Officer cleared in 2017 Morrisburg O.P.P. station shooting

MORRISBURG – Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has cleared an SD&G O.P.P. officer in the December 2017 shooting death of Babak Saidi outside the Morrisburg O.P.P. detachment.

In his decision, SIU Director Tony Loparco concluded the two officers involved in a fight with the 43-year-old Saidi outside the Fifth Street West detachment were justified in trying to arrest him and that the subject officer’s actions were warranted to protect their lives.

Saidi was at the police station Dec. 23, 2017 to sign in as part of conditions for a prior conviction. Police had planned to arrest him at the detachment in relation to a threat on Dec. 20, 2017, where a salesman claimed they had been threatened at knife point. Loparco concluded that the arrest that day was justified.

After the two officers told Saidi they were going to arrest him, the man turned and went to walk out of the building. That’s when the subject officer of the investigation grabbed hold of Saidi’s arm to prevent him from leaving, believing he was going to flee. Saidi resisted, biting the officer. The officer then punched Saidi several times, trying to get him to release his hold.

All three tumbled out of the detachment doors and a fight started on the ground. In a rapid turn of events, the subject officer was cut after being struck in the head with his radio, the officer pulled his taser and fired, but the weapon had no effect on Saidi, who was then able to grab hold of the taser and fire it a second time, Loparco described in his report.

A nearby witness – the family friend who drove Saidi to the station – described the situation as a “very serious and violent wrestling match.”

That’s when the officer pulled his gun. Saidi then tried to grab the officer’s gun and the officer fired five times, striking the victim each time. Three of the wounds – two through the upper back on one through the right shoulder — proved to be fatal after striking vital organs and arteries.

Loparco’s report also addressed shooting the victim in the back. “While at first blush this may raise some question with respect to the justification of the shooting of the Complainant, it is without dispute, based on the video evidence, that the Complainant and the SO (subject officer) were involved in a struggle at the time that the SO discharged his firearm, and that the actions and position of the Complainant left the SO with few choices.” The two officers and Saidi were in a small building alcove and Loparco noted that the officer had few options because he could have risked shooting himself or could have had his gun taken away.

Loparco noted the time from when Saidi entered the detachment to sign in until the final shot was fired was less than two minutes (105 seconds).

The director described the whole situation as a “very violent, fast moving, adrenaline-pumping, and frightening situation, with both officers describing a fear both for their own lives and the lives of each other.”

Loparco concluded that he was “satisfied on reasonable grounds on this record that the actions exercised by the SO (subject officer), despite the tragic loss of life, fell within the limits prescribed by the criminal law and there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.”