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Cop cleared in fatal shooting of west-end man

A Toronto police officer has been cleared in the fatal shooting of a man last February, the province’s police watchdog has concluded.

Frank Berry, 48, was shot twice on the morning of Feb. 20 near Lansdowne Avenue and Dupont Street, and was rushed to St. Michael’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The probe by the Special Investigations Unit concluded Friday that there were no reasonable grounds to charge the officer with a criminal offence.

The officer was conducting surveillance on an unrelated investigation that day when he saw Berry being chased by two area residents who had witnessed him breaking the window of a car on Perth Avenue.

Berry jumped a fence and a foot chase by police occurred that took them in and out of streets.

Berry made ‘jabbing” motions with what police thought was a knife, and he was shot twice when he didn’t obey orders to drop it after being cornered at the end of a passage way between two houses on Campbell Avenue. The bullets entered his torso, killing him.

The weapon turned out to be a pair of scissors.

“…The subject officer was justified in the use of lethal force causing the death of Mr. Berry in these circumstances,” SIU director Ian Scott said in a release. “Mr. Berry advanced toward the subject officer at a distance of less than five feet with an edged weapon in a narrow laneway….The subject officer would have a reasonable apprehension of imminent death or grievous bodily harm to himself.”