SIU find OPP not criminally responsible for Babak Saidi shooting

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By Nick Seebruch
SIU find OPP not criminally responsible for Babak Saidi shooting
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MORRISBURG, Ontario – Babak Saidi, 43, was shot and killed at the Morrisburg OPP detachment office on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. Saidi was at the detachment to sign-in as was required under his court-ordered conditions.

While he attended the detachment he became involved in a struggle with one officer and in the course of that struggle, he was shot five times. Efforts were made to save Saidi’s life, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) has been investigating the case since then and on Tuesday, Feb. 19 they released their report in which they found the Subject Officer (SO) not criminally responsible for the death of Saidi.

The SIU explained that the OPP officers intended to arrest Saidi when he attended the attachment for his scheduled sign in. The OPP had received a complaint from the member of the public against Saidi. The complainant against Saidi alleged that while at his home on Dec. 20, 2017, Saidi witnessed a sales representative for an agricultural feed company depositing flyers in his mailbox. Not knowing the sales representatives vehicle, he ran outside with a knife and allegedly threatened the sales representative with the knife to her throat.

Upon arriving at the OPP detachment on Dec. 23 at around 11 a.m. Saidi was informed by SO#1 and Witnessing Officer #6 (WO#6) that he would be arrested.

According to SIU Director Tony Loparco’s report, once inside the detachment the SO informed Saidi that he was to be arrested. Saidi acknowledged that the incident with the sales representative had occurred, but denied that it was his fault. Saidi then said he had to inform his father that he was being arrested and turned to go outside.

The SO attempted to prevent Saidi from leaving, a struggle ensued and continued when the two men moved from inside the building to outside the detachment.

In the course of the struggle, the SO attempted to restrain Saidi with an arm around Saidi’s chest, Saidi then allegedly bit the officer. The SO and Saidi then fell to the ground at which time Saidi was struck in the head and suffered a cut to his head, likely cause by the SO’s portable radio. The SO then fired one cartridge from his Conductive Energy Weapon (CEW – taser) which struck Saidi in the chest. Saidi continued to struggle and managed to gain control of the SO’s CEW.

The SO then backed away from Saidi and drew his firearm. Saidi sat up and according to the SIU report, then grabbed the officer’s weapon with his left hand. The SO was able to pull his firearm away and then discharged his weapon five times, hitting Saidi in the front right shoulder once, the back twice, his back right shoulder once and his thigh. Three of the gunshot woulds proved to be fatal.

The SIU assigned eight of it’s members to investigate this case. The SIU spoke to or received witness notes from 29 Witnessing Officers and interviewed 11 Civilian Witnesses. The SIU also reviewed CCTV footage that recorded the portion of the incident that took place outside the detachment building, radio communications between police officers and between paramedics. Additional evidence included an autopsy of Saidi and a DNA sample that was voluntarily given by the SO.

Director Loparco conclude’s his lengthy report by explaining why he feels that the SO’s actions were justified.

“I find in all the circumstances that the SO reasonably believed that his life was in danger from the Complainant and thus his actions in firing upon the Complainant were justified,” the report reads. “I find that it would have been foolish and reckless for the SO to risk losing his life by waiting for the Complainant to either again discharge the CEW, or to disarm him of his firearm, thereby putting his own life at immediate risk of serious injury or death. I further find that risk was not one that the SO ought to have had to take when faced with this very violent and unpredictable assailant.”

“I find, therefore, on this record, that the shots that were fired by the SO, which struck and killed the Complainant, were justified pursuant to ss.25 (1) and (3) of the Criminal Code and that the SO, in preserving himself or others from death or grievous bodily harm from the Complainant, used no more force than was necessary to affect his lawful purpose,” Loparco’s report goes on to read. “As such, I am therefore satisfied on reasonable grounds on this record that the actions exercised by the SO, despite the tragic loss of life, fell within the limits prescribed by the criminal law and there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.”

The full SIU report can be found here.

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