SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-TFI-087


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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving police officers where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. The Unit’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.

Information Restrictions

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)

Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
  • Information whose release could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding. 
Pursuant to section 21 of FIPPA (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this document. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Subject Officer name(s);
  • Witness Officer name(s);
  • Civilian Witness name(s);
  • Location information; 
  • Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and 
  • Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.

Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)

Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information may have also been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.

Mandate Engaged

The Unit’s investigative jurisdiction is limited to those incidents where there is a serious injury (including sexual assault allegations) or death in cases involving the police.

“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.

This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into the injury a 43-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On April 15, 2020, at 1:30 a.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s injury. According to TPS, on April 15, 2020 at 12:16 a.m., TPS police officers responded to an ‘emotionally disturbed person’ (EDP) call at a residence in Scarborough. A man [now known to be the Complainant] was knocking at the door asking the occupants to open it.

TPS 43 Division police officers [now known to be the Subject Officer (SO), and Witness Officer (WO) #2 and WO #1] attended, arriving at 12:20 a.m. The Complainant approached them holding a hatchet-type knife. One police officer [now known to be WO #2] deployed a conducted energy weapon (CEW) and another [now known to be WO #1] deployed a less-lethal shotgun. Both less-lethal weapons were ineffective. The SO discharged two rounds from his firearm striking the Complainant in the legs. The Complainant was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and the officers were taken to Scarborough General Hospital for assessments.

The Team

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned:
SIU investigators interviewed civilian and police witnesses and canvassed for additional witnesses using ‘Appeal for Witnesses’ posters attached to and circulated in the apartment building where the incident occurred. SIU investigators also searched for and obtained Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) data relevant to the incident. 
SIU Forensic Investigators made a photographic record and drawing of the arrest scene, and collected exhibits relevant to the incident. Data from CW #2’s CEW and the Complainant’s clothing were also collected, photographed and examined by the SIU Forensic Investigators.


43-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed

Witness Officers

WO #1 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #4 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #5 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #6 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #7 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #8 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #9 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed

Subject Officer

SO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed


The Scene

On April 15, 2020, at 4:45 a.m., an SIU Forensic Investigator arrived at the scene and met with TPS police officers guarding the scene.

One of the elevators had been secured and there were areas of suspected blood on the floor leading from the elevator out to the lobby. A TPS officer in the foyer advised that the suspected blood in that area was from the Complainant while he was being transported out by paramedics. The SIU Forensic Investigator advised the officer that the TPS could release the elevator car as it had no evidentiary value to advance the investigation of the incident that had occurred on the fourth-floor.

The SIU Forensic Investigator proceeded up to the fourth-floor of the building and found it secured and guarded by TPS police officers. The same TPS officer advised the SIU Forensic Investigator that this was the apartment occupied by the Complainant.

The hallway outside the Complainant’s apartment had an east/west bearing. The unit door immediately west of the Complainant’s apartment showed signs of damage in the form of fresh scratches in the paint and wood. Continuing further west towards the elevators, there were signs of CEW deployment. This included a single CEW probe embedded into the carpeting of the hallway and Anti Felon Identification (AFID) tags dispersed onto the carpet east of the elevators.

On the tile floor in front of the elevators’ doors was more evidence of CEW deployment including ‘blast doors’, and AFID tags. Also, on the floor was evidence of less-lethal weapon deployment by means of ‘sock’ rounds, shot shell wadding and shot shell cases.

West of the elevators was a hallway that had a north/south bearing adjoining the east/west hallway. On the carpeted area close to and west of the elevators was more evidence of CEW and less-lethal deployment that included CEW components, AFID tags, shot shell cases, and ‘sock’ round projectiles. Further down this hallway in the area of a stairwell was an open, first aid kit identified as being property of the TPS. Near the doorway to the first apartment south of the stairwell was a single cartridge case, an area of suspected blood, medical waste, a nylon leg restraint, CEW wire and a single sandal. Continuing south along the hallway was a meat cleaver and another cartridge case.

Scene Diagram

Scene diagram

Physical Evidence

After the photographic documentation of the scene by the SIU Forensic Investigators, the following exhibits were collected from the scene:

1 – CEW probe;
2 – AFID tags east of elevator;
3 – CEW blast doors in area of elevators;
4 – ‘sock’ round projectile;
5 – ‘sock’ round projectile;
6 – wadding in area of elevators;
7 – shot shell casing;
8 – ‘sock’ round projectile;
9 – AFID tags west of elevators;
10 – shot shell casing;
11 – shot shell casing;
12 – ‘sock’ round projectile;
13 – shot shell casing;
14 – cartridge case;
15 – nylon leg restraint;
16 – swab of suspected blood;
17 – sandal;
18 – meat cleaver; and
19 – cartridge case.

Figure 1 – SIU photograph of the meat cleaver.

Figure 1 – SIU photograph of the meat cleaver.

On April 15, 2020, at 8:00 a.m., SIU Forensic Investigators collected the following police equipment utilized at the scene:

• Police equipment utilized by WO #1

Remington Model 870 pump action 12-gauge shotgun (less-lethal identified).

• Police equipment utilized by WO #2

CEW cartridges (x2); and
Data from WO #2’s TPS CEW.

• Police equipment utilized by the SO

Glock Model 22, 40 calibre semi-automatic pistol;
Magazine and 11 cartridges removed from the Glock pistol upon proving weapon safe;
One cartridge from breech of the Glock pistol removed upon proving safe; and
Two spare Glock magazines having 14 cartridges each.

Figure 2 – The SO’s firearm.

Figure 2 – The SO’s firearm.


On April 15, 2020, the CEW deployed by WO #2 was armed at 12:30:48 a.m., [1] shown as event sequence 5250, and its trigger actuated at 12:31:05 a.m., and again at 12:31:10 a.m., shown as event sequences 5251 and 5252 respectively, with the trigger actuations consistent with WO #2’s information obtained by the SIU. The battery efficacy at the time of the two, sequential discharges had fallen to 76%.


TPS In-Car Camera System (ICCS) Audio Data

On April 15, 2020, the SO and WO #2 were operating a TPS vehicle equipped with an ICCS. The system includes a forward and rearward-looking camera, in-vehicle microphones, external body-worn microphones and vehicle emergency equipment monitoring. The system could be manually or automatically engaged, the latter when the vehicle’s emergency equipment is actived.

At 12:19:28 a.m., the SO and WO #2 were dispatched to the call at the Complainant’s apartment building and activated the emergency equipment of their vehicle during the response.

At 12:20:29 a.m., the SO and WO #2 arrived at the address and pulled into the driveway on the side of the building and parked. There was already a marked TPS sedan [now known to have been operated by WO #1] stopped on the street in front of the building.

At 12:20:56 a.m., WO #1 was heard saying, “You have your Taser, you have your less-lethal and I have full lethal…hopefully we will not have to use any of it.”

At 12:21:15 a.m., there was the sound of an intercom ringing. The SO said to block the door open. The door buzzer was heard, and the police officers entered the building.

At 12:21:34 a.m., the SO advised the police dispatcher that they had made entry to the building and were using the stairwells, and this was repeated by WO #1 after the police dispatcher requested a repeat of the transmission.

At 12:21:41 a.m., the SO stated, “I wonder if we should take the elevator,” and another man’s voice suggested taking it to the third floor and then the stairs.

At 12:22:01 a.m., the SO stated, “Let’s go out together on the same episode with… (inaudible) …let him go first.”

At 12:22:29 a.m., a loud voice could be heard but what was being said was indiscernible.

At 12:22:36 a.m., WO #1 stated, “Hey,” and a man’s voice [now known to have been the Complainant] replied, “What?” WO #1 asked, “Do you have something in your hand dude? Move away from the door.” The Complainant replied but his response was indiscernible.

At 12:22:47 a.m., the SO stated, “Put it down, put it down, put it down!” Other voices attributed to WO #2 and WO #1, and possibly the Complainant, were heard speaking but nothing of those utterances was discernible.

At 12:22:50 a.m., the Complainant shouted, “Shoot me……. shoot!”

At 12:22:51 a.m., an unidentifiable man’s voice was heard saying, “Put the metal thing down,” followed by the SO saying, “Put it down, put it down, put it down.”

At 12:22:53 a.m., the Complainant shouted, “Shoot!” followed by WO #2 shouting, “Taser, Taser, Taser!” and one second later, at 12:22:54 a.m., the sound of his CEW being deployed was audible.

At 12:22:55 a.m., an unidentifiable man’s voice was heard saying, “Sir, get down, get down.” A loud bang followed by a second similar bang a half of a second later [now known to have been the sound of the first and second discharge of the less-lethal 12-gauge ‘sock’ round shotgun]. The SO then said, “Get down get down!”

At 12:23:00 a.m., a second pop sound of WO #2’s CEW was heard as it was being deployed again, and the audible sound of pain from the Complainant and CEW arcing.

At 12:23:04 a.m., a police dispatcher was heard asking for one of the officers to repeat a transmission.

At 12:23:06 a.m., the third and fourth deployment of the less-lethal shotgun was heard.

The SO was heard saying, “Get down,” ten times between the time of the first CEW deployment and the time of the third and fourth less-lethal shotgun rounds being fired.

At 12:23:11 a.m., the SO was heard shouting, “Go, Go, Go, go around, go around!” and three seconds later, at 12:23:14 a.m., an unidentifiable man’s voice said, “Get down!”

At 12:23:13 a.m. the SO shouted, “Get down!” and then a very loud echoing bang [now known to be the first discharge of the SO’s 40 calibre pistol] was heard followed by the SO shouting again, “Get down!”

At 12:23:15 a.m., the second loud echoing bang [now known to be the second discharge of the SO’s 40 calibre pistol] was heard followed by the SO shouting, “Shots fired, shots fired! and, “Send EMS.”

At 12:23:16 a.m., the SO was again heard saying, “Get down, get down.”

At 12:23:44 a.m., the SO and an unidentifiable man’s voice were heard saying to the Complainant, “Turn on your side.”

At 12:23:48 a.m., the SO was heard saying, “Get something for his leg.” The audio recordings became very broken due to radio wave interference. The SO was leading efforts at first aid, WO #2 was heard descending the stairway and exiting outside and retrieving a first aid kit from the trunk of their vehicle and then running back inside and upstairs.

At 12:25:15 a.m., WO #2 arrived back on the fourth-floor. A woman’s voice [now known to have been WO #6] was audible but indiscernible. The remainder of the recording was of garbled voices while first aid was being provided to the Complainant by police officers pending the arrival of EMS personnel.

Forensic Evidence

Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) Submissions and Results


On April 24, 2020, the SO’s TPS-issued Glock pistol and the two 40 calibre cartridges collected as exhibits were received by the CFS to ascertain whether the two cartridges were fired from the weapon.


On July 14, 2020, the CFS reported that the cartridges were identified “within the limits of practical certainty” as having been fired from the SO’s TPS-issued Glock pistol.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence

The SIU canvassed the area for any video or audio recordings, and photographic evidence, and was able to locate the following sources:
  • CCTV data from the Complainant’s apartment building.

CCTV Data from the Complainant’s Apartment Building

CCTV video footage was provided to the SIU by the property manager and showed a view of the interior of the elevators in the Complainant’s apartment building. On April 15, 2020 at 12:03:15 a.m. [date and time stamp], WO #2, WO #1 and the SO enter the elevator and 19 seconds later exit on the third-floor to take the last flight of stairs up to the fourth-floor. At 12:04:20 a.m., WO #6 and WO #9 enter the elevator. As they arrive at the fourth-floor, WO #9 has his gun drawn and checks the hallway for officer safety.

Police Communications Recordings

Audio recordings were received upon request from the TPS that contained relevant information regarding this investigation. Where the recordings contained conversations of significant relevance to the investigation, they have been transcribed. Other conversations have been summarized to capture their relevance.

Call #1 time received 1:45:06 a.m., on April 8, 2020, ending at 1:47:39 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Operator
CW #1

Summary of call:
  • CW #1 called to report that a man [now known to have been the Complainant] was banging at her apartment door. Banging could be heard on the audio recording.
  • CW #1 advised that she knew the Complainant had mental health issues as he had urinated on her door in the past.
  • CW #1 was unable to discern what the Complainant was saying, but he was talking constantly.
  • CW #1 described the Complainant’s appearance.

Call #2 time received 11:28:32 a.m., on April 8, 2020, ending at 11:31:41 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Operator
• Building superintendent

Summary of call:
  • The building superintendent reported that he had been advised that a tenant in his building [now known to have been the Complainant] was in his apartment shouting at himself. Police had been to the apartment in the earlier hours of the morning when the Complainant had been banging on another resident’s door.
  • He had been aware that the Complainant suffered from mental health issues and been taken to hospital twice in the past and advised the TPS operator of this.
  • He knew the name of the Complainant, provided a physical description and indicated that he was suffering from mental health issues.
  • The building superintendent advised that to his knowledge the Complainant had never been violent with police in the past and was not known to possess any weapons other than “the usual knives”.
  • He was advised that police would be dispatched to the address.

Call #3 time received 12:16:14 a.m., on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:21:17 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Operator
CW #1

Summary of call:
  • CW #1 contacted 911 requesting police to respond to her apartment building as another resident [now known to have been the Complainant] was banging at her door, as he had done the previous week requiring her to call police.
  • CW #1 advised that she did not know the Complainant’s name but knew that he was schizophrenic and that he had urinated on and repeatedly struck her door in the past.
  • CW #1 chain-locked her door in fear of the Complainant breaking through the door.
  • At 12:17:02 a.m., CW #1 advised that the Complainant had a knife. In the background a man, believed to be CW #2, was heard speaking loudly.
  • CW #1 advised that they could see the Complainant through the peep-hole in the door but were unable to see the knife; they could only hear it being scraped against the door and noise of scratching could be heard in the background at 12:18:05 a.m.
  • The operator advised to stay away from the door and not to engage with the Complainant so as not to agitate him further.
  • At 12:19:00 a.m., CW #1 said the scratching had stopped and the Complainant could be heard moving about. The operator again cautioned them not to open the door.
  • At 12:19:20 a.m., the operator asked for and received an entry code from CW #1.
  • At 12:19:33 a.m., CW #1 advised that the Complainant was still scratching at the door.
  • At 12:19:44 a.m., the operator asked if CW #1 could tell what the Complainant was saying and she advised that she was too far from the door to discern what he was saying.
  • CW #1 provided a description of the occurrence from April 8, 2020.
  • At 12:20:27 a.m., the operator advised that responding TPS units were marking themselves on scene at that time.
  • The operator asked CW #1 to stay inside her residence and asked questions regarding Covid-19 protocol.
  • At 12:21:06 a.m., the operator said that TPS members were marking themselves off downstairs.

Call #4 time received 12:18:12 a.m. on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:19:19 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Dispatch Supervisor
• Officer from TPS Emergency Task Force (ETF)

Summary of call:
  • At 12:18:12 a.m., Dispatch Supervisor was made aware of an “EDP with a knife” call at the Complainant’s apartment building.
  • Dispatch Supervisor notified the ETF officer of the call to the apartment building and that the party was armed with a knife. The officer asked if it was a “real knife” this time and was advised, “It is an EDP with one.”
  • At 12:19:06 a.m., Dispatch Supervisor notified TPS Operations of “an EDP with a knife” at the Complainant’s street address.

Call #5 time received 12:23:32 a.m., on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:24:38 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Dispatch Ringdown (TPS DR)
• Toronto Ambulance Dispatch (TAD)

Summary of call:
  • At 12:23:49 a.m., TPS DR requested an ambulance to the Complainant’s building address and the TAD inquired if this was a new one.
  • TPS DR advises they were needed at a specific apartment number for a 45-year-old male shot with the ‘less-lethal’ and needs to be checked out.
  • TA DR inquired what was deployed and was again told ‘less-lethal’ and she asked, “Do you mean taser?” The TPS DR replied it was probably “a projectile like a bean bag kind of thing.” Patient was conscious and breathing and was not bleeding.

Call #6 time received 12:23:43 a.m., on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:24:54 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Dispatch Supervisor

Summary of call:

  • Dispatch Supervisor was heard responding over police radio, “10-4 rolling DAS [now known to be Toronto Emergency Medical Service] ‘less-lethal’ was deployed” while waiting for ambulance dispatch to pick up the line.
  • Dispatch Supervisor requested ambulance to the address of the Complainant’s apartment, fourth-floor
  • At 12:24:26 a.m., Dispatch Supervisor was heard replying on the police radio, “10-4 conscious and breathing, gunshot wound to the leg,” while on the line with the ambulance dispatcher, then at 12:24:34 a.m., Dispatch Supervisor stated, “We deployed the less lethal, conscious and breathing.”

Call #7 time received 12:25:01 a.m., on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:26:23 a.m.

Identified parties:

Summary of call:
  • At 12:25:07 a.m., the telephone was ringing and TPS DR was heard saying, “Shot in both legs.”
  • At 12:25:28 a.m., TPS DR on the line with TAD when he was told by someone that a firearm and CEW were deployed. TPS DR advised TAD that the man was shot in the upper thighs of both legs and TAD inquired, “You mean with real bullets?” and was told that they were still trying to determine that.
  • At 12:25:54 a.m., TPS DR advised it was a ‘less-lethal’ that the man was shot with, as well as a firearm and a CEW.

Call #8 time received 12:26:05 a.m., on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:26:19 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Dispatch Supervisor
• Unknown party/group

Summary of call:
  • Dispatch Supervisor spoke with a man who asked if this was part of the call to the Complainant’s address and when told it was, he responded that they were listening.

Call #9 time received 12:26:26 a.m., on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:27:14 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Dispatch Supervisor

Summary of call:

  • At 12:26:34 a.m., Dispatch Supervisor replied on the police radio while the telephone to the ambulance dispatch was still ringing, saying, “10-4, all officers are 10-4 and accounted, all officers okay, updating ambulance now.”
  • Dispatch Supervisor advised ambulance dispatcher, “Shot with ‘less-lethal’, also shot with firearm into the leg and was Tasered.” TAD confirmed that he was shot with a firearm and that they are on their way.

Call #10 time received 12:26:44 a.m., on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:27:22 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Dispatch Supervisor
• Officer from TPS ETF

Summary of call:
  • At 12:26:44 a.m., Dispatch Supervisor asked if he was aware of what was happening at the Complainant’s address and the TPS ETF officer asked if he meant the person with a knife call and that he had not been listening. Dispatch Supervisor advised that the ‘less-lethal’ had been deployed.

Call #11 time received 12:30:01 a.m., on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:30:47 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Dispatch Supervisor

Summary of call:

  • Dispatch Supervisor was requesting an estimated time of arrival of the ambulance responding to the Complainant’s building on behalf of the TPS members on scene and was advised that the ambulance crew was nearby.

Call #12 time received 12:32:24 a.m., on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:32:51 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Dispatch Supervisor
TPS Dispatch

Summary of call:

  • TPS Dispatch Supervisor called TPS Dispatch for an update on the call at the Complainant’s apartment building.
  • TPS Dispatch advised that police officers on scene advised that they have deployed the ‘less-lethal’, a firearm and a CEW.

Call #13 time received 12:34:08 a.m., on April 15, 2020, ending at 12:34:26 a.m.

Identified parties:
TPS Dispatch Supervisor
TPS Dispatch

Summary of call:
  • TPS Dispatch Supervisor requested that TPS Dispatch obtain the badge numbers of the police officers who deployed the use of force equipment.

Materials obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from TPS:
  • Call Hardcopies (x4);
  • Communications and 911 call audio recordings;
  • Email from TPS Firearm Identification Numbers-seized firearms;
  • Firearm Discharge Report;
  • General Occurrence Hardcopies (x3);
  • General Occurrence-Records Release Versadex and Supplementary Reports;
  • ICCS data;
  • Intergraph Computer-Aided Dispatch;
  • Injury Report;
  • Notes-the SO;
  • Notes-WO #6;
  • Notes-WO #4;
  • Notes-WO #3;
  • Notes-WO #5;
  • Notes-WO #2;
  • Notes-WO #1;
  • Notes-WO #7;
  • Notes-WO #8;
  • Notes-WO #9;
  • Photographs;
  • Police Firearms Acquired report;
  • Record of Arrest;
  • Training Record-WO #2 Use of Force;
  • Training Record-WO #2 X2 Taser;
  • Training Record-WO #1 Less Lethal Shotgun;
  • Training Record-WO #1 Use of Force;
  • Training Record-WO #1 X2 Taser;
  • Training Record-the SO Use of Force;
  • TPS Use of Force policy;
  • TPS Emotionally Disturbed Persons policy; and
  • Victim and Civilian Witness List.

Materials obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from non-police sources:
  • Medical records for the Complainant; and
  • CCTV data from the Complainant’s apartment building.

Incident Narrative

The material events in question are clear on the evidence thanks to statements provided by the Complainant, the SO, two witness officers (present at the time of the shooting) and a number of civilian witnesses who saw and heard parts of the incident as it unfolded. The investigation also benefitted from a review of the police communications recordings, which included audio captured of the events via a body-worn microphone from an ICCS, and forensic examination of the scene and items of evidence, including the firearm that was discharged.

At about 12:16 a.m. on April 15, 2020, CW #1 made a 911 call to police. She was calling to report that a fellow resident of her Scarborough apartment building – the Complainant, whom she knew to be schizophrenic, was banging on her door asking to be let in. According to CW #1, the Complainant had with him a knife, which he was using to scrape at the door. CW #1 was fearful for her and her family’s safety. Police officers were dispatched to the address.

In the company of WO #2, his trainee that day, the SO arrived at the apartment building at about 12:21 a.m. They met with WO #1 near the entrance to the building and planned how they would approach the scene. They decided to take the elevator up to the third-floor and, from there, the stairs to the fourth-floor so as to avoid a situation in which they were immediately confronted as the elevator doors opened. It was also decided that WO #1, who was armed with a less-lethal shotgun, [2] would take the lead, followed by WO #2 who would have his CEW at the ready in the event the shotgun failed to incapacitate the Complainant. Lastly, the SO would bring up the rear with his handgun should lethal force be necessary.

The trio of officers arrived on the fourth-floor and exited the stairwell doors into a north/south hallway. Hearing noises emanating from their right side, they proceeded to make their way north along the corridor. WO #1 walked with his shotgun along the east wall with WO #2 and the SO in tow and reached a corner where the north/south hallway branched right in an east/west orientation. As the officers turned the corner, they could see the Complainant about 15 metres down the hallway in front of the door to an apartment. He had a cleaver in his right hand and a prosthetic left leg below the thigh.

WO #1 continued eastward down the east/west hallway and called out to the Complainant, asking what he had in his hand. The Complainant turned to face the officers, cleaver held at his chest or shoulder level, and started walking in their direction. The officers began to walk backward shouting at him to drop the cleaver and the Complainant shouted back demanding the officers shoot him as he continued to advance. When the distance between the parties had closed to between five and six metres, WO #1 fired his shotgun at the Complainant. The projectiles met their mark but failed to deter the Complainant. At about the same time, WO #2 discharged his CEW at the Complainant with no effect. The officers yelled at the Complainant to “get down” while continuing to back up.

As the officers neared the end of the east/west hallway, WO #2 fired his CEW a second time from a distance of about three to four metres. The discharge immobilized the Complainant but only temporarily. Shortly thereafter, WO #1 fired twice more at the Complainant. By this time, the officers had rounded the corner and were making their way southward down the north/south hallway. Again, though the rounds appear to have struck the Complainant, he continued to make his way toward the officers, cleaver held high.

With the officers in and around the area of the stairwell doors from which they had come, the SO fired his gun twice as the Complainant neared to within two to three metres. The rounds entered the outer aspect of the Complainant’s left thigh. One of them perforated the left leg and entered the Complainant’s inner right thigh. The Complainant stumbled forward a distance and fell to the floor. The SO moved toward the Complainant and kicked the cleaver out of his right hand.

Shortly after the shooting, additional officers began to arrive on scene and assisted in administering first aid to the Complainant. Tourniquets were fashioned and applied to the Complainant’s legs and bandages were placed over his wounds.

Paramedics arrived on the scene and the Complainant was taken to hospital, where he was treated and admitted for psychiatric examination.

Relevant Legislation

Section 34, Criminal Code -- Defence of person - Use of threat of force

34 (1) A person is not guilty of an offence if
(a) They believe on reasonable grounds that force is being used against them or another person or that a threat of force is being made against them or another person; 
(b) The act that constitutes the offence is committed for the purpose of defending or protecting themselves or the other person from that use or threat of force; and
(c) The act committed is reasonable in the circumstances.
(2) In determining whether the act committed is reasonable in the circumstances, the court shall consider the relevant circumstances of the person, the other parties and the act, including, but not limited to, the following factors:
(a) the nature of the force or threat;
(b) the extent to which the use of force was imminent and whether there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force;
(c) the person’s role in the incident;
(d) whether any party to the incident used or threatened to use a weapon; 
(e) the size, age, gender and physical capabilities of the parties to the incident;
(f) the nature, duration and history of any relationship between the parties to the incident, including any prior use or threat of force and the nature of that force or threat;
(f.1) any history of interaction or communication between the parties to the incident;
(g) the nature and proportionality of the person’s response to the use or threat of force; and 
(h) whether the act committed was in response to a use or threat of force that the person knew was lawful.

Analysis and Director's Decision

In the early morning hours of April 15, 2020, in the fourth-floor corridor of the apartment building at which he resided, the Complainant was shot and injured by a TPS police officer – the SO. The SO was identified as the subject officer for purposes of the SIU investigation which ensued. The investigation having been concluded, I am satisfied that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO committed a criminal offence in connection with the shooting.

Section 34 of the Criminal Code defines the limits within which an act that would otherwise constitute an offence is justified in the defence of oneself or another from a reasonably apprehended attack, actual or threatened. In essence, such an act is lawful if it is reasonable in the circumstances, including with a view to such considerations as the nature of the force or threat; the extent to which the use of force was imminent and whether there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force; and, whether any party to the incident used or threatened to use a weapon. In my view, the lethal force used by the SO was justified pursuant to section 34.

At the outset, it is important to note that the SO, WO #2 and WO #1 were in the lawful discharge of their duties when they entered the fourth-floor hallway and confronted the Complainant. They were there in response to an emergency 911 call to police from a resident on the fourth-floor reporting that the Complainant was mentally unwell, armed with a knife and attempting to enter her apartment. Indeed, they located the Complainant in front of the very same apartment on the fourth-floor.

Each of the officers indicated in their statements to the SIU that the Complainant represented a real and serious threat to their health and safety as he began to pursue them with a cleaver in hand. There is nothing in the evidence to cast doubt on the veracity of their stated mindsets. On the contrary, an objective assessment of the circumstances that prevailed at the time, discussed below, lends credence to their evidence.

The first and perhaps most important piece of evidence is the cleaver that the Complainant was holding. It was recovered by the SIU in the north/south fourth-floor hallway a short distance from where the Complainant fell after he was shot. It was entirely metal in construction with a blade measuring about 18 centimetres long by 8 centimetres wide. Clearly, the cleaver was capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm or death.

The evidence also clearly establishes that the Complainant was approaching the officers with the cleaver held high in his right hand, and that he was doing so in a threatening fashion. Despite being told repeatedly to stop and drop the cleaver, he continued to advance on the officers while challenging them to “shoot him”. I accept that the Complainant was not of sound mind at the time and that his behaviour was the unfortunate product of what appears to have been longstanding mental illness. That said, the officers did not have the luxury of time to do otherwise than react to the dangerous situation unfolding before them; not more than 40 had seconds elapsed from the moment they first encountered the Complainant until shots were fired.

The tactical considerations brought to bear by the officers and the sequence of events leading to the shooting are compelling and instructive. The officers went in with a plan, namely, that they would first use less-lethal force should the need arise and only resort to a firearm as a last option. I am unable to fault the officers for having their weapons at the ready as they made their way onto the fourth-floor given the information they had been provided about a knife in the Complainant’s possession. It is also telling that the words first exchanged with the Complainant amounted to an inquiry by WO #1 asking about the object in his hand. It is true that the substance and tone of the conversation quickly became loud and confrontational, but that seems to have occurred only after the Complainant turned toward the officers and started to walk in their direction. Even then, the officers refrained for a period before WO #2 and WO #1, in accordance with what they had agreed, discharged their weapons at the Complainant from a distance of about five to six metres. The Complainant continued to approach the officers and was met again with a further discharge from WO #2’s CEW when he had closed the gap to about three to four metres. While the Complainant seemed to seize up from the CEW discharge, he did not drop the cleaver and was soon able to continue to make his way forward. About six seconds after the second CEW discharge, WO #1 fired his shotgun a third and fourth time. Despite being hit by the rounds, the Complainant kept coming and was finally felled by two shots fired from the SO’s handgun. On this record, it is clear that the officers acted proportionately in dealing with the threat level as it evolved and only resorted to lethal force when their attempts at lesser force had failed to neutralize the Complainant and at a point when the Complainant was within two to three metres of the officers. At that range, equipped with a cleaver and disposed as he was, there can be little doubt that the Complainant represented an imminent risk of death or grievous bodily harm to the lives of the SO, WO #2 and WO #1. Even then, the SO took aim at the Complainant’s lower body for fear that a missed round aimed at his chest could enter an apartment and harm a resident. That decision not only mitigated the risks of third-party casualties but may well also have prevented the Complainant’s death.

On the aforementioned-record, there is insufficient evidence to reasonably conclude that the force used by the SO, and that of WO #2 and WO #1 for that matter, fell outside the scope of legal justification. On the contrary, I am persuaded that the officers’ conduct fell within the range of what was reasonably necessary in the circumstances to protect against a real and immediate threat to life and limb. More specifically, with respect to the SO, the evidence satisfies me that having waited as long as he did to fire his weapon, he could wait no longer given the Complainant’s proximity and the resulting jeopardy to the officers’ lives.

As this case involved an individual who was injured in an interaction with police while in a mental health crisis, the question is raised regarding the possible deployment of the TPS Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT). The teams bring together officers specifically trained in de-escalation techniques with mental health nurses to rapidly respond to situations involving “emotionally disturbed persons”. They are part of the police service’s strategy for achieving positive outcomes when dealing with persons threatening self-harm or harm to others because of behaviour attributable to a mental or emotional crisis. Whether these resources were available or not at the time officers were dispatched to the scene, it is apparent that the MCIT would not have been deployed as the policy governing the teams preclude their use as first responders to incidents involving weapons. This was such a case.

In the final analysis, as I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the SO, and WO #2 and WO #1, conducted themselves lawfully and used only force that was justified pursuant to section 34 of the Criminal Code, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case against the officers. The file is closed.

Date: January 25, 2021

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) The times associated with the CEW data are produced by the weapon and are not necessarily synchronous with actual time. [Back to text]
  • 2) A Remington Model 870 12-gauge “sock gun” which fires bean bags filled with lead shot pellets. [Back to text]


The signed English original report is authoritative, and any discrepancy between that report and the French and English online versions should be resolved in favour of the original English report.