SIU clears officer in Steve Mesics death

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit says there are no grounds to lay criminal charges against the Hamilton police officers who shot and killed Steve Mesic last June. In the report released Wednesday, the SIU sheds new light on the events leading up to Mesic’s death. But as Melissa Raftis tells us, some of those who knew the former steelworker best, say they’ve lost faith in police.The SIU’s report says when he was shot and killed, Steve Mesic was advancing toward two Hamilton police officers holding a shovel over his shoulder like a baseball bat. Police had been called to the Linc near Upper Wentworth June 7th for reports of a man walking into traffic. After losing sight of him, police found Mesic trying to pry open the backdoor of a townhouse with a shovel. At the time they didn’t know it was Mesic’s own home. After asking him what he was doing, the SIU says Mesic aggressively walked toward the officers, ignoring their calls to drop the shovel. Eventually crossing the fence between them within striking range. SIU Director Ian Scott writes: “In my view, the subject officers were justified in their use of lethal force. By the time Mr. Mesic was on the same side of the fence, the option of pepper spray was not feasible due to the imminent threat Mr. Mesic represented to the two subject officers.”“I have absolutely zero faith in policing system now. Nothing.”Mesic’s friend Steve Close says police could have defused the situation. Even though the SIU’s report says the officers didn’t know Mesic had apparently attempted suicide earlier in the day by walking in front of a bus on the Jolley Cut.Close: “He definitely didn’t deserve to die the way that he did. He needed help. He didn’t need a bullet, or five bullets or 8 bullets these cowards, I’m going to call them cowards put into his back or wherever they put it to him. He didn’t need to do that.”Hamilton police and SIU haven’t said where Mesic was struck or how many bullets were fired. Only that he was hit by at least one bullet from each handgun.Chief Glenn de Caire issued a statement saying police cooperated fully with the investigation, and will continue to train officers to de-escalate critical incidents like they have for years.But even though the SIU has reached its conclusions, close says he refuses to let Mesic’s story be forgotten.Close: “Rest in peace brother. Hope you’re good man.”Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina released a statement Wednesday saying his heart goes out Mesic’s family and friends. We spoke briefly with Mesic’s mother who says there has been no justice for her son. In an email, Sharon Dorr, Mesic’s fiance, says she needs a couple days to digest the news and will be releasing a statement on Friday. 00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09

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