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Death of a baby: charges against 3 police officers dropped

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The police were aware of the presence of a baby in the vehicle before shooting. (Archive photo)


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Nathan Vanderheyden, Kenneth Pengelly and Grayson Cappus were charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death following an investigation by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

The charges were dropped because the Crown had no evidence to contradict the officers' version of events , explained prosecutor Ian Bulmer on Monday.

He added that although the evidence collected establishes that the new -born Jameson Shapiro died after being struck by at least one bullet fired by police, his death was a tragic unintended consequence of [shooting] taken by the defendants in self-defense.

He believes a jury would likely have reached the same conclusion. The police officers' lawyers, for their part, expressed their relief for their clients.

Of course I would like that good police officers spare themselves this ordeal, underlines Joseph Markson, lawyer for Kenneth Pengelly, who has 48 years of service in Toronto and then with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

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But I understand and respect the functioning of justice , the need for transparency and the good work of the SIU, he adds.

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Joseph Markson, lawyer of agent Kenneth Pengelly (in the background), believes that this procedure is in some way part of the collective mourning after this tragedy.

Harry Black, lawyer for Grayson Cappus, insists on his client's isolation during the proceedings. A condition of his bail was that he could not speak to anyone from his team of 30 to 40 officers. However, the agents who work in these units are friends, he mentions.

For two years, he was unable to speak to any of his friends, then, after authorization, to only three people, the lawyer sued.

The results of the investigation determined that there were no reasonable grounds for conviction for the agents, indicates the president of the association of the OPP, John Cerasuolo, in an email.

Our officers did their job as they were trained

A quote from John Cerasuolo, President of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Association

No details on the return to work of police officers have been specified. It will be different for each of them, said OPP Sergeant Jason Folz during a press scrum Monday morning in Oshawa.

On November 26, 2020, police were attempting to intercept a man suspected of kidnapping his young son, in Kawartha Lakes, approximately 180 kilometers northeast of Toronto.

According to the SIU investigation, officers were trying to stop the 33-year-old father's pickup truck, when it crashed into an OPP patrol car and another car on Pigeon Lake Road.

A police officer who was standing outside the patrol at the time was seriously injured.

Three officers then opened fire, hitting the infant inside the van and his father, Jameson Shapiro, according to the SIU.< /p>

The child was pronounced dead on scene. His father was taken to the hospital and died from his injuries about a week later.

According to recordings of police conversations released two years after the events, the officers knew there was a baby in the van.

The Crown has recommended that a coroner's inquest be opened into this matter.

With information from CBC's Sara Jabakhanji and Chris Glover

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116