SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OFD-144
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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 the death of Ejaz Choudry.
Notification of the SIUOn Saturday, June 20, 2020, at 9:12 p.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) notified the SIU of the firearms-death of Mr. Ejaz Choudry.
The PRP advised that on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at 8:30 p.m., the PRP was asked to do a residence check for a patient who was off his medication and had wandered away from the hospital. The patient was a 62-year-old man [now determined to be Mr. Choudry] living at 3425 Morning Star Drive in Mississauga. PRP contacted Mr. Choudry’s family and police officers attended the apartment with the family. They found Mr. Choudry in a second-floor unit, kneeling on a prayer rug and armed with two knives. When Mr. Choudry was asked to drop the weapons, he refused. The police officers and family members left the apartment.
The PRP Tactical Response Unit (TRU) was called in and took over the scene as a barricaded person incident. It established some communication with Mr. Choudry and then communications broke down. After 20 minutes of silence from Mr. Choudry, the TRU breached the balcony door and deployed an Anti-Riot Weapon ENfield (ARWEN)  and a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW). Both met with negative results. Mr. Choudry would not drop the knives and was subsequently shot. Paramedics responded and Mr. Choudry was pronounced dead remotely by a physician from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The coroner was said to be attending.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 6
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 3
Complainant:Ejaz Choudry 62-year-old male, deceased
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 Interviewed
WO #6 Interviewed
WO #7 Interviewed
WO #8 Interviewed
WO #9 Interviewed
WO #10 Interviewed
WO #11 Interviewed
WO #12 Interviewed
WO #13 Interviewed
Subject OfficersSO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right
The SceneThe scene was located in a second-floor unit at 3425 Morning Star Drive. The building was a multilevel apartment building on the northwest corner of Morning Star Drive and Goreway Drive. There were two wings to the building, one stretched west along Morning Star Drive and the other wing stretched north along Goreway Drive.
The incident occurred in an apartment which had a balcony. There were two ladders leaning against the railing of the apartment’s balcony. The balcony appeared cluttered with household items.
Figure 1 - Two ladders propped against the apartment's balcony.
Outside the apartment in the hallway there was some police equipment used to breach the door. There was a “Police” ballistic shield leaning against the wall next to the door. The door had been forced open but only the bottom half of the door gave way leaving the upper portion still partially in place.
Figure 2 - The broken door to the unit and police ballistic shield.
The entrance was cluttered with pieces of the broken door and shoes. The entrance led to a living room and dining room. On the floor on the living room was the body of Mr. Choudry. Mr. Choudry was on his back in a pool of blood. EMS had cut his shirt exposing his chest. An apparent gunshot wound was noted to the centre of his chest and a CEW probe was in his abdomen. His loose pants had been pulled down partially exposing his genitals. There were medical patches on Mr. Choudry’s chest.
A kitchen knife was on the floor between the entrance and Mr. Choudry’s body. It was a black-handled knife manufactured by “FARBERWARE” and had a 20-centimetre long blade with visible passive blood stain to the tip. The knife was on the living room floor in front of a padded storage chest in front of the south living room floor.
Figure 3 - The knife with a 20-centimetre blade located inside the apartment.
Also located in the living room were two copper jacketed projectiles,  five ARWEN projectiles and two ARWEN cartridge cases, and evidence of a CEW deployment. The room was sparsely decorated with a sofa, matching chair, end table with a small TV on top, and a padded hassock.
Figure 4 - One of the five ARWEN projectiles located in the living room.
The balcony was off the living room opposite the apartment entrance. The balcony door was wooden and in the open position. The balcony was 2.7 m wide and 1.95 m deep. The balcony had a metal railing and it was cluttered with bicycles, lawn chairs and a vacuum cleaner. Three ARWEN cartridges were located on the balcony and two pistol cartridge cases were located on the ground beneath the balcony.
Figure 5 - The interior view of the balcony. The yellow evidence markers are placed next to three black cartridge cases from the ARWEN.
A bullet strike was located on the north living room wall. It was .75 metres from the floor and .22 metres west of the hallway leading to the three bedrooms. The length of the strike was .038 metres and the width was .018 metres.
The remainder of the apartment consisted of three bedrooms, a washroom and kitchen, which were undisturbed.
WO #2’s equipment consisted of a multi-cartridge ARWEN, a helmet, a ballistic vest, a ceramic panel or vest, a duty belt, and tactical uniform and boots. The items were individually photographed.
Figure 6 - WO #2's ARWEN.
WO #2’s boots, tactical pants and shirt were examined. Red staining was visible on the left boot (inner toe area). Red staining was also visible on the right boot (inner toe area). Red staining was visible on the left knee and on the lower right cuff of the pants. These items were photographed during the examination and the boots, pants, and shirt were separated and set aside for collection.
WO #8’s police equipment
WO #8’s equipment consisted of a helmet, a ballistic vest, a duty belt, and a tactical uniform and boots. These items were individually photographed. A CEW was removed from its holster. The holster was affixed to the ballistic vest.
WO #8’s CEW was a Model X2. It was in the safe mode and a battery occupied the battery port. Two CEW cartridges were visible in the cartridge ports. One of the cartridges was unfired and the other cartridge was expended. The cartridges were removed. The CEW was fired by a forensic investigator to create a marking. The data was downloaded and a report was generated. WO #8’s boots, tactical pants and shirt were examined and there was staining visible on the left thigh area of the pants. These items were photographed. The pants and the spent CEW cartridge were set aside for collection.
The SO’s equipment consisted of a helmet, a ballistic vest, a duty belt, and a tactical uniform and boots. The items were individually photographed.
A CEW holster was attached to the ballistic vest. The CEW was removed from its holster. It was still charged with two unfired cartridges. A charged mini bang grenade, a rifle magazine, a police radio, a carabiner, a mini-pry bar tool, and a marker were attached to the vest. The ballistic panels and the portable radio were removed from the ballistic vest and returned to PRP. The remaining items were set aside for collection.
The duty belt was examined. A pistol (in holster), two spare pistol magazines, a rifle magazine, handcuff pouch (with handcuffs), a flashlight, mini bang grenade, a folded knife, a length of rope, and tactical gloves were attached to the duty belt.
The SO’s firearm was a Smith and Wesson .40 calibre M&P. A flashlight was attached to the underside of the pistol’s frame. One pistol magazine (with live cartridges) was removed from the pistol grip and one unfired cartridge was removed from the pistol’s breech. The pistol magazine was examined, and 13 live cartridges were removed. The SO’s boots, PRP tactical pants and shirt were in a sealed bag and collected.
Figure 7 - The SO's firearm.
CEW Data Download of WO #8’s CEW
Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) Biology Report
Cell Phone Video Clip
There were three TRU police officers on the balcony [now determined to be the SO, WO #2 and WO #8]. [Per SIU interviews it was established the SO was armed with his handgun, WO #2 was armed with an ARWEN and WO #8 was armed with a CEW.] By the time the video clip ended all three TRU police officers were inside the apartment. Only the SO’s back was still visible to the camera.
As depicted in the video clip, positioned on the balcony from left to right were TRU police officer 1, TRU police officer 2 and the SO.
The SO, at the three-second point in the video, kicked the balcony door open with his right foot. No words were heard in the seconds leading up to the kick. Once the door flung open, two loud, directive voices were heard, and one voice was dominant. All three TRU police officers backed away from the open balcony door.
A dominant voice shouted, “Police, put the knife down, put the knife down, put it down.” Then, two ARWEN rounds were heard being deployed followed by the shout, “Put it down.” A third ARWEN round was deployed, immediately followed at the 11-second mark by two loud bangs coinciding with muzzle flashes from the SO’s pistol from outside on the balcony.
TRU police officer 1 entered the open doorway.
At the 14- and 15-second point, two dense sounds, possibly from the ramming devise on the front door, can be heard. TRU police officer 2 entered the apartment at the 16-second point and a police officer was heard yelling, “Get the knives down, put it down.” This was followed by what sounded like the deployment of two more ARWEN rounds at the 17- to 18-second mark.
The SO entered Mr. Choudry’s apartment.
The recording stopped at the 19-second mark and the SO’s leg was still visible on the balcony side of the doorway.
Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) video footage of the second-floor hallway
At 5:41:24 p.m., two uniformed police officers [now known to be WO #1 and WO #4], two paramedics and CW #1 entered the hallway and walked towards the apartment. WO #1 and WO #4 and CW #1 entered the apartment while the two paramedics waited in the hallway.
At 5:45:00 p.m., WO #1, WO #4 and CW #1 exited the apartment and closed the door. WO #4 held the front door closed while WO #1 appeared to speak through the door.
At 5:48:03 p.m., a police officer [now known to be WO #13] arrived on scene. WO #13 directed the two paramedics to move back down the hallway. WO #4 remained in the same position until the arrival of the TRU team.
At 6:04:37 p.m., CW #1 and her aunt, CW #3, entered the hallway and tried to communicate through the door with Mr. Choudry. At 6:06:19 p.m., Mr. Choudry opened the apartment door but remained inside. At 6:06:44 p.m., he closed the door, retreating back into the apartment.
At 6:09:46 p.m., four TRU police officers arrived dressed in grey police uniforms and black helmets. They positioned themselves in front of Mr. Choudry’s apartment. One TRU police officer stood to the left of the door with a rifle and another TRU police officer held what appeared to be an ARWEN in a ready position directed at the door.
At 6:28:06 p.m., a ballistic shield was placed up against the apartment door.
At 6:44:11 p.m., three TRU police officers positioned themselves directly in front of Mr. Choudry’s apartment door. The first police officer held a rifle, the second police officer had an ARWEN, and the third police officer had a CEW in the ready position. The second and third police officer were directly to the left of the police officer holding the rifle.
At 6:49:19 p.m., three additional TRU police officers dressed in tactical uniforms arrived. They positioned themselves directly in front of the apartment door. A TRU police officer appeared to communicate verbally through the door and knocked periodically.
At 7:00:54 p.m., WO #9 arrived and was observed communicating through the front door.
At 7:49:21 p.m., WO #9 concluded his communication through the door.
At 8:31:57 p.m., the ballistic shield was removed from in front of Mr. Choudry’s apartment door.
At 8:33:41 p.m., four TRU police officers positioned themselves in front of the door and using a breaching ram struck the door four times before it opened. WO #11 along with WO #3, WO #5 and WO #6 entered the apartment. Moments later, they were followed by two paramedics and a tactical EMS paramedic dressed in a black uniform and helmet.
At 8:34:53 p.m., four TRU police officers left the apartment. Two of the TRU police officers remained in the hallway conversing after the incident. WO #9 and an unknown police officer remained in the hallway.
At 2333:40 p.m., the video footage ended.
Summary of 911 Call
At 5:01:59 p.m., a woman called police and requested an ambulance. The woman was provided the phone number for the ambulance.
At 5:07:35 p.m., a person from the ambulance service contacted PRP requesting police assistance at 3425 Morning Star Drive regarding a 62-year-old man [now determined to be Mr. Choudry] who was not taking his medication. Mr. Choudry was schizophrenic and had been in the hospital recently but left without being discharged. The female caller was at the home of Mr. Choudry. She had also mentioned that Mr. Choudry was in possession of a pocket-knife. The phone number of the female caller was provided to the PRP.
At 5:12:10 p.m., the PRP contacted the woman, identified as the daughter of Mr. Choudry [now determined to be CW #1]. CW #1 was with her three brothers and her mother at the apartment. The PRP told CW #1 to leave the apartment as a precaution.
At 5:19:11 p.m., the PRP telephoned the ambulance service requesting the status of the paramedics at 3425 Morning Star Drive as CW #1 was waiting in the lobby.
At 5:21:24 p.m., the ambulance service phoned PRP and advised paramedics were waiting outside 3425 Morning Star Drive. The ambulance service was advised police were on their way to the address.
Summary of Police Communications Recordings
At 5:13:48 p.m., the PRP dispatcher requested police units attend 3425 Morning Star Drive as an ambulance was requesting assistance regarding a 62-year-old man [now determined to be Mr. Choudry] who had mental health issues and was not taking his medication. Information was conveyed that Mr. Choudry was diagnosed with schizophrenia, confused, and not letting anyone near him. The fact that he had a pocket- knife was also mentioned.
At 5:29:22 p.m., police were on scene.
At 5:37:24 p.m., a police officer on scene informed the dispatcher that Mr. Choudry had a large kitchen knife. WO #13, heading to the scene, requested the TRU be notified. Police on scene reported that everyone except for Mr. Choudry was out of the apartment. Mr. Choudry remained in a room inside the apartment armed with two knives.
At 5:39:03 p.m., TRU was contacted and advised of Mr. Choudry having a large knife in his residence.
At 5:45:47 p.m., a TRU unit requested TRU medics be notified and attend the scene.
At 5:46:32 p.m., police officers on scene tried to make contact with Mr. Choudry but were met with negative results. They also confirmed with the dispatcher there were no other people inside Mr. Choudry’s apartment.
At 5:50:37 p.m., TRU asked that attempts be made to get a key for Mr. Choudry’s apartment. Police officers on scene advised family members had left the keys inside the apartment and Mr. Choudry had locked the door. Attempts were being made to contact the building manager for an apartment key. Police on scene also requested additional units to assist. The additional police would set up outside near Mr. Choudry’s apartment balcony.
At 5:59:25 p.m., police reported seeing a man on a balcony. It was unknown if it was the balcony in question, namely, Mr. Choudry’s balcony.
At 6:05:33 p.m., WO #13 requested a Punjabi-speaking police officer attend [now determined to be WO #9].
At 6:07:19 p.m., WO #11 with TRU asked if there was a Duty Inspector on the call [now determined to be WO #10].
At 6:10:48 p.m., WO #11 requested a police dog and was advised the police dog was five minutes away. TRU would wait for the police dog before attempting to contact Mr. Choudry.
At 6:12:30 p.m., the TRU sergeant confirmed there were two uniformed police officers watching the balcony.
At 6:17:57 p.m., police officers were speaking to Mr. Choudry’s family members.
At 6:19:15 p.m., the police dog and handler were on scene.
At 6:34:01 p.m., WO #9, the Punjabi-speaking police officer, was en route.
At 6:37:02 p.m., it was reported that yelling could be heard from inside Mr. Choudry’s apartment.
At 6:41:53 p.m., WO #11 advised that Mr. Choudry had initiated contact.
At 6:42:21 p.m., WO #11 advised that Mr. Choudry had said, “Hello,” through the door and conversation with Mr. Choudry was continuing.
At 6:43:47 p.m., WO #10 was on scene.
At 6:48:21 p.m., the fire department was on scene.
At 6:49:55 p.m., WO #11 advised that Mr. Choudry was not cooperating.
At 7:05:08 p.m., WO #11 advised of no changes.
At 7:09:42 p.m., WO #10 was preparing a mission statement.
At 7:14:12 p.m., WO #10 advised the mission statement was to isolate and contain Mr. Choudry’s apartment and to shelter residents and negotiate a safe apprehension of Mr. Choudry under the MHA (Mental Health Act). Police officers were reminded of their section 25 authority (under the Criminal Code).
At 7:56:23 p.m., WO #10 advised he was updated by TRU and there had been no contact with Mr. Choudry for five to eight minutes.
At 8:04:46 p.m., WO #12 advised Mr. Choudry was diabetic, paranoid and delusional.
At 8:17:27 p.m., WO #10 advised there had been no contact with Mr. Choudry for 12 to 13 minutes.
At 8:23:22 p.m., WO #10 advised, based on the length of the no contact, that the Deliberate Action Plan (DAP) was to be executed.
At 8:25:01 p.m., WO #11 of TRU advised WO #10 that police officers were in position and WO #10 authorized the DAP.
At 8:26:31 p.m., WO #8 said over the police radio, “Get a medic here,” and another voice said, “Shots fired by police, medic required here.”
At 8:29:35 p.m., WO #10 advised the scene was now SIU’s.
The remainder of the recording pertained to preserving the scene and transporting police officers.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the PRP:
- Audio Copy Report-Phone;
- Audio Copy Report-Radio;
- Communications Recordings;
- Disclosure Log;
- Event Details (Previous incident);
- Notes of WO #1, WO #2, WO #3, WO #4, WO #5, WO #7, WO #8, WO #9, WO #10, WO #12 and WO #13;
- Occurrence Details;
- Person Details-Choudry;
- Procedure - Mental Health Policy;
- Procedure - Incident Response;
- Procedure - Critical Incident Response;
- Procedure - Crisis Negotiation; and
- Training Record – the SO.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesInformation from non-police sources:
- CFS Biology Report;
- Post-Mortem Report;
- CFS Toxicology Report;
- Cell phone video submitted by CW #3;
- MP3 Balcony Video Clip;
- Medical Release-Malton Medical Clinic;
- Ministry of Finance Report; and
- Preliminary Autopsy Findings.
The SIU’s investigation into Mr. Choudry’s death consisted of interviews with nine civilian witnesses and 13 officers, including two officers who witnessed the shooting. The investigation also benefitted from video recordings that captured the movements of police on the balcony and in the hallway outside the apartment, along with forensic evidence and medical information about Mr. Choudry. The SO, as was his legal right, did not submit to an interview with SIU investigators or produce a copy of his duty notes. Nevertheless, the evidence gathered was primarily consistent in all material respects.
At approximately 5:00 p.m. of June 20, 2020, Mr. Choudry’s daughter, CW #1, called Emergency Medical Service’s non-emergency line to request medical assistance for Mr. Choudry. Mr. Choudry suffered from schizophrenia, was not taking his medication and was acting confused. CW #1 reported that Mr. Choudry had previously been hospitalized for psychiatric care but had left the hospital under unknown circumstances. CW #1 also told the dispatcher that Mr. Choudry had a small pocket-knife but was not dangerous. The EMS dispatcher notified the PRP, and the PRP requested Mr. Choudry’s family evacuate the apartment as a precaution.
The paramedics were first to arrive at Mr. Choudry’s apartment, followed by WO #1 and WO #4 at approximately 5:30 p.m. The officers, paramedics and CW #1 attended the hallway outside of the apartment. WO #4 tried to speak with Mr. Choudry through the door, but Mr. Choudry told the officers to leave.
CW #1 and the two officers entered the apartment, with CW #1 staying behind the officers at their request. WO #4 had her CEW drawn and WO #1 had his hand on the holster of his firearm. The officers located Mr. Choudry in a bedroom seated on a prayer mat on the floor. WO #4 tried to reassure Mr. Choudry that the police were with paramedics to help and requested he show them the pocket-knife. Mr. Choudry told the officers to leave and began praying. CW #1 translated into Punjabi the officers’ request to see the knife and Mr. Choudry retrieved a large kitchen knife from under his prayer mat.  Mr. Choudry held the knife at eye level with the blade pointing towards the officers. He again told the officers to leave.
WO #4 requested that everyone leave the apartment and the officers staged themselves outside the apartment door. WO #13, a supervising officer, arrived and requested the TRU team attend.  The officers continued their attempts to negotiate with Mr. Choudry. CW #1, joined by CW #3, also attempted to speak with Mr. Choudry from the hallway, asking him to come out and give the police the knife so the police did not feel threatened. Mr. Choudry opened the door for a brief period without exiting the apartment before he closed the door and locked it. He said he would not come out because he thought the police would shoot him.
At around 6:00 p.m., TRU members WO #3, WO #5, WO #6 and WO #11 arrived and took control of the scene. The family was asked to go downstairs and to not communicate with Mr. Choudry. The officers stood near the door and continued to reassure Mr. Choudry that the paramedics were there to help. A tactical shield was placed against the front door to act as a barrier if Mr. Choudry exited the apartment unexpectedly. Mr. Choudry was difficult to understand but at times responded in English, telling the officers he was not going to open the door and to go away. WO #13 requested that a Punjabi-speaking officer attend the scene. WO #11 also requested a Duty Inspector  and a police service dog. At around 6:45 p.m., several more officers arrived on scene including Punjabi-speaking officer, WO #9, and Duty Inspector, WO #11. A second TRU team consisting of the SO, WO #2 and WO #8 also had arrived. 
WO #9 stood outside the apartment door and, at the direction of TRU members, spoke with Mr. Choudry in Punjabi. According to WO #9, he told Mr. Choudry that the police were there to help him. Mr. Choudry told him to go away and that the police could not help him. WO #9 explained that his family had called the police and asked him if he wanted to speak with his brother.  Mr. Choudry said he was frustrated with his family and called his brother an idiot. He did not answer when asked if he had a knife but confirmed that he had no intention of hurting himself. When asked if he had taken his medication, Mr. Choudry responded that he took all of it. Mr. Choudry then began to pray loudly in another language, potentially Arabic. WO #9 asked if the police could come in and Mr. Choudry stated words to the effect that the police needed a court order. He told the police that if they came in, they would watch what happens. WO #9 asked him to clarify this and Mr. Choudry repeated this statement.
While WO #9 spoke with Mr. Choudry, WO #10 gathered information about Mr. Choudry and formed an operational plan. The initial plan was to contain the apartment, keep other tenants safely sheltered and to negotiate Mr. Choudry’s apprehension under the Mental Health Act. This, and a reminder of officers’ authority to use force, was communicated over the radio to the responding officers. WO #10 learned that the apartment was accessible through the balcony door. Together with TRU team leaders, WO #10 crafted a Deliberate Action Plan (DAP) that involved one TRU team entering the apartment through the balcony door and, five seconds later, another TRU team entering through the apartment’s front door.  For the next half hour, WO #10 gathered more information about Mr. Choudry, learning of his multiple medical conditions. At 7:42 p.m., he requested a Crisis Negotiator Team (CNT) come to the scene but the CNT was about an hour away.
Sometime before 8:00 p.m., Mr. Choudry stopped responding to WO #9 and no movement could be heard within the apartment. After approximately 20 minutes  of Mr. Choudry being non-responsive, WO #10 decided to implement the DAP. The time was about 8:25 p.m. The SO, WO #2 and WO #8 used ladders to climb onto the balcony of the apartment. The SO was armed with a pistol and stood to the right of the balcony door. To his left were WO #2, armed with an ARWEN, and WO #8, armed with a CEW. The SO kicked in the balcony door, but it did not open fully. The door was kicked again and then pushed open by the SO. Mr. Choudry moved towards the officers holding a large kitchen knife. The officers yelled, “Put down the knife.” WO #8 discharged his CEW at Mr. Choudry to no avail. At about the same time, WO #2 discharged his ARWEN three times in quick succession followed by the SO discharging his pistol twice, striking Mr. Choudry in the chest.
After Mr. Choudry was shot, he backed into the apartment and fell onto the floor. When the officers entered the apartment, Mr. Choudry still had the knife in his hand. The officers commanded him to drop the knife and when Mr. Choudry did not do so, WO #2 discharged his ARWEN two more times at Mr. Choudry. WO #8 then delivered a hard kick to Mr. Choudry’s arm, resulting in the knife falling to the floor.
At this moment, the other TRU team breached the apartment through the apartment’s front door and paramedics rushed into the apartment to perform CPR on Mr. Choudry with the assistance of WO #2. Attempts to save Mr. Choudry’s life were unsuccessful and Mr. Choudry was pronounced dead at 8:38 p.m.
Cause of Death
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,
Sections 219 and 221, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
(a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.
Analysis and Director's Decision
The two overarching questions with respect to the potential criminal liability of the involved officers are whether the SO, WO #2 and WO #8 used excessive force during their interaction with Mr. Choudry, and whether WO #10 was criminally negligent as the officer in charge of the police response. Following a thorough examination of the evidence, I am unable to form reasonable grounds to believe any PRP officer committed a criminal offence in relation to Mr. Choudry’s death.
To begin, I will consider whether the SO, WO #2 and WO #8 used excessive force. Subsections 25(1) and 25(3) of the Criminal Code dictate when police officers are permitted to use force, including lethal force. Section 25(1) states that a police officer is justified, if he or she acts on reasonable grounds, in using as much force as necessary in the execution of a lawful duty. Section 25(3) clarifies that a police officer is only permitted to use force likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that lethal force is necessary to preserve themselves or others from death or grievous bodily harm.
I accept that the PRP officers were acting within the execution of their lawful duties when they accompanied paramedics to Mr. Choudry’s apartment and breached the balcony door. Police officers are bound by a duty to protect life, which extends to the general public and not just victims of crime. WO #1 and WO #4 were acting squarely within this duty by entering the unit to retrieve Mr. Choudry’s pocket-knife and facilitate his assessment by paramedics. Furthermore, the Mental Health Act allows police officers to take an individual into custody for psychiatric examination if certain conditions are met and they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is suffering from an apparent mental disorder that likely will result in serious harm to the person or another person. The police knew Mr. Choudry suffered from schizophrenia, had potentially absconded from psychiatric care and was not taking his medication. I accept that, when Mr. Choudry brandished the knife in the presence of police and refused to cooperate, the police had adequate grounds to apprehend him because he presented a threat to himself or others and demonstrated a lack of competence to care for himself. Finally, while Mr. Choudry effectively told the police to get a warrant, a warrant was not necessary for the police to lawfully enter the apartment. Apart from the likelihood that the police had implicit permission from the family to enter the unit, police are allowed warrantless entry into apartments to check on an individual’s well-being when there are exigent circumstances. 
The only direct evidence of what transpired in the apartment preceding the officers’ use of force comes from WO #2 and WO #8. After the balcony door was breached, both WO #2 and WO #8 observed Mr. Choudry standing in the living room holding a large kitchen knife in his right hand. According to the officers, Mr. Choudry had the knife extended towards the officers and immediately began moving in their direction. The officers commanded him to drop the knife to no avail and WO #8 deployed his CEW towards Mr. Choudry. The officer believed the CEW connected with Mr. Choudry’s torso but had no apparent effect.  At about the same time, as Mr. Choudry continued to move towards the balcony door, WO #2 aimed towards Mr. Choudry’s arm and discharged his ARWEN three times. WO #2 estimated that Mr. Choudry was about eight feet away when he discharged the ARWEN. WO #8 estimated that Mr. Choudry was five to six feet from the threshold of the door when this occurred. Both officers reported that Mr. Choudry was undeterred by the ARWEN discharges and continued moving towards the officers. WO #8 estimated that Mr. Choudry was about three feet from the balcony door, and five to six feet from the SO, when the SO discharged his pistol twice at Mr. Choudry. WO #2 estimated Mr. Choudry was four feet away from the door at the time of the shooting.
After the shooting, WO #2 and WO #8 described Mr. Choudry taking a couple steps back into the apartment and falling to the ground near a couch. According to the officers, he used his left arm to prop himself up and still had the knife held in his right hand. The officers moved into the apartment and yelled at Mr. Choudry to drop the knife. WO #2 shot at Mr. Choudry two more times with the ARWEN. With the ARWEN out of rubber bullets, WO #8 kicked Mr. Choudry’s arm with all his strength, causing him to drop the knife. Mr. Choudry eased himself onto his back and WO #2 immediately rendered first aid.
A video of the balcony suggests that about eight to nine seconds elapsed from the moment the officers breached the balcony door to the moment Mr. Choudry was shot, and about another six seconds elapsed before WO #2 fired the final ARWEN shot. 
Following the death of Mr. Choudry, it was suggested that Mr. Choudry was not capable of approaching the officers as described due to his poor health. The SIU gathered evidence from the Choudry family and Mr. Choudry’s physician which confirmed that Mr. Choudry was frail, unable to walk at the speed of an average adult and would need to take breaks after walking even short distances. However, WO #2 and WO #8 did not suggest that Mr. Choudry walked a great distance. Instead, they both described him moving a matter of feet during the interaction which occurred over about nine seconds. There was also evidence that Mr. Choudry would use walls or the furniture to support himself while moving around the apartment, but it does not appear that Mr. Choudry was incapable of walking unsupported. Mr. Choudry could walk without a cane or a walker and was known to walk occasionally to a nearby mall, albeit slowly and with frequent breaks. Based on evidence about Mr. Choudry’s medical condition, I am not persuaded he was unable to walk as described. As such, evidence of Mr. Choudry’s frailty alone is not enough to cast doubt on the accounts of WO #2 and WO #8.
WO #2 and WO #8’s descriptions of what occurred inside the apartment otherwise appear both credible and reliable. It is believable that Mr. Choudry, who had paranoid beliefs about the police, would approach the officers with a knife in order to protect himself, especially when he had already brandished a knife at officers earlier that evening. The officers’ statements were also primarily consistent both internally and with each other, and partially corroborated on important points by objective and forensic evidence. For example, the video recording of the balcony confirms the officers commanded Mr. Choudry to drop the knife after breaching the door and after entering the apartment. The video also corroborates the officers’ description of the timing and nature of the force used on Mr. Choudry. The forensic evidence is similarly consistent with the officers’ description of Mr. Choudry approaching the officers when he was shot: a CEW probe was found lodged in Mr. Choudry’s abdomen and the trajectory of the two bullet wounds was from the front to the back, and slightly downwards. The pathologist also noted a fracture to Mr. Choudry’s right elbow, which might have been caused by WO #8’s forceful kick. Lastly, the knife found at the scene was similar to the one described by the officers.
On these facts, I find that the SO was justified pursuant to subsections 25(1) and 25(3) of the Criminal Code in using lethal force against Mr. Choudry. While I have no evidence from the SO about his state of mind, WO #11 heard the SO say, “I had to do it, I had no choice,” immediately after the shooting. I am also able to infer from the circumstances that the SO held the subjective belief that he was required to use his firearm to protect himself and his partners from serious harm. Despite his frailty, Mr. Choudry was armed with an edged weapon, a kitchen knife with a 20-centimetre blade, which could cause grievous injury or death. At the time of the shooting, lesser use of force, including use of a CEW and multiple ARWEN discharges, had failed to deter Mr. Choudry. Indeed, Mr. Choudry had moved within approximately three to four feet of the balcony doorway (about five to six feet from the SO) and had shown no intention of stopping before the SO discharged his weapon. There was no realistic way to retreat because the officers were perched on a small, crowded balcony they could only exit by using ladders. There was also no time to switch tactics and try other methods, such as using oleoresin capsicum spray or a baton, to disarm Mr. Choudry. Any other option to respond to the threat, such as going hands-on with Mr. Choudry or closing the balcony door (which swung into the apartment), would have increased the risk that the officers would suffer serious injury or death. As such, I believe the SO’s resort to his firearm was objectively reasonable, necessary and proportional to the threat posed by Mr. Choudry, notwithstanding the tragic loss of life it caused.
Having found the SO resort to lethal force justified on the balcony, I accordingly find that WO #2’s and WO #8’s use of the CEW and ARWEN on the balcony was similarly justified. Had these options caused Mr. Choudry to drop the knife, there would have been no need for the SO to use his firearm and the officers might have safely apprehended Mr. Choudry. I similarly cannot fault WO #8 for kicking Mr. Choudry’s arm to disarm him inside the apartment. What is more troubling is whether the use of the ARWEN after Mr. Choudry fell to the ground was justified.
The post-mortem report suggests that Mr. Choudry was shot with an ARWEN in his mid-back and I believe this likely occurred while Mr. Choudry was on the ground.  At first blush, this use of force is questionable given Mr. Choudry’s frailty and position on the floor; however, I am unable to find it excessive. Mr. Choudry had shown determination in approaching the officers with a knife by advancing on them despite the CEW and ARWEN discharges. Even after he was shot, he continued to hold the knife, and also appeared to be using his left hand to try to get up. In this context and considering the need to immediately disarm Mr. Choudry to provide him with life-saving medical attention, I am unable to find the final ARWEN discharges excessive. In coming to this conclusion, I am mindful of the state of the law as set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Nasogaluak  1 S.C.R. 206, which provides that “police actions should not be judged against a standard of perfection”. The law is clear that police officers are not required to measure the force they use with exactitude or to a nicety.
The second question is whether a police officer committed the offence of criminal negligence causing death contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code. Mr. Choudry’s tragic death is one of a series of recent deaths involving police responding to individuals in crisis. In the wake of these deaths, there has been a call from families and the community to reform policing, including the way mental health crises are handled by first responders. There have been concerns that police presence can escalate these situations and make them worse. In Mr. Choudry’s case, his paranoia about police played a significant role in his death and these concerns have obvious validity. While questions about police reform are of clear importance, systemic issues in policing can only play a role in the SIU’s decision-making where they are relevant to the potential criminal culpability of an individual police officer. The offence of criminal negligence causing death is predicated, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked and substantial departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. Notwithstanding the aforementioned-concerns, I am unable to form reasonable grounds to believe that the responding officers’ conduct approached this level of negligence. In fact, it appears the officer in charge, WO #10, made appropriate use of the available resources and reasonable choices in an ultimately failed attempt to safely apprehend Mr. Choudry. 
Pursuant to PRP policy, WO #10 as the Duty Inspector was required to assume responsibility for the incident. WO #10’s responsibilities included directing the police response and requesting additional resources where necessary. I am unable to find that WO #10 executed any of these responsibilities in a manner that constituted a marked and substantial departure from a reasonable person. To start, it appears that WO #10 made appropriate use of the resources available. The PRP has a Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team (MCRRT) that consists of a police officer and a mental health professional. When WO #10 took control of the call, he was aware the MCRRT were unable to respond because they were busy at another incident. He cannot be faulted for their unavailability.  Instead, the TRU team took control of the scene. The TRU team is a specialized unit responsible for barricaded person calls and its members have crisis negotiation training. WO #10 was aware that the TRU team was negotiating with Mr. Choudry using a Punjabi-speaking officer to interpret. He believed Mr. Choudry spoke some English but wanted to ensure there were no misunderstandings. When negotiations reached an impasse, WO #10 called in the CNT, a team of crisis negotiators that could act in an advisory fashion. He also requested police contact the hospital where Mr. Choudry had been treated, speak with the family to learn about Mr. Choudry’s medical issues and seek advice from a mental health professional.
As it is apparent that the presence of police was escalating Mr. Choudry’s behaviour, WO #10’s decision to not permit the family to speak with Mr. Choudry is open to legitimate scrutiny. Mr. Choudry’s family had experience in calming Mr. Choudry and had helped facilitate his safe apprehension before. However, WO #10 explained that using a third-party to negotiate was inherently risky. For instance, using a loved one to negotiate with a person in crisis might prompt a dying declaration making the situation worse. In the present case, WO #10 was also cognizant that the family members had been unable to de-escalate the situation earlier that evening. In addition, a person without protective equipment (such as a family member, mental health professional or negotiator) would generally not have been placed near the apartment door when Mr. Choudry was armed with a knife. In the circumstances, the decision-making of WO #10 or the other officers was not without reason in this regard. In making this assessment, I am cognizant that WO #9 spoke with Mr. Choudry about his family and said his brother wanted to speak with him. In response, Mr. Choudry expressed frustration with his family and disinterest in speaking with his brother.
A more difficult question is whether WO #10 was criminally negligent in the PRP’s approach to apprehending Mr. Choudry. I cannot find fault in the initial plan to contain Mr. Choudry, keep other tenants sheltered and try to negotiate Mr. Choudry’s safe surrender with an interpreter. Instead, the real question is whether executing the DAP was criminally negligent. The police were aware that Mr. Choudry was afraid of police. Moreover, there is the real possibility that Mr. Choudry was unable to understand the officers as they did not speak Punjabi. On the other hand, the hope was that the element of surprise would prevent Mr. Choudry from taking defensive action and that the use of multiple officers would mean there were more “less lethal” use of force options (such as a CEW or ARWEN) to facilitate a safe apprehension should circumstances turn volatile. In addition, WO #9 had already explained in Punjabi to Mr. Choudry the officers’ concerns about the knife.
It is significant that the DAP was not implemented until after Mr. Choudry became non-responsive and its necessity had crystalized. The approximately 20-minute long period of non-responsiveness alarmed WO #10, who was worried that Mr. Choudry was at risk for self-harm. Beyond that, WO #10 was concerned about Mr. Choudry’s physical condition. He was of the understanding that Mr. Choudry was not taking his medication, had diabetes, a history of heart issues and recently had lung surgery. He had been advised that Mr. Choudry could barely walk or breathe and was concerned Mr. Choudry’s breathing was exasperated by the heat of the day. Faced with these concerns, and being unable to gain a visual on Mr. Choudry,  WO #10 was in a position where he had to weigh the risk of immediate intervention with the risk of not acting in the event Mr. Choudry was in medical distress. While I accept WO #10’s choice to intervene set in train a series of events with devastating consequences, I am unable to determine that this was a departure from what a reasonable person faced with the same choices would do, let alone a marked and substantial departure.
In the final analysis, as I am not reasonably satisfied for the foregoing reasons that the shooting of Mr. Choudry amounted to legally unjustified force or was the culmination of a criminally negligent course of conduct, there is no basis to proceed with criminal charges in this case notwithstanding Mr. Choudry’s tragic death. This file is closed.
Date: March 15, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) An ARWEN is a firearm that launches plastic bullets. [Back to text]
- 2) The second projectile, not listed in the scene diagram (below), was located after the body of Mr. Choudry had been removed. [Back to text]
- 3) The times are derived from the CEW’s internal timeclock, which is not necessarily synchronized with actual time. [Back to text]
- 4) The evidence at autopsy suggests that only one of the two probes latched onto Mr. Choudry’s body, detracting from the incapacitating effects of the weapon. [Back to text]
- 5) The knife was estimated by witnesses to be between 15 and 30 centimetres long. The knife recovered from the apartment had a 20-centimetre-long blade. [Back to text]
- 6) The TRU team is a unit within the PRP that responds to “critical incidents” including those involving barricaded persons. A barricaded person is defined as any individual who is reasonably believed to be a threat to themselves or others who is in a stronghold position. [Back to text]
- 7) The Duty Inspector was responsible for any major incidents within the region, including barricaded persons. [Back to text]
- 8) The second TRU team attended because the shift of the first TRU team was about to end. [Back to text]
- 9) Mr. Choudry’s brother, and others in his family, had requested to speak with him but TRU members would not let them near the apartment door. [Back to text]
- 10) The five second delay was to avoid the potential for crossfire. [Back to text]
- 11) Witness accounts estimated the period in which Mr. Choudry was non-responsive was from 15 to 45 minutes long. The radio transmissions suggest that this period was closer to 20 minutes. [Back to text]
- 12) R v Stethem, 2014 ONSC 3823. [Back to text]
- 13) The evidence at autopsy suggests that only one of the CEW’s probes latched onto Mr. Choudry, detracting from the incapacitating effects of the weapon. [Back to text]
- 14) These times assume that the playback of the video reflects real time. [Back to text]
- 15) It strikes me as implausible that WO #2 shot Mr. Choudry in the back while he was on the balcony because the forensic evidence demonstrates the CEW and pistol discharges, which occurred immediately before and after the ARWEN discharges, struck the front of Mr. Choudry’s body. [Back to text]
- 16) This view is not a finding about whether police reform should occur or could prevent similar deaths. The SIU’s jurisdiction is strictly limited to assessing for individual criminal culpability, and broader questions about police reform are better answered by institutions with the mandates and expertise to do so. [Back to text]
- 17) In any event, WO #10 indicated he would not have deployed the MCRRT as weapons were involved. [Back to text]
- 18) The officers on the balcony attempted to gain a visual through the windows, but the windows were covered with curtains. The police also had a fiber optic camera but did not believe it would fit under the front or balcony door. [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.