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Former OPP commissioner questions SIU involvement in Midland man's death after police dog bite


A post-mortem is being conducted on Dale Lewis, who died in the hospital on Sunday, nearly one month after being bitten by a police dog.

Police say the 45-year-old man barricaded himself inside a Midland apartment for nearly nine hours on Oct. 13.

In a video obtained by CTV News from inside the apartment building that night, an officer can be heard insisting Lewis exit the unit.

"Come to the front door with nothing in your hand, and you'll be contacted by the police," the officer said.

A police release from OPP stated officers were answering a gun-related call in the Bay Street and Second Avenue area that afternoon that led to the lengthy standoff at the William Street apartment complex.

In the video, the officer warns Lewis that the OPP K9 unit was on the scene.

"We have a police dog, and if he finds you, and he will find you, he will bite you," the officer said through the door.

"Dale, we're not here to hurt you. We just want to resolve this peacefully," the officer added in the Oct. 13 video.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said an OPP service dog located and bit the man, who was then arrested.

Provincial police reported he suffered minor injuries.

According to the SIU, he was incarcerated following his arrest and later ended up in the hospital.

He died on Sunday.

The SIU is conducting a probe into the circumstances surrounding his death.

"Certainly, police K9 units have bitten people and injured them over the years; that kind of comes with the turf, but someone actually dying as a result of that is a very rare occurrence," said Chris Lewis, CTV Public Safety Analyst and former OPP commissioner.

Lewis said he found it odd the SIU would investigate the man's death, adding, "Unless, of course, the police didn't pull the dog off after the dog started to attack the individual. If that was the case, then perhaps there's a case of criminal negligence there, but that's very highly unlikely."

The SIU said based on preliminary information, there is a connection between the dog bite and the man's death.

"Obviously, there's an infection or some other medical cause of death here. That'll be very important in determining the circumstances in relation to the action by police.

If he died from something that was unrelated, just happened to be because he was at the hospital for the dog bite, then that would be something altogether different, and SIU shouldn't be involved," the former OPP commissioner said.

Police reported a search of the William Street apartment turned up weapons and drugs, including opioids, cocaine, and magic mushrooms.

Lewis said the situation could have been avoided if the suspect had surrendered to the police.

"When a dog bites somebody and, minor injuries occur, and then they die later, how is that the fault of the police. If the individual had cooperated from the beginning, this situation wouldn't even have occurred," he concluded.

Three investigators with the SIU have been assigned to the case.

The SIU is called in anytime police are involved in an incident that results in death, serious injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a weapon at another person. Top Stories

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