SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OCI-235
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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 injuries a 33-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn September 24, 2020, at 9:55 a.m., the Kingston Police (KP) notified the SIU that the Complainant had been admitted to hospital following his arrest.
According to KP, on September 23, 2020, at 4:00 a.m., KP officers responded to a residence on Ford Street for a stabbing. The Complainant had reportedly stabbed four men. The victims had managed to flee the residence and the Complainant, a known methamphetamine user, had barricaded himself inside the apartment. A 12-hour standoff ensued, and tear gas was deployed into the apartment. The Complainant was ultimately apprehended, after being subjected to a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW). It was unknown what drugs the Complainant had taken during the standoff. He was admitted to the Kingston General Hospital, although the reason for his admission was unknown to KP. The Complainant was reportedly unconscious in the Intensive Care Unit, under guard by KP officers.
KP advised the Complainant might have suffered a fractured rib.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
On September 24, 2020, the SIU Lead Investigator contacted KP, who reported the scene had been cleared and released.
The CEW that had been deployed during the incident had been secured by the KP. On September 24, 2020, an SIU Forensic Investigator attended the KP and downloaded the CEW deployment data.
The Complainant remained sedated until October 5, 2020, delaying the SIU from obtaining a consent for the release of his medical information, to confirm injuries were suffered. On October 5, 2020, the SIU was advised the Complainant was awake, and had been remanded into the custody of the Quinte Detention Centre. The SIU asked the Quinte Detention Centre to have the Complainant sign a medical release consent form, and they assisted the SIU in that regard. On October 8, 2020, the Kingston General Hospital confirmed the Complainant’s injuries.
On October 9, 2020, the SIU requested a list of involved police officers. KP undertook to provide the information to the SIU by October 13, 2020. Witness officer designations were issued on October 23, 2020 and the witness officer notes were received by the SIU on November 3, 2020. The delays in identifying witness officers and the receipt of their notes delayed witness officer interviews. The first witness officer interview took place on November 4, 2020.
Additional requests for information were sent to the KP on December 8, 2020. Many of those materials were not received by the SIU until December 29, 2020. The delay in the receipt of those materials contributed to a delay in the preparation of this report. There was also difficulty in contacting the victims of the Complainant’s assault, which created additional delays in the finalizing of the investigation.
33-year-old male interviewed
Civilian Witnesses (CW)CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
Witness Officers (WO)WO #1 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #3 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #4 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #5 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #6 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #7 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #8 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #9 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
Subject Officers (SO)SO #1 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
SO #2 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
SO #3 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
SO #4 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
SO #5 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The SceneThe scene had been released prior to the notification being made to the SIU. As a result, the SIU did not visit the residence on Ford Street.
ERU Video Recording Device
The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) deployed a video recording device into the residence at 7:32 a.m. Three video recordings from the device were reviewed.
There was very little sound or noise in the area of the device for the first two hours.
At 9:30 a.m., there was a commotion and yelling from somewhere inside the residence.
At 9:42 a.m., a loud banging noise was recorded. The Complainant could then be heard talking incoherently.
At 10:10 a.m., the recording captured repeated popping noises, and the Complainant started to cough and gag.
Other loud banging noises were recorded throughout the remainder of the recording, but it was impossible to determine whether the noises were the result of police equipment being deployed or from the Complainant destroying property.
Two dogs could be seen walking around inside the residence.
At 10:51 a.m., there were numerous banging noises and the Complainant yelled, “Fuck!” It was unclear whether the noises were the deployment of a police weapons or the Complainant destroying property.
At 10:52 a.m., a man, with blood or tattoos on his left chest, walked backward into a doorway near the device. He was holding what appeared to be a large knife in his right hand. There were then numerous banging noises.
At 11:10 a.m., a police officer asked the Complainant whether he would be coming out with his hands up. The Complainant responded, “No.” The police officer told the Complainant they would be using more gas.
At 11:12 a.m., the Complainant reached down to the floor and picked up a baking pan, which he then hurled down the hallway. He was still holding a knife in his right hand.
The police repeatedly asked the Complainant whether he was going to come out and the Complainant repeatedly responded, “Never.” The Complainant commented about the police killing him, and a police officer responded they would not kill him. The Complainant continued to state he would never exit the residence.
At 11:25 a.m. there were more loud noises and the Complainant again started to gag. He called out, “I’m dying here.” A police officer called out they were entering to rescue the Complainant and told him, “You need to give up.” Again, the Complainant responded, “Never.”
At 11:30 a.m., a great deal of noise was recorded, suggested an entry had been made by the police. The Complainant called out in pain.
At 11:37 a.m., a gaseous spray was recorded on the video recording. The source of the spray [believed to be a gas fogging canister] could not be seen on the recording.
The Complainant continued to mumble about the police hurting him. At 12:20 p.m., a police officer responded, “Last time we didn’t hurt you when you came out.” The Complainant alternated between crying and ranting. The modulation in his tone at times made it sound as though there was more than one person inside the residence.
At 1:20 p.m., there was a sound of metal striking metal, and there was then a hissing sound. 
At 1:22 p.m., a police officer called out, “Scissors in his hand.”
At 1:23 p.m., a police officer commented a propane cylinder had been smashed. The police officer commented, “Taser is out of play.” The police officer reported the Complainant had locked himself in a bedroom. The police officers were inside the front portion of the residence at the time.
At 1:27 p.m., police officers repeatedly commanded the Complainant to “drop the knife”. The video recording captured the Complainant marching around the residence. No knife was visible in his right hand at that point, but his left hand could not be seen clearly.
At 2:10 p.m., a police officer reported the Complainant had a tin pan in his left hand. The police officer reported, “Knife in hand, cigarette in mouth.” The officer again reported, “Knife confirmed left hand,” and then said, “Now it’s in his right hand.” The police officers discussed the situation and one of them commented the knife looked to be a hunting knife.
At 2:21 p.m., a police officer reported, “Knife in hand, knife in hand.”
At 2:25 p.m., a police officer reported the Complainant was bleeding from the upper left chest.
At 2:26 p.m., a police officer spoke to another police officer, saying, “That’s going to be slippery shit,” and, “Buddy, you’re not even going to get back there. Look at all that shit there.”
At 2:48 p.m., the police officers discussed how fatigued they were, and lamented the prospect of having to clean up the scene.
At 2:49 p.m., a police officer commented, “Big dumb fucking goof.” It was unclear of whom the police officer was speaking. Another police officer cautioned that the recording device was still inside the residence. A police officer told one of the other officers to throw the device out the window. The device was then thrown outside.
The police officers told the Complainant, “It’s over.” They told him it was time to go and instructed him to come out and show his hands.
At 3:28 p.m., police officers were yelling at the Complainant to throw the knife out the back window.
At 3:37 p.m., a police officer repeatedly called out to a dog [believed to be the deployed police dog] to come over to him.
At 3:47 p.m., there was a discussion regarding the use of ladders.
At 4:16 p.m., a vehicle with a loud diesel engine [believed to be the OPP armoured vehicle] was positioned close to the recording device, overwhelming the audio recording.
At 4:26 p.m., police officers were outside on the lawn and repeatedly telling the Complainant to stay down. The Complainant was mumbling incoherently. At 4:36 p.m., a police officer commented a hobble had been placed on the Complainant’s legs.
The recording ended at 4:49 p.m.
CEW Deployment RecordsSO #4 told the SIU he deployed his CEW twice during the incident.
On September 24, 2020, a CEW, reported to be the CEW deployed during the Complainant’s arrest, was downloaded by an SIU Forensic Investigator. The downloaded data lacked any files dated September 23, 2020. The CEW had been connected to a KP computer prior to the arrival of the SIU Forensic Investigator. When the SIU asked whether the KP had downloaded the device, KP reported that Officer #1, who was a KP ERU member and a member of the KP training unit, was the police officer who had connected the CEW to a computer.
On March 1, 2021, Officer #1 advised the SIU the CEW carried by SO #4 suffered a major fault that caused a “time drift error”. When Officer #1 connected the CEW to his computer, the internal clock of the CEW was corrected.
Officer #1 advised the CEW data records for September 23, 2020 were dated September 15, 2020. According to Officer #1, SO #4’s first CEW deployment was identified, in the internal data records, as having taken place on September 15, 2020 at 2:01 a.m., and his second deployment was recorded at 3:29 a.m., but that deployment had actually taken place just prior to the Complainant being taken into custody, at 4:26 p.m.
Figure 1 – SO #4’s CEW
Police Communications RecordingsOn September 23, 2020, a woman called from an apartment in a residence on Ford Street to report a man, in a second apartment in the same building, was on drugs and had stabbed her boyfriend in the chest. She reported the man was “stabbing everybody”.
Another 911 call was received from a man in the second apartment, reporting another man was stabbing him. The caller reported the culprit was in the kitchen and holding a knife. The caller identified the culprit to be the Complainant. The caller reported the Complainant had also stabbed the caller’s two brothers.
A responding police officer suggested the dispatcher notify the ERU, as the last time they were involved with the Complainant they had quite a standoff with him.
Two police officers reported the injured parties were in a bedroom and were removing an air conditioner from the window, to flee the residence. Once they had done so, the Complainant would be the sole occupant in the apartment.
A police officer soon reported the three victims were outside the residence and had suffered only minor injuries. The suspect (the Complainant) was contained in the residence and was in possession of a knife.
A police officer reported the suspect was throwing plates and bowls out the rear window.
There was later a discussion regarding the presence of firearms stored inside the residence. Although the firearms were reportedly equipped with trigger locks, the police officers discussed concerns regarding the possibility the Complainant might point a firearm at officers.
A police officer reported the Complainant’s mother was on scene and had attempted to speak to him, but she was too emotionally fragile to continue those efforts.
The KP Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team (mental health crisis intervention team) was dispatched to the scene. Police officers reported the Complainant was refusing to negotiate and continued to throw things out the window.
Police officers discussed plans to deploy tear gas into the rear of the residence, in an attempt to have the Complainant move to the front of the residence.
On a number of occasions CS gas (2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile) and OC gas (oleoresin capsicum) were deployed into the residence. There were several reports of those devices failing to function. A CS gas “fogger” appeared to be effective, causing the Complainant to cough and walk around with his vision impaired, but the Complainant was unwilling to surrender. Police officers were not willing to enter the residence until the Complainant dropped the knife he was holding.
At one point, the Complainant was reportedly empty-handed, and authorization was issued for ERU officers to breach the front door. Officers started to ask the Complainant to come out. An officer reported the Complainant appeared to be in the kitchen.
A police officer reported the smell of propane, and it was decided the presence of propane precluded deployment of CEWs. The Complainant was again observed holding a knife, with which he was stabbing the kitchen table.
The Complainant was reported to be throwing knives and kitchen pots at the officers who had entered the residence, requiring them to back away. It was also reported the propane tank that had been emptied into the apartment was a small camping canister, and the fire department had advised the propane from that size container would dissipate quickly, given that the windows of the residence had been broken.
Additional canisters and projectiles of CS gas were deployed into the residence. Police officers continued to report the Complainant was holding a knife. The ERU officers were in the main entrance threshold and the Complainant was reportedly in a bedroom. He was observed to be bleeding from his upper left chest and he continued to throw knives at police officers.
A police officer reported a police dog had been sent into the residence but was having difficulty getting over a freezer. The police officer was going to try to recover the police dog.
Later, KP police officers decided to deploy the OPP armoured vehicle onto Ford Street.
A police officer reported, “Male is down, move in, move in.” The officers then reported they had a man in custody, at 4:26 p.m. (time provided by dispatcher).
Materials obtained from Police Service
Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from KP:
- Communications Recordings;
- Computer-Aided Dispatch Report;
- Audio and video recordings from an ERU device deployed into the residence;
- A list of ERU Team members;
- KP Policy regarding Armed Persons, Barricaded Situations;
- The notes of all designated witness officers;
- The notes of all designated subject officers;
- Platoon Roster for uniform police officers;
- General Occurrence Report for the Complainant; and
- ERU Video Recording Device File Notes.
Materials obtained from Other Sources
The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from non-police sources:
- Medical Records – Kingston General Hospital.
The Complainant had indeed attacked several persons in the residence. He had been staying as a guest in a woman’s apartment, consisting of the main floor of the building. In the morning of September 23, 2020, after having consumed methamphetamine, he went on a violent rampage inside the home. He first attacked one of the woman’s sons, CW #3, by striking him in the head with a sock stuffed with a padlock. The assault fractured CW #3’s jaw. When CW #3’s brothers arrived in his bedroom in response to the commotion, the Complainant swung at each of them with a pocket-knife in his possession. One of the brothers suffered stab wounds to his neck and head area. The brothers were able to force the Complainant out of the bedroom and escape through the bedroom window, leaving the Complainant alone in the apartment.
KP uniformed officers began arriving at the scene and set up a perimeter around the building. As the Complainant was known to be alone, and armed and dangerous, in the apartment, it was decided that they would contain the scene pending the arrival of ERU officers.
At about 5:00 a.m., SO #5 assumed overall command of the operation. ERU officers had deployed to the scene and taken over positions around the inner perimeter from the uniformed officers. Various avenues were pursued with the intention of having the Complainant surrender peacefully into custody. The Complainant would have nothing of it. He screamed from within the residence, threw objects, including knives, out through the home’s windows at the officers, and destroyed property within the apartment, all the while brandishing a knife in his hands.
Trained negotiators attended the scene and attempted to speak with the Complainant through the apartment’s windows, which had all been shattered by this point, and via a phone. When he responded, the Complainant categorically stated that he had no intention of giving up or putting away the knife. A mental health worker affiliated with the KP mental health crisis intervention team, also approached the building under the protective cover of an officer holding a police shield and tried talking to the Complainant. The Complainant was unreceptive and continued to throw items out of the windows. Concerned for her personal safety, the mental health worker backed away from the building. At one point, the Complainant’s mother was permitted to speak with her son. She too, however, was unable to make any inroads.
As the hours rolled by with no end in sight, the ERU began to adopt a more proactive posture. Starting at about 11:10 a.m., multiple canisters of tear gas and OC gas were thrown into the residence with the intention of driving the Complainant out of the home. Though not all of the canisters were successfully deployed, those that did seemed to have little effect on the Complainant, who was seen through the windows still holding the knife and moving about the residence.
Sometime after 2:00 p.m., WO #5 approved a plan whereby a number of ERU officers would enter through the front door of the residence and assume the space near the front of the apartment. The objective was to shrink the area within which the Complainant was mobile inside the home. At the sight of the officers, the Complainant began to throw knives and other objects at the officers, who used their shields to deflect most of the projectiles. SO #4, a part of the entry team, discharged his CEW in the Complainant’s direction. The weapon had no effect. The Complainant continued to manically move between the bedrooms located at the rear of the unit, climbing up and over debris that littered and blocked the hallway, including a refrigerator and other household items that he had broken. The same was true of ARWEN rounds deployed by SO #3 and SO #1 of the entry team. Though one, and maybe both, of the shots found their mark, the Complainant remained standing and still in possession of the knife. The deployment of a police service dog also failed to incapacitate the Complainant. In fact, it seemed the Complainant was able to exert a calming effect on the dog, and was seen to be petting it at one point.
As the standoff continued, SO #5 gave effect to another plan. SO #4 and SO #2, armed with a CEW and ARWEN, respectively, would climb separate ladders to one of the broken bedroom windows at the rear of the home. At the sight of the Complainant in the bedroom, the officers would deploy their weapons hoping to neutralize the Complainant at a distance. Thereafter, the entry team, still positioned at the front of the residence, would rush in and take the Complainant into custody.
Shortly before 4:30 p.m., the Complainant ventured into the bedroom being monitored by SO #4 and SO #2 from their ladders and was struck by a CEW and an ARWEN discharge. The CEW deployment caused him to lock up and fall to the floor. He was then struck by an ARWEN round. SO #2 radioed for the entry team to enter the bedroom and they did so.
After a brief struggle, in the course of which it does not appear that any of the officers had occasion to deliver any strikes, the Complainant was dispossessed of the knife, subdued and placed in handcuffs.
Following his arrest, the Complainant was taken from the scene to hospital in ambulance. He was diagnosed with four fractured right-sided ribs, a fracture to the left foot, a partial right-sided pneumothorax, and numerous bruises.
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. The officers who attended at the address on Ford Street seeking to place the Complainant into custody were in the lawful discharge of their duty. They were aware that the Complainant was armed with a knife, extremely agitated and violent, and had just attacked occupants of the residence, inflicting serious injury. There were ample grounds to arrest the Complainant for any number of offences, including assault with a weapon.
Thereafter, I am satisfied that the subject officers never exceeded the ambit of reasonably necessary force to effect their purpose. At the direction of SO #5, the police operation that unfolded over about 12 hours was demonstrably geared at a peaceful resolution of the standoff. Every effort was undertaken to negotiate the Complainant’s surrender to police. Trained negotiators, a mental health professional and the Complainant’s own mother were all given an opportunity to persuade the Complainant to drop his knife and exit the home. Regrettably, the Complainant could not be reasoned with. Only when it was abundantly clear that negotiation would not work did SO #5 begin to pursue a more aggressive approach. Here, too, the tactic was to first deploy tear gas and OC gas from a distance in the hope that the Complainant would be driven from his position of advantage inside the home in a weakened condition from the debilitating effects of the gas. It was only when that also failed, the Complainant seemingly impervious to the gas, that the officers began to use the less lethal weapons at their disposal, namely, a police dog, ARWENs and CEWs, to apply direct physical force at the Complainant. But for the final CEW and ARWEN discharges, the Complainant was unaffected by this force, even settling and petting the dog at one moment in the bedroom. On this record, faced with an armed and violent individual over a protracted engagement, I am satisfied that the force used by the officers was at every turn commensurate and proportionate to the exigencies of the situation.
It remains unclear whether any of the injuries suffered by the Complainant were directly inflicted by the police. In fact, it is possible and perhaps even likely that some if not all of the injuries happened in the course of the physical altercations with the residents that preceded the police presence or his feverish movements inside the home where he was seen to collide with household items. Be that as it may, as there are no reasonable grounds on the aforementioned-record to believe that the subject officers acted other than lawfully throughout the course of the standoff, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.
Date: April 6, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) This is believed to have been the rupturing of the propane cylinder. [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.