Charges of criminal negligence causing death against a member of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) for the death of Debra Chrisjohn have been dropped.
Late Monday night, Chrisjohn’s family sent out a statement saying they were disappointed Const. Mark McKillop will not have to face the charges.
“The decision by the Crown… is hard for the family to understand,” said Debra Chrisjohn’s sister, Brittany, in the statement. “We hope that everyone who played a role will be held accountable.”
Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) charged the two police officers with the death of Chrisjohn, 39, a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames.
According to a release from the SIU in July, McKillop, and London Police Service (LPS) Const. Nicholas Doering faced one charge each of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessities of life.
The family says Doering will still face those charges.
“Debra was my best friend and a beautiful person,” said her sister Ruby. “Her life ended far too soon.”
In response to calls made to 911 in the late afternoon hours of September 7, 2016, London Police Service officers were dispatched to the area of Trafalgar Street and Highbury Avenue North. Chrisjohn was arrested by LPS and transferred on an outstanding warrant into the custody of Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers with the Elgin County detachment. At 7:52 p.m., Emergency Medical Services transported Chrisjohn to St. Thomas Hospital.
Ms. Chrisjohn was pronounced dead at 8:43 p.m.
“Without knowing the specific details surrounding the death of Debra, it is difficult for the family to assess the decision by the office of the Crown attorney,” said Caitlyn Kasper, a lawyer at Aboriginal Legal Services and counsel for the family in the statement.
“However, we know that as this active prosecution moves towards preliminary inquiry or trial, more details will emerge.
“In the meantime, I certainly expect that the Ontario Provincial Police will be thoroughly reviewing the actions of Const. McKillop to determine if there were breaches of the Police Services Act.”