OPP Association responds to charges against Chatham-Kent officer

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The OPP Association has issued a statement after a member of the Chatham-Kent OPP Detachment was charged in connection to a shooting death.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit announced Friday that Constable Sean O’Rourke has been charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of criminal negligence causing death relating to an on duty incident in July 2021.

OPP Association President Rob Stinson says in a statement "The OPP Association supports Provincial Constable Sean O’Rourke of the Chatham-Kent OPP Detachment, and all of our members who acted in the good faith performance of their duties on the night of July 7, 2021, while responding to a call for service on Highway 401 near Ridgetown, Ontario.  Our members have cooperated as mandated by law with the investigation led by the Special Investigations Unit.  It was an absolutely tragic event. Our lawyers will vigorously defend the actions of our officer in a court of law. The upcoming judicial process will be long and stressful for all impacted and we urge all OPPA Members who are impacted by this incident to reach out for professional and or peer mental health supports."

The SIU launched an investigation in July 2021 and concluded there are reasonable grounds to believe that an Ontario Provincial Police officer committed criminal offences in relation to the shooting death.

The investigation found that on July 7, 2021, the Chatham-Kent OPP responded to a call about a gasoline theft.

Officers located a vehicle believed to be involved travelling westbound on Highway 401 and followed it.

The vehicle ended up in the ditch dividing the highway.

The SIU says one of the officers approached the vehicle, and his firearm discharged and shot the driver, with the 24-year-old man later dying in the hospital.

O’Rourke will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice at 425 Grand Ave. W. in Chatham on Feb. 16, 2022.

The Special Investigation Unit is a civilian oversight agency responsible for investigating interaction between the police and the public that have resulted in a death, serious injury, or allegations of sexual assault.