SIU completes probe of Exeter man's death in OPP shooting

If the drift of Canada towards a police state has not yet affected you directly, you would do well to recall the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, writing in Germany before his arrest in the 1930s: "The Nazis came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I was a Protestant, so I didn't speak that time there was nobody left to speak up for anyone."

SIU completes probe of Exeter man's death in OPP shooting

Postby Thomas » Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:59 am

SIU completes probe of Exeter man's death in OPP shooting

Ontario’s police watchdog has completed its investigation into the 2019 shooting death of an alleged axe-wielding man in Exeter, but the agency’s director still has to review the file and determine whether charges are warranted.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) launched the probe after police fatally shot Wade Vanderwal, 44, on Dec. 3, 2019, outside the Simcoe Street home where he lived with his mother.

Two OPP officers fired multiple shots at Vanderwal, who was armed with an axe, after police and firefighters responded to a reported fire at the Exeter house, the SIU said.

“The fieldwork for this case has been completed, meaning that all interviews were conducted and all of the evidence was collected and analyzed,” the SIU’s Monica Hudon said by email Tuesday.

“The file is now with the director for his review, and to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to lay charges.”

If director Joseph Martino rules that no crime was committed by the two subject officers, a detailed report, including his analysis of the case, will be sent to Ontario’s attorney general. The SIU started making those reports public in 2017 in a bid to improve transparency.

“The director currently has a number of cases he is reviewing and so it’s just not possible to give a timeline for when his decision on this case will be released,” Hudon said.

The SIU is an arm’s-length civilian agency that investigates all cases of serious injury, death and allegations of sexual assault involving police officers.

On the night of the shooting, Vanderwal’s mother, Diane, had called 911 to get help for her son after he told her the army was coming and locked her out of the house, a relative has said.

OPP officers and firefighters soon arrived, but Vanderwal had barricaded the door, prompting them to break it down, the relative said.

The first dispatch to emergency crews went out shortly after 6:30 p.m. for a male patient with mental health issues who started a fire at the house and wouldn’t leave, according to the call reviewed by The Free Press.

South Huron fire crews were en route by 6:40 p.m. Five minutes later, another update goes out: “Just be advised that PD (police department) is on the scene and has shot the patient,” the dispatcher says, referring to the OPP.

Six minutes later, the dispatcher says CPR is being performed on the patient, who has no vital signs, and paramedics are three minutes away from South Huron Hospital, where Vanderwal was pronounced dead.

It remains unclear whether there ever was a fire. No exterior damage was visible at the Simcoe Street home after the shooting and fire officials wouldn’t speak to the media, citing the SIU probe.

One of three children, Vanderwal had long struggled with mental health issues and had been living with his mom since his mid-20s after returning from a stint out West and suffering multiple strokes, his family said. ... p-shooting
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