Watchdog clears London officer of misdemeanors during shooting in downtown

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Ontario police guard dog has cleared a police officer in London who shot a knife-wielding man outside an apartment in the city center this summer.

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London police responded around 10.30pm on July 27 to a report of a domestic riot in a home on Dufferin Avenue near City Hall where a suspect armed with two knives ran towards three officers, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said in its just-published decision .

The man refused to drop his weapons and stop moving down the driveway toward officers, SIU said. Two officers used a taser and a third officer fired his gun twice at the man, who received gunshot wounds to the thigh and hand and was taken to hospital, the watchdog said.

“Despite repeated warnings to stop his advance of the officers, the complainant continued forward, the knives pointing at the officers,” SIU director Joseph Martino wrote in his resolution.

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That man was hit with a Taser twice, Martino remarked before being shot with a pistol.

Sound evidence examined by SIU showed that a woman called the police to report a riot in her home where the man had locked her outside, the SIU report shows.

When the woman noticed that the man had knives in his hands, the woman told the officer that he had said there would be a “bloodbath” that night and that he would cut his wrists over, the watchdog said. The call also shows that the woman recalled the man, who previously expressed “he wanted ‘suicide by officer’,” the watchdog said.

SIU did not release the name of the man, but The London Free Press identified him in the days after the incident as Robert Hoover, 40.

Hoover was charged with three counts of assaulting a peace officer and one with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He was released on bail on August 13.

The police officer under investigation, whose name was not released, declined to do an interview with SIU investigators or provide their notes, as is the officer’s legal right, SIU said.

This was “a reasonable use of force,” Martino noted in his decision.

Ontario’s watchdog is investigating all police-related deaths, serious injuries and allegations of sexual assault.

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