SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-TCI-215
This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.
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 the injury a 33-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn August 30, 2020, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
TPS reported that on August 29, 2020, there was a public protest in the area of Eglinton Avenue and Keele Street. The protest was regarding the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Light Rail Transit (LRT) construction project. During the protest, the Complainant began to jump on cars and act uncooperatively when asked by police officers to stop. The Complainant then began punching at police officers but was subdued using a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW). A second man attempted to stop the Complainant from being arrested by fighting with the police officers and swinging his coat at them. This man was also arrested. Both the Complainant and the man were taken to Humber River Hospital (HRH) where it was believed the Complainant had suffered a broken nose.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 5
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Complainant:33-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)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 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #6 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #7 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
Subject Officer (SO)SO Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
The SceneThe Complainant was arrested following his altercation with WO #1 and WO #3 on the street at Eglinton Avenue West east of Keele Street. No scene examination was conducted.
CEW Downloads 
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:
- Cell phone footage-CW #1;
- Cell phone footage-CW #3;
- Social media videos;
- Cell phone video-civilian;
- Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) footage from TTC; and
- CCTV from Crosslinx.
Cell Phone Footage – CW #1 (SUV Driver)
At 00:02 minutes, another man motioned with his right hand at WO #3 prior to taking a few steps forward. He swung his jacket at WO #3. With his left hand extended to the front of his body, WO #3 stopped the man’s jacket from hitting him. The officer was holding a CEW in his right hand.
At 00:03 minutes, as WO #7 attempted to control the Complainant, the man swung his jacket at the Complainant, striking him in the area of his face at least once. A second strike landed on WO #7’s back. A female police officer [now known to have been WO #1] arrived in camera view. As the man continued to swing his jacket at the Complainant, WO #7 continued to struggle with the Complainant and attempted to move him away from the man.
At 00:23 minutes, as WO #4 and WO #3 continued to struggle to control the jacket wielding man’s hands, WO #1 placed her left hand on his head to hold him down. She was holding a CEW in her right hand. WO #1 provided her handcuffs to WO #3, who applied one handcuff to the man’s right wrist. WO #3 removed the man’s left arm from under his body and handcuffed his hands behind his back. WO #2 used his police radio again.
At 00:50 minutes, the Complainant continued to yell as WO #7 appeared to be verbally engaged with bystanders. WO #4 arrived to assist WO #7 and WO #2. At 01:01 minutes, CW #1 exited his vehicle and said, “You guys think this guy’s innocent? He jumps on my fucking car for no reason!” There was visible damage on the hood of CW #1’s vehicle.
At 01:40 minutes, CW #1 said, “Look what this guy does for no fucking reason.” In response, a female said, “Fuck your car!” CW #1 returned to his vehicle. CW#1’s wife said, “Look at the policewoman’s face. Look at her head…he hit her.” CW #1 moved his vehicle out of the way to allow vehicles to pass. His dashboard depicted the weather as 21.5 Celsius. The time was 7:57 p.m. As bystanders captured cellphone video, the Complainant continued to yell.
At 02:26 minutes, a bald male police officer arrived at the Complainant’s location and removed his handcuffs from his duty belt. Several bystanders repeatedly said, “Take your arm off his neck.” CW #1 thanked WO #3 for his service as he and WO #1 escorted the jacket wielding man out of camera view. Several bystanders formed a semi-circle around WO #7, WO #2 and WO #4 to capture cellphone video of the incident, while others continued to yell, “Take your arm off his neck!”
WO #3 motioned the crowd back while WO #4 verbally engaged a few bystanders. Several more police officers arrived on scene and began to use their arms to push the crowd back.
At 05:02 minutes, the video ended.
Cell Phone Footage – CW #3
Social Media Videos - First Video
A man swung his coat at the Complainant and struck him in the face. When WO #1 attempted to take control of the Complainant’s left arm, he delivered another punch to her head. The Complainant went to the ground after a CEW deployment. He held his chest and rocked side-to-side on his back. Two more police officers [WO #2 and WO #7] arrived to assist WO #1 and WO #3.
The same man then swung his coat at WO #3, and the Complainant charged at police WO #2 and WO #7 prior to a second CEW deployment. While WO #7 attempted to take hold of the Complainant’s arms, the man swung his coat in the area of the Complainant’s face prior to WO #7 falling back on the ground with the Complainant. The man continued to swing his coat as police officers attempted to pull him away. The man was taken to the ground by responding police officers and out of camera view.
WO #7 and WO #2 attempted to restrain the Complainant as he flailed his entire body. The Complainant continued to resist arrest while additional police officers struggled to restrain the man who was wielding his coat. WO #7 appeared to use his body weight to hold the Complainant down. He placed his right hand on the Complainant’s left cheek while another police officer held the Complainant’s legs.
Social Media Videos - Second Video
One of the police officers repeatedly asked the Complainant to provide his hands. The Complainant screamed, “No, get off me,” and put his right hand under his body. A bald police officer arrived. Police officers again asked for the Complainant’s hands and the Complainant responded, “No! Leave me alone.” The bald police officer attempted to apply a handcuff to the Complainant’s right wrist. The Complainant continued to disobey police commands for his hands and continued to scream, “Leave me alone,” and pull his hands away from the police officers.
Social Media Videos - Third Video
Cell Phone Footage Taken by a Civilian
CCTV footage from TTC
CCTV footage from Crosslinx
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from TPS:
- General Occurrence Report;
- Notes-WO #5;
- Notes-WO #4;
- Notes-WO #7;
- Notes-WO #3;
- Notes-WO #1;
- Notes-WO #6;
- Notes-WO #2;
- TPS Procedure- Protests and Demonstrations; and
- TPS Procedure- Use of Force.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from non-police sources:
- Ambulance Call Report;
- Emergency Medical Services Incident Summary;
- Medical Records HRH;
- Photographs of the Complainant’s injuries;
- Cell phone video-CW #3;
- Cell phone video-CW #1;
- Cell phone video-civilian;
- Cell phone video-CW #2;
- CCTV footage from Crosslinx;
- Videos from Twitter; and
- CCTV from TTC.
In the evening on August 29, 2020, a number of 13 Division officers were performing crowd control duties on Eglinton Avenue West in the vicinity of Oakwood Avenue. A procession of persons had made their way eastward from Keele Street as part of a march in support of local residents and Black-owned businesses in the area. Organized by the group “Bana on the Block”, the march was a protest against the TTC LRT construction project, which was seen to be taking too long to complete and hurting business by shop owners.
WO #1 and WO #3, among the officers on patrol, observed as the Complainant climbed atop the hood of a westbound SUV, which had come to a stop waiting for traffic to clear.  The officers had spoken with the Complainant shortly beforehand and had a pleasant exchange. Something had changed and the Complainant was now extremely agitated. He jumped up and down on the hood of the SUV, damaging it in the process. WO #3 and WO #1 asked him to step down and the Complainant eventually did so.
As soon as he landed on the roadway, the Complainant advanced on the officers swinging his arms in their direction. WO #3 and WO #1 were both struck by the Complainant.  When, following the strikes, the Complainant continued in the officers’ direction, WO #3 drew his CEW and fired it. At about the same time, WO #2, who had seen the assaults upon WO #3 and WO #1, discharged his CEW as well. One or both of the discharges incapacitated the Complainant but only temporarily. He regained his footing and was subjected to two further CEW discharges by WO #2, after which WO #2 and WO #7, the latter arriving on foot to assist his colleagues, took hold of the Complainant and attempted to restrain him on the ground.
At about this time, an acquaintance of the Complainant injected himself into the situation. He approached the scene of the arrest and started to swing a jacket at the officers and the Complainant, striking them on several occasions. He was told to stop and then arrested by WO #3, WO #1 and WO #4, whereupon he was escorted away from the area and placed in the rear of a police cruiser.
WO #2 and WO #7 struggled to contain the Complainant on the ground and were soon joined by WO #4 and WO #6. Together, the officers were able to apply a strap restraint around the Complainant’s legs and secure his arms to the front with two pairs of handcuffs. One of the march organizers, CW #2, asked if she could approach the Complainant and was allowed to do so. CW #2 cradled the Complainant’s head in her lap and attempted to calm him. Her efforts seemed to placate the Complainant but only for a period. With the arrival of a paramedic, CW #5, who had been called to the scene to dislodge the CEW probes, the Complainant angered again, began to utter epithets at the officers and the paramedic, and refused to be treated. A crowd of persons had formed around the scene of the arrest.
The SO arrived in the area at about the same time as CW #5. As the Complainant had expressed distrust of the “white” officers, the SO explained that he was not “white” and asked the Complainant to look at him. The Complainant continued to struggle and spit in the face of CW #5 as the paramedic was attempting to remove the CEW probes from his torso. The SO reacted by pulling the Complainant’s head closer to his vest to better control his movements. Within seconds, the Complainant grabbed a hold of the SO’s firearm in its holster and pulled, jerking the officer forward as he did so. The SO yelled at the Complainant to release his hold of the firearm and then tried to physically move away. When the officer could not dislodge the Complainant’s hold of the weapon, he used his right fist to jab at the Complainant’s face a half-dozen times or so. The Complainant released his grip on the firearm.
Several minutes later, with the officers still struggling with the Complainant on the ground, the Complainant was again able to take hold of the SO’s firearm in its holster. Again, the officer called out that the Complainant had hold of his gun and repeatedly punched him in the face until the Complainant relinquished his hold.
CW #5, who had left to retrieve a sedative from his vehicle, returned to the area. The officers rolled the Complainant onto his front and pinned him to the ground, after which CW #5 injected his right shoulder with the medication.
Though the sedative had not yet taken effect, the Complainant was loaded onto a stretcher by officers and paramedics. The Complainant sat up on the stretcher and, for a third time, grabbed the SO’s firearm. WO #6 punched at the Complainant’s hands and kneed his forearm as the SO struck his upper chest about ten times before the Complainant let go. The Complainant was then strapped down to the stretcher, loaded into an ambulance and taken 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 authorized or required to do by law. WO #1 and WO #3 had lawful cause to take the Complainant into custody. He had jumped onto a vehicle and stomped on its hood, damaging it. In the circumstances, he was liable to arrest for mischief. The issue turns to the propriety of the force used by the officers.
The gravamen of the force used against the Complainant consisted of punches to the face and chest area by the SO. Though very likely responsible for the Complainant’s facial injuries, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the SO’s conduct fell afoul of the limits imposed by the criminal law. On the clear weight of the evidence, the officer’s volleys of punches were in reaction to the Complainant taking hold of his handgun in its holster. In the context of the vigour with which the Complainant had resisted the officers’ efforts to that point, the SO, I am satisfied, would have had reason to believe that his life, as well as the lives of those around him, was in imminent peril in the event the Complainant managed to take possession of the gun. On this record, it seems to me that the officer acted reasonably when he punched at the Complainant, particularly as verbal commands and brute manpower had been unsuccessful to that point in having him release his hold of the weapon.
With respect to the use of CEWs against the Complainant, I am also satisfied that this force fell within the range of what was reasonably necessary at the time to take and maintain him in custody. By the time of the first CEW discharges, the Complainant had punched WO #3 and WO #1. By the time of WO #2’s second two discharges, the Complainant had leapt to his feet and was charging in the officer’s direction. Given the Complainant’s level of aggression, the crowd of onlookers in the vicinity, and the fact that this was occurring within live lanes of traffic, WO #3 and WO #2 were within their rights in attempting to neutralize the Complainant from a distance with use of their CEWs. Once on the ground and held by officers, there is no indication of any further CEW discharges at the Complainant.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO or the other officers involved in the Complainant’s arrest transgressed the criminal law in their dealings with him, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: March 8, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The times associated with the trigger events are derived from the internal clocks of the CEWs, which are not necessarily synchronized with actual time. [Back to text]
- 2) It had been agreed with the march organizers that persons participating in the event would occupy the eastbound lanes of Eglinton Avenue West while the westbound lanes remained open to handle east and west vehicular traffic. [Back to text]
- 3) WO #3 was subsequently diagnosed with a concussion. [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.