Officers justified in chasing teenager who fell from cliff and drowned: watchdog

Nova Scotia's police watchdog says officers were justified in running after a 15-year-old boy who was later found dead on a Cape Breton shoreline after falling from a jagged cliff.

The province's Serious Incident Response Team says police were called to a gathering of teenagers in Sydney Mines last Dec. 28 after reports that a male discharged bear spray.

The team says the teenagers, who had been drinking, were outside of the house when officers arrived and then ran off.

Three boys hid in trees behind the house, while the 15-year-old boy ran towards a neighbouring house roughly 160 metres away, prompting officers to chase after him.

The team says the boy was not familiar with the area and fell from a high cliff near the house, drowning in the water below.

His body was found on Jan. 1st.

The watchdog says evidence confirms there was no contact between police and the boy, so charges are not warranted.

It says officers were justified in attempting to catch up with him, as it was reasonable to believe he could have been responsible for discharging the bear spray.