(AFP)— Three Canadian police officers have been charged with manslaughter over the death of a one-and-a-half-year-old child during a shooting in Ontario in 2020, the government announced Wednesday.
Jameson Shapiro died in Kawartha Lakes, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Toronto, on November 26, 2020 during a shootout between his father and police. Shapiro was in his father’s pickup truck when he was shot, dying instantly.
The case has made national headlines in Canada, where firearms-related incidents account for less than three per cent of all violent crimes.
“The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has reasonable grounds to believe that three Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers committed criminal offences in relation to the death of 18-month-old Jameson Shapiro,” the independent federal agency said in a statement.
“As a result, Director Martino has caused charges to be laid against each of the officers,” the SIU said, adding that since the case was now a matter for the courts, it would “make no further comment pertaining to this investigation.”
Each of the three police agents is accused of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death. They had all used their firearms, according to previous SIU statements.
In February 2021, the SIU concluded that “the child’s death… was the result of being shot by police.”
The SIU had said earlier that the police officers had been informed of a father illegally taking off with his son. They spotted the pickup truck and tried to intercept it.
Shapiro’s father, 33, was severely wounded during the shootout and died in a hospital a few days later. An officer was also seriously injured.
The three agents will be required to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice on October 6.