OPP officer cleared of wrongdoing after man fell from Ottawa highway overpass in June

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit says there are no reasonable grounds to believe an OPP officer committed a criminal offence after a man fell from a highway bridge in Ottawa in June.

A 61-year-old man fell from the Woodroffe Avenue Bridge over Hwy. 417 on June 2, according to the Special Investigations Unit. He was treated for fractures of the spine and both heels.

The SIU says that in the early morning hours of June 2, an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police Ottawa Detachment made his way to the bridge to investigate reports of a man “behaving oddly”.

The officer attempted to speak with the man from the front of his cruiser, but was unable to establish any dialogue.

“The officer asked the man if he could come closer in order to be able to hear what he was saying, and moved a short distance in his direction. The man climbed over the overpass railing and stood on the ledge of a highway sign affixed to the bridge,” the SIU said.

“The officer approached the railing, climbed over it with a leg, and took hold of one of the man’s hands that was holding the highway sign. The officer pleaded with the man to return to safety. The man stepped off the ledge and fell onto the highway below.”

In a report released on Friday, SIU Director Joseph Martino said there are “no reasonable grounds” to believe the officer committed a criminal offence.

“I am also satisfied that the officer comported himself with due regard for the Complainant’s well-being throughout their engagement,” the SIU said. “The officer was careful at all times not to provoke the Complainant.”

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