHA jjuha@post­ twit­

On­tario’s po­lice watch­dog is in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter a 55-year-old man died in Lon­don po­lice cus­tody.

Of­fi­cers re­sponded to re­ports of an im­paired driver near Won­der­land and Ex­eter roads about 9:20 p.m. Thurs­day, po­lice say.

The ve­hi­cle and driver were found in a ditch south of Harry White Drive at Won­der­land, said po­lice. Of­fi­cers ar­rested a man and took him to po­lice head­quar­ters. He be­came un­re­spon­sive in the back of a cruiser at the cell bay area, po­lice said.

An of­fi­cer per­formed CPR on the man un­til paramedics ar­rived. The man was taken to hospi­tal, where he was pro­nounced dead, po­lice said.

The Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tions Unit (SIU) was no­ti­fied and in­voked its man­date, as­sign­ing three in­ves­ti­ga­tors and one foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tor to the case.

Lon­don po­lice said it couldn’t pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion about the death, di­rect­ing all ques­tions to the SIU.

This is the first case in more than two years of a death in cus­tody in­volv­ing Lon­don po­lice.

In 2016, the SIU probed the Sept. 7, 2016 death of De­bra Chrisjohn of the Oneida Na­tion of the Thames.

Chrisjohn, 39, had been ar­rested in east Lon­don by city po­lice and turned over to El­gin County OPP on an out­stand­ing war­rant, the SIU said at the time. She was taken to St. Thomas El­gin Gen­eral Hospi­tal, where she died.

The SIU charged Lon­don po­lice Const. Ni­cholas Do­er­ing and OPP Const. Mark McKil­lop with crim­i­nal neg­li­gence caus­ing death and fail­ing to pro­vide the nec­es­saries of life. Charges against McKil­lop were later with­drawn.

The SIU is an arm’s-length agency that probes re­ports of death, se­ri­ous in­jury or al­le­ga­tions of sex as­sault in­volv­ing po­lice.

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