Canada SIU clears Hamilton officer in fatal 2016 shooting of Anthony Divers

10:38  11 august  2017
10:38  11 august  2017 Source:   Toronto Star

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The provincial body that investigates police shootings has cleared a Hamilton officer of criminal wrongdoing in last September's fatal shooting of Anthony Divers , a 36-year-old Hamilton man.

The Special Investigations Unit has cleared a Hamilton police officer in the deadly 2016 shooting of Anthony Divers. © YVONNE ALEXANDER / TORONTO STAR The Special Investigations Unit has cleared a Hamilton police officer in the deadly 2016 shooting of Anthony Divers.

Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared a Hamilton Police officer in a shooting that killed 36-year-old Anthony Divers on a September night last year.

The Special Investigations Unit, which investigates police shootings in the province, determined “there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges” against the officer in connection to the fatal shooting, it stated in a release Thursday evening.

Divers was shot and killed shortly before midnight on Sept. 30 by a Hamilton police officer who was responding to a call about a man who had committed an assault and was reportedly armed with a gun, according to the SIU.

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Anthony Divers was shot and killed last year following a confrontation with police near the Hamilton GO station. SIU Director Tony Loparco said even though it was later determined that Divers was not armed, the officer who fired the fatal shots reasonably believed his life was in danger.

SIU investigating the fatal shooting of Tony Divers on Friday, Sept. The SIU is investigating the Hamilton incident from last Friday when a Hamilton police officer fatally shot a 36-year-old man before midnight.

In his report on the incident, SIU director Tony Loparco stated that Hamilton Police received a 911 call from a woman who reported she had been assaulted outside a bar.

Police arrived at the bar, confirmed the woman suffered “a serious injury to her left cheek” and determined there were reasonable grounds to arrest Divers for assault.

Police also noted there was a no-contact order in place between Divers and the woman and that there had been previous violence between the two reported to police. Divers was possibly high on crystal meth and fentanyl and “was anti-police,” according to police notes.

Earlier in the day, Divers showed the woman a Glock pistol he had in his pants, Loparco’s report states.

After officers were dispatched to search for Divers, about 10 minutes after the initial call came in, one found him standing on the sidewalk near a bus shelter. The officer followed him on foot, yelling at him to “stop” and “get down.”

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Anthony Divers was shot and killed last year following a confrontation with police near the Hamilton GO station. SIU Director Tony Loparco said even though it was later determined that Divers was not armed, the officer who fired the fatal shots reasonably believed his life was in danger.

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According to the report, Divers’ right hand remained under his sweatshirt “throughout the tail end of the interaction” with the officer, leading him to believe Divers was hiding a gun.

As Divers entered the roadway, the officer followed him, unholstered his gun and pointed it at Divers, continuing to demand Divers show his hands.

Divers then turned to face the officer, lifted his right hand under his sweater and took two steps toward the officer, who fired two shots. Divers was pronounced dead at hospital shortly before 12:30 a.m.

Divers’ family has said they believe he wasn’t armed that night, based on a witness they spoke to. Two witnesses interviewed by the Hamilton Spectator also said they did not see a weapon.

Divers, who had mental health issues, was clearly in crisis, his family has said. They say the shooting raises the important question of how police deal with individuals in crisis.

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The siblings of Anthony Divers say they still “don’t have a clue” what happened the night he was shot dead by a Hamilton police officer .

Shortly after receiving this information, an officer came into contact with a man believed to be involved in the assault while walking on James Street near the Hamilton GO Station. During this interaction, the SIU said the man – later identified as Anthony Divers – was shot .

But Loparco concluded the officer “subjectively, had reasonable grounds to believe that his life was at risk” at the time he fired the shots that killed Divers. Loparco noted that the officers’ belief was based on both his observations at the time and his knowledge of Divers’ past behaviour.

Divers was previously convicted of manslaughter stemming from the 2002 stabbing death of Ryan McDonald during a home invasion.

The officer also knew Divers was “involved in organized crime,” “abusing narcotics” and “getting into a dangerous lifestyle” based on a previous interaction with him.

Loparco noted that both the officer who shot Divers and another officer who witnessed the pursuit believed that Divers was reaching for a weapon after he turned around, and that the shooting officer had no other option remaining to him.

He wrote that the officer “did not have the luxury of delaying and risking his own life by waiting to see if a shot was actually fired from whatever weapon that Mr. Divers was intimating that he had hidden inside his waistband or sweater.

“Despite the after-the-fact knowledge that Mr. Divers was not armed, the (shooting officer) reasonably believed that his life was in danger from Mr. Divers and his actions in firing upon Mr. Divers were justified,” Loparco concluded.

With files from Jacques Gallant

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