September 18, 2008
Bob Mitchell, Toronto Star
In less than a week, Peel police have twice used Tasers to subdue people – once with fatal results, and the other time on one of their fellow officers.
Yesterday, 42-year-old Sean Reilly of Brampton died several hours after being Tasered during a struggle in a cell at a Peel police station. He had earlier been charged with assault with a weapon.
On Friday, Peel officers Tasered Const. Jason Ross, 35, who was being investigated for impaired driving. He is facing three counts of assaulting police, one count of assault causing bodily harm, excess blood alcohol, impaired operation of a motor vehicle and mischief.
In yesterday's incident, Reilly went into medical distress and was rushed to Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga, where he died at 4:45 a.m.
The province's Special Investigations Unit is probing the in-custody death and has named four officers as subjects of their investigation.
SIU spokesperson John Yoannou said Reilly was arrested about 5 p.m. on Tuesday and charged with assault with a weapon.
A police source told the Star that a 911 call was initially made by a motorist who was following a suspected impaired driver.
Police arrived at a residence on Runningbrook Dr. just before 4 p.m. where it's alleged an assault occurred on another man, according to the source. Reilly was outside his vehicle when police arrived, the source said.
Yoannou confirmed Reilly was arrested at the Mississauga residence but wasn't able to provide any other details about the ongoing investigation.
What happened next remains the focus of the SIU probe.
A police source said Reilly struggled with several officers after getting out of a police cruiser at the 12 Division station at Eglinton Ave. and Dixie Rd. in Mississauga.
After being booked, Reilly was taken to the cells where a struggle occurred involving several officers, Yoannou said.
"During a struggle in the cell area, a Taser was used to subdue him," Yoannou said. "Mr. Reilly went into medical distress and was taken to hospital where he died."
An autopsy is scheduled for later today.
With the SIU having taken over the case, Peel police now are prohibited from releasing any details.
Reilly, who was single, worked as a carpenter, a friend said, adding his sister recently died of sleep apnea.
The SIU will now determine whether any criminal charges are warranted.
Prior to Friday's Taser incident, Const. Ross who lives in Georgetown and who has been with the Peel force for eight years, was already under suspension without pay in connection with an unrelated assault charge.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Thursday, September 18, 2008
September 18, 2008