Watchdog clears London cop of wrongdoing in downtown shooting
November 29, 2021 By Canadian Press / Local Journalism Initiative
Nov. 26, 2021, London, Ont. – Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared a London cop who shot a knife-wielding man outside a downtown apartment this summer.
London Police responded about 10:30 p.m. on July 27 to a report of a domestic disturbance at a home on Dufferin Avenue, near city hall, where a suspect armed with two knives ran toward three officers, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said in its just-released decision.
The man refused to drop the weapons and stop advancing down the driveway toward the officers, the SIU said. Two officers used a taser and a third officer fired his gun twice at the man, who suffered gunshot wounds to the thigh and hand and was taken to hospital, the watchdog said.
“Despite repeated warnings to stop his advance on the officers, the complainant continued forward, knives pointed at the officers,” SIU director Joseph Martino wrote in his decision.
That man was hit with a Taser twice, Martino noted, before being shot with a gun.
Audio evidence examined by the SIU showed a woman called police to report a disturbance at her home, where the man had locked her outside, the SIU report shows.
Noting the man had knives in his hands, the woman told the officer he had said there would be a “blood bath” that night and he would slit his wrists, the watchdog said. The call also shows the woman recalled the man expressed in the past “he wanted ‘suicide by cop,’” the watchdog said.
The 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 count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He was released on bail on Aug. 13.
The police officer under investigation, whose name wasn’t made public, declined to do an interview with SIU investigators or provide their notes, as is the officer’s legal right, the SIU said.
This was “a reasonable use of force,” Martino noted in his decision.
Ontario’s watchdog probes all police-involved deaths, serious injuries and allegations of sexual assault.
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