August 28, 2012
Watchdog clears cop in teen's fall
By DAN DAKIN, QMI Agency
NIAGARA FALLS, ONT. - Ontario's police watchdog says it wasn't a Niagara Falls cop's fault the 18-year-old suspect he was chasing fell into a gorge and died.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has cleared Const. Jacob Smits in the death of Ryan Dube.
Both Dube and the Niagara Regional Police officer went over the gorge on July 24 and fell more than 40 metres. Dube died at the scene, while Smits broke his leg.
Ian Scott, the director of the SIU — which investigates contact between police and the public that results in serious injury or death — said there are no reasonable grounds to charge Smits with a criminal offence.
“He had the lawful authority to arrest Mr. Dube based upon an outstanding warrant and the authority to apprehend him after he fled the lawful custody,” said Scott.
"Unfortunately, Mr. Dube chose to escape apprehension by jumping over a retaining wall and placing himself in significant jeopardy."
Dube was wanted on an outstanding warrant for breach of probation.
After Dube's death, his family held a vigil for him and said he was a well-liked young man who would go out of his way to help family and friends.
"Yes, he had his ups and downs. Yes, he did some silly things on his own, but that's part of being a kid and that's part of growing up and learning who you are," said Dube's mother Tara Ross.
"Ryan was the kind of person if he saw somebody in trouble, he would stop dead in his tracks to help them. He went to jail to protect the people he knew could not handle it."