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Police watchdog clears Ottawa police officer who fired at driver of stolen car

Ottawa police tape and cruisers could be seen at this Ottawa Community Housing complex on Donald Street Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023. Police say a man in a stolen vehicle struck an officer, which led to an other officer firing at the car. The Special Investigations Unit has invoked its mandate. (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa) Ottawa police tape and cruisers could be seen at this Ottawa Community Housing complex on Donald Street Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023. Police say a man in a stolen vehicle struck an officer, which led to an other officer firing at the car. The Special Investigations Unit has invoked its mandate. (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa)
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Ontario's police watchdog has cleared an Ottawa police officer who fired at the driver of a stolen car in Overbrook last December.

The incident happened the night of Dec. 16, 2023. Ottawa police officers were investigating reports of a stolen vehicle, a Hyundai Elantra, on Donald Street.

"The driver attempted to flee and, in the process, pinned and struck an officer, smashed into a police vehicle and drove at another officer," the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said. "An officer fired at the vehicle a total of four times; the man was not struck by gunfire. He was later located and arrested."

The officer who was hit by the car door was not seriously hurt.

In a news release Monday, the SIU found no reasonable grounds to believe the officer who fired at the car committed a criminal offence.

"Director Martino was satisfied that the officer’s resort to gunfire was reasonable and doing something to incapacitate the driver made sense as the lives of both officers were in imminent peril," the SIU said.

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of police that might have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

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