SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OFI-100
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Mandate of the SIU
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.
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.
- 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.
Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation 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.
“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 a serious injury sustained by a 29-year-old man (the Complainant)
Notification of the SIUOn May 2, 2020 at 11:20 a.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) contacted the SIU to report an incident. According to the PRP, on May 2, 2020 at 9:23 a.m., PRP went to an address in Mississauga. An individual had called the police to report that a family member had come to her house and said she “killed her husband”. Police officers went to the home of the family member at Holden Crescent. The officers entered the house and found the Complainant cutting his throat with a knife. the Complainant saw the police officers and ran at them brandishing a knife. The SO discharged her firearm striking the Complainant.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Complainant:29-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed
CW #6 Interviewed
CW #7 Interviewed
CW #8 Interviewed
CW #9 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
Additionally, the notes from one other officer was received and reviewed.
Subject OfficersSO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right
The SceneThe scene was in the backyard of a residence in Holden Crescent. The entrance to the backyard was through a gate at the end of the driveway. A large shed in the backyard had a large pooling of blood and a single shoe, glasses and a cellular telephone.
Physical EvidenceThe following items were collected at the scene:
- 3 cartridge cases;
- 6 Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) probes;
- CEW wires;
- A CEW;
- 5 CEW blast doors;
- 2 CEW anti-felon identification tags;
- Black jacket (2 pieces); and
- Purple track pants.
Figure 1 - The serrated knife that the Complainant wielded.
Figure 2 - The paring knife that was found in the vicinity of where the Complainant fell.
WO #4’s CEW Taser X2 was armed at 9:32:07 a.m..  At 9:32:19 a.m., the CEW was triggered and cartridge one was deployed for a five second duration and cartridge two was deployed for a seven second duration. At 9:32:27 a.m., the CEW was triggered with cartridge two deployed giving a thirteen second duration. At 9:32:29 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a ten second duration. At 9:32:44 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a three second duration. At 9:32:50 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a three second duration. At 9:32:56 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a one second duration. At 9:33:00 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a two second duration. At 9:33:10 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a one second duration. At 9:34:34 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a seven second duration. At 9:34:43 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a seven second duration. At 9:34:55 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a one second duration. At 9:40:13 a.m., the CEW was made safe and, at 9:40:15 a.m., the CEW was again armed. At 9:40:49 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a four second duration. At 9:40:56 a.m., the arc button was depressed with cartridges one and two already deployed for a four second duration. At 9:41:19 a.m., the CEW was made safe, at 9:41:23 a.m., the CEW was again armed. At 9:41:23 the CEW was made safe.
WO #1’s CEW “Taser” X2 was armed at 9:31:50 a.m. The CEW was triggered and cartridge one was deployed for a five second duration.
The SO’s CEW “Taser” was armed at 9:35:23 a.m. and, at 9:35:27 a.m., the CEW was made safe. At 9:36:13 a.m., it was armed again and, at 9:36:28 a.m., the CEW was made safe. At 9:37:25 a.m., it was armed again. At 9:38:48 a.m., the CEW was triggered and cartridge one was deployed for a five second duration. At 9:38:56 a.m., the CEW was triggered again with cartridge one already deployed for a five second duration. At 9:40:39 a.m., the CEW was made safe with cartridge one deployed and cartridge two non-deployed.
Cellular Telephone Video from a Civilian
Communications RecordingsThe PRP provided a copy of the communications recording for May 2, 2020.
At 9:14:02 a.m., a man called 911 to report a two-vehicle motor-vehicle collision on Burnhamthorpe Road and Cawthra Road. One of the involved drivers [known to be the Complainant] fled the scene on foot toward Hassell Street and commandeered a bicycle. At 9:15:04 a.m., a second man called 911 to report the Complainant fleeing a motor vehicle collision, pushing an old man off his bicycle and going towards Holden Crescent. The caller was about 20 houses away and saw the Complainant fighting with someone in a backyard. At 9:17:34 a.m., a woman called 911 to report a motor vehicle collision and that the Complainant had fled towards Hassell Street. Apparently, the Complainant was driving in and out of traffic on Highway (Hwy) 410 when he exited on Cawthra Road.
At 9:22:24 a.m., a woman [known to be Civilian Witness (CW) #2] called 911. CW #2 said a family member [known to be CW #4] and her husband were in the house. She just came by saying somebody killed her husband. The dispatcher asked her to stay on the phone and they were getting help. The dispatcher asked where the husband was and CW #2 said someone went to find out where he was. In the background, someone said he was in the living room on the bed. The dispatcher asked if it was her neighbour. CW #2 said she was family, and somebody came into the house and killed her husband. The dispatcher asked if CW #2 was safe and she confirmed she was. CW #2 said CW #4 was bleeding. She told CW #4 that the police were coming. The dispatcher asked if she was bleeding a lot. CW #2 said her hand and knees were bruised with a little blood coming from it.
The dispatched asked where CW #4’s husband was and CW #2 said at home on Holden Crescent. The dispatcher asked where the person was who killed him and CW #2 said she did not know. CW #2 said CW #4 was going back and the dispatcher asked her to tell her to stay. CW #2 asked CW #4 to stop, come back inside. She told her the police were coming. She told the dispatcher she was walking. She continued to walk and said she saw the police in front of the house. She told the dispatcher the police were there and ended the call.
At 9:23:55 a.m., a female 911 dispatcher called the ambulance dispatcher and requested an ambulance at a residence on Holden Crescent. The patient was a man. The 911 operator explained that CW #4 was saying someone came into her house and killed her husband. The police were on the way. The call ended.
At 9:24:20 a.m., a female communications supervisor called the ambulance dispatcher to request an ambulance at a residence Holden Crescent. She said a woman called and said CW #4 came in and killed her husband. The police were just arriving on scene. The woman was bleeding, but they had no other information about victims or who else was there. The ambulance dispatcher asked who came in and killed CW #2’s husband, and the 911 dispatcher said the complainant said CW #4 came in and killed CW #2’s husband. The 911 dispatcher assumed CW #4 killed someone. The call ended.
At 9:28:03 a.m., a female from the radio room called a senior officer and advised her of the 911 calls. The female said there was an accident at Burnhamthorpe Road and Cawthra Road. Someone fled, grabbed hold of him or were holding him on Holden Street. There was a call from an address on Holden Street that CW #4 killed the caller’s husband. The sergeant on scene said there was a potential homicide because the people at the house said a man run into the house. So, this could be related. The senior officer said they wanted containment at the house and another sergeant at the motor vehicle collision. The female said [unit number] was on the way to the motor vehicle collision and [another unit number] was on the way to the potential homicide. They just arrived and said the man was barricaded in a backyard shed, bleeding heavily.
At 10:17:14 a.m., the senior officer called the female to provide a mission statement. At 10:19:39 a.m., a male officer from 11 Division called to provide an update of the victim’s injuries. CW #4 had sustained a broken left arm, broken left leg and a laceration to the left leg. CW #4’s husband was identified as the second victim at that address.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from PRP:
- Communications Recordings;
- Computer-assisted Dispatch Report (x3);
- Notes of witness officers and an additional officer;
- Occurrence Report (x3);
- Person Details Report (the Complainant);
- PRP Audio Copy Reports (x2);
- PRP Directive - Incident Response;
- PRP Involved Officer List;
- PRP SIU Disclosure Log;
- PRP – Photos; and
- Training Record-the SO-Use of Force Training.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU also obtained and reviewed the Complainant’s medical records from Sunnybrook Health Science Centre; cellular telephone video from a civilian.; and a Centre of Forensic Sciences Firearms Report dated June 17, 2020.
At about 9:29 a.m. on May 2, 2020, the SO discharged her semi-automatic handgun at the Complainant three times at close range. Bloodied and severely injured, the Complainant had just emerged from a garden shed situated in the backyard of the house on Holden Crescent. He was holding a large serrated knife in his right hand and bleeding from lacerations to the neck. The Complainant was felled by a shot that struck his lower right leg.
In the minutes prior to the shooting, the Complainant had embarked on a violent rampage through the neighbourhood. Shortly after being involved in a motor vehicle collision in the intersection of Cawthra and Burnhamthorpe Roads, the Complainant exited his vehicle and assaulted an elderly gentlemen, taking his bicycle and setting off toward Hassall Road. He made his way to Holden Crescent, southwest of the intersection, broke into the home and attacked one of the homeowners with a knife. Thereafter, he violently attacked his wife, CW #4, causing her serious injuries. CW #4 was able to make her way to her son’s house.
Arriving at her son’s home, a frantic CW #4 reported that someone had broken into her home and her husband was dead. The police were called as CW #4’s son began to make his way to his parents’ home to check on his father.
The Complainant had left the residence and was in the backyard of the adjoining home on Holden Crescent. There he attacked CW #9 with a knife, causing serious injuries.
Officers began arriving on Holden Crescent and were advised by a neighbour that the Complainant had been seen entering a shed in the backyard of a residence on Holden Crescent. WO #1 and the SO made their way to the rear of the residence and attempted to open the shed door. Something was resisting their efforts but they were able to push the door open a small amount. Looking into the shed, WO #1 could see the Complainant. He began to repeatedly shout words to the effect of, “They’re trying to kill me. You’re going to have to kill me.” WO #1 and the SO began to direct the Complainant to exit the shed with his hands up. When he failed to do so, WO #1 closed the door and decided to wait for additional police officers to arrive; the officer was unaware at the time of CW #9’s presence in the shed.
WO #1 spoke with the SO and it was decided he would draw his CEW as the SO stood ready with her firearm. Seconds later, the Complainant opened the shed door and walked through it. He held a kitchen knife with a serrated blade in his left hand.  The knife and the Complainant were covered in blood. The Complainant was cutting the left side of his neck with the knife. WO #1 fired his CEW at the Complainant. Though temporarily halted,  the Complainant remained standing and started to walk toward the officers. As he did so, the Complainant indicated he had escaped from a hospital where staff had tried to kill him and yelled that the SO had to kill him. The officers walked backward away from the Complainant while ordering him to drop the knife and stop his advance. The Complainant began to focus on the SO, positioned to WO #1’s right, and walk in her direction. As the Complainant neared to within two to three metres of the SO, she fired her weapon three times in rapid succession.
The Complainant was struck with a projectile in his right leg. He dropped the knife and fell to the ground. He remained active on the ground and was subjected to a number of CEW discharges, two of which may have been deployed by the SO.
In the meantime, WO #1 was alerted to the presence of CW #9 in the shed. Together with two other officers, WO #1 entered the shed and discovered CW #9 on the ground covered in blood and seriously injured.
Ambulances arrived at the scene and took the injured parties to hospital.
Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority
(a) as a private person,(b) as a peace officer or public officer,(c) in aid of a peace officer or public officer, or(d) by virtue of his office,
Analysis and Director's Decision
Pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, police officers are immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided such force was reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they were required or authorized to do by law. In the event of lethal force, section 25(3) further provides that such force is not justified unless the police officer believes on reasonable grounds that it is necessary to preserve herself or another person under her charge from death or grievous bodily harm. I have no grounds to reasonably conclude that the SO fell afoul of these strictures in the force she used against the Complainant.
The SO was acting in the discharge of her lawful duties when she made her way into the backyard of the address at Holden Crescent and confronted the Complainant. The radio communications and witness information at the scene would have given her grounds to believe that the male who had fled from the scene of a nearby motor vehicle accident had assaulted a number of residents in the area and was hiding in the shed. That male – the Complainant – was clearly subject to arrest.
I am further satisfied that the force used by the SO – the three gunshots followed possibly by two CEW discharges – fell within the limits of legal justification. The Complainant walked in the SO’s direction when he emerged from the shed holding a knife covered in blood. A CEW discharge by the officer’s colleague, WO #1, had failed to deter him, as had repeated verbal commands that he drop his weapon and stop his advance. There can be no doubt that the Complainant was intent on doing harm to the officers with the knife. When he was not using it to cut himself, the Complainant pointed it at the SO while yelling that the SO would have to shoot him. Retreat was not an option. The Complainant had just attacked and seriously wounded three residents of the homes he had broken into, and represented a real and present danger to WO #1 and others in the vicinity. On this record, I am satisfied that the SO acted to thwart an imminent threat to life and limb when she fired her gun three times at the Complainant as he neared to within two to three metres of her location.
Following the shooting, the Complainant appears to have been subjected to a couple of CEW discharges by the SO followed by a series of additional CEW deployments by WO #4, the latter arriving in the backyard just prior to the shooting.  The evidence indicates that the Complainant remained active while he was on the ground attempting to get back on his feet. In fact, he appears to have regained his footing briefly before WO #4 first discharged his CEW. At the time the SO fired her CEW, the Complainant was not yet handcuffed. Though he had been dispossessed of the knife he had been holding, the officers could not be sure he was not further armed. Indeed, following his arrest, a smaller paring knife was located on the lawn in the vicinity of where the Complainant had fallen. In the circumstances, it would be unreasonable to characterize the SO’s CEW discharges as excessive. Until she could be assured that the Complainant no longer represented a threat, the SO was within her rights, in my view, to keep him immobilized at a distance with the use of her CEW.
The number of times WO #4’s CEW was discharged around the time of the incident – a total of 14 times over a period upwards of eight minutes – seems excessive at first blush. However, that evidence, derived from the data downloaded from his weapon, is in marked conflict with the statements of WO #4 and other officers arriving to assist in the Complainant’s arrest. That is, while the witness accounts establish that WO #4 discharged his CEW multiple times at the Complainant, he reportedly did so only until the Complainant was handcuffed – a period not more than about four minutes from the moment of the shooting. Throughout this shorter period, the evidence indicates that the Complainant was on the ground and active throughout. He kicked his legs, flailed his arms, kept trying to get up, and attempted to bite the officers. Even after the Complainant had been handcuffed, paramedics arriving at the scene felt it necessary to sedate him before they could deal with his injuries and transport him to hospital. Given the real possibility that a portion of the 14 discharges recorded by WO #4’s weapon were unintentional and/or inadvertent deployments which did not strike the Complainant, and the evidence of the Complainant’s movement on the ground for a period even after he had been shot, the evidence in my view falls short of reasonably establishing that the force used by WO #4 transgressed the limits prescribed by the criminal law.
The Complainant was not of sound mind at the time of these harrowing events; he appears to have been suffering from a psychotic episode. Be that as it may, I am satisfied that the SO acted reasonably to contend with the circumstances as they unfolded given the exigencies of the situation. In the final analysis, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that she and the other officers involved in the Complainant’s apprehension acted other than lawfully, there is no basis for pursuing criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: February 16, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The times associated with CEW events are derived from each weapon’s internal clock and are not necessarily synchronized with actual time. [Back to text]
- 2) The knife was recovered at the scene by the SIU. Its blade measured about 20 centimetres in length. [Back to text]
- 3) It does not appear that both probes from the CEW connected with the Complainant; one of them was found lodged in the wall of the shed from which the Complainant had exited. [Back to text]
- 4) Neither WO #1 nor WO #4, both of whom in the vicinity at the time, say they saw the SO use her CEW at any point. However, the data downloaded from the CEW the SO was carrying indicates it was discharged twice around the time of the incident. On the weight of the evidence, it appears these discharges would have occurred after the SO fired her gun and before WO #4 first used his CEW on the Complainant. [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.