An Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer is facing multiple charges in connection to a civilian shooting in Orillia last year.
In a news release Monday, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said its director Joseph Martino “has reasonable grounds to believe” that the officer committed several criminal offences when he shot a man on Aug. 20 following a pursuit of a pickup truck.
On that day around 4:15 a.m., OPP officers attempted to stop a vehicle near West Street they suspected was being driven by an impaired driver, the SIU said when it launched its investigation in August.
The SIU said then that the driver fled and officers followed it to a residential parking lot, where the vehicle collided with a light standard and two other vehicles.
The SIU said a struggle then ensued as officers attempted to arrest two male occupants. One officer fired his gun and struck an 18-year-old man who was sent to hospital with a serious injury.
The officer who fired his gun is now facing one count each of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, careless use of a firearm, assault causing bodily harm and assault using a weapon, the SIU said Monday.
He is set to appear in Orillia court on March 28.
OPP association supports accused officer
The SIU is an independent government agency called in to investigate when people are killed or seriously injured in interactions with police officers in Ontario.
However, the Ontario Provincial Police Association, a union representing over 6,000 uniformed OPP officers and nearly 3,000 civilian staff, said it supports the accused officer.
The association said the officer was carrying out his duties when he responded to the call for a failure to remain after a vehicle collision, and will be providing him with legal counsel.
“We look forward to a vigorous legal defence as the matter proceeds through the justice system,” their statement reads.