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Monday, September 22, 2008

Post mortem inconclusive in taser death

September 22, 2008
Bob Mitchell, Toronto Star

It will now be several weeks before Sean Reilly's family knows why he died nearly 12 hours after being tasered while under arrest.

SIU spokesperson John Yoannou said today an autopsy has failed to find any "anatomical" cause of death of the 42-year-old Brampton man.

"Toxicology tests are now being conducted," Yoannou said.

Essentially, that means the post mortem examination failed to determine the cause of death so further blood tests must now be conducted. These tests usually take between four to six weeks.

Reilly died last Wednesday about 4:45 a.m. at the Trillium Health Centre after being rushed to hospital when he went into medical distress after being tasered the day before at a Mississauga police station.

He was tasered during a struggle with four Peel Police officers at about 5 p.m. in the cell area of 12 Division police station.

Reilly, who was still mourning the recent death of his sister, was arrested and charged with assault with a weapon in connection with an incident at a home on Runningbrook Dr. in Mississauga.

Peel Police are prohibited from discussing the case because of the SIU investigation but a police source told The Star the weapon involved a knife.

Four Peel officers are now being probed by the SIU. Investigators are determining whether criminal charges are warranted against the officers. A fifth officer has been designated a witness to the struggle.

Reilly, who was single and worked as a carpenter, has been described as a "non-violent" and "friendly man" by relatives and friends.

Ian Smith, a lawyer for the Reilly family, said they're co-operating with the SIU and are anxious to "find the truth" as to what happened.

Although no details about the incident - and what led to the tasering - are being released, a police source told The Star that officers went to a home on Runningbrook Dr. in Mississauga just before 4 p.m. after receiving a 911 call from a motorist about a suspected impaired driver.

When police arrived, Reilly was standing outside of his vehicle with another man.

Reilly was arrested and charged with assault with a weapon and placed into the back seat of a cruiser.

In addition to losing his sister to sleep apnea about two weeks ago, Reilly's father died in 1992, a loss he never got to over, according to relatives. They say he also hadn't been sleeping well since the death of his sister.

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