Three Ontario police officers charged with manslaughter after the death of a baby

Three Ontario police officers charged with manslaughter after infant death

Investigation determined the child was fatally shot pulled by a policeman.

Three Ontario Provincial Police officers are facing charges of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death after a police action resulted in the death of an 18-month-old child.

In November 2020, police were attempting to intercept a man suspected of abducting his young son, in Kawartha Lakes, approximately 180 km northeast of Toronto.

When he ran into a police officer with his vehicle, his colleagues fired. Little Jameson Shapiro was killed. His father William, who was seriously injured, died the following week in hospital.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) had previously specified that the child and the 33-year-old man had been hit by police fire.

His director has recommended that charges be laid against Constables Nathan Vanderheyden, Kenneth Pengelly and Grayson Cappus. They are all related to the death of Jameson Shapiro. Each is charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence.

The three officers are scheduled to appear in court in Lindsay on October 6.

Rob Stinson, president of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, the union that represents the three officers, said in a statement that this case is tragic for all involved.

Every day, police officers have to make split-second decisions that most people will never – and never want – to have to make, he said. Our members cooperated with the investigation as required by law.

Families, the community and our entire service are affected when a tragedy like this is happening, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Commissioner Thomas Carrique said in a written statement. When the life of an innocent being is lost in an event [like this], it's devastating.

He thanked the audience for his patience awaiting the findings of the SIU and reiterated his confidence in the independent police oversight body.

As the matter is before the courts, both the OPP and the SIU said they would not comment further.

The SIU investigates when civilians are seriously injured or killed during a police intervention or when a police officer is the subject of allegations of sexual assault.

With information from La Presse canadienne

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