SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCI-004
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the SIU Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence was committed. If such grounds exist, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the official. Alternatively, in cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director cannot lay charges. Where no charges are laid, a report of the investigation is prepared and released publicly, except in the case of reports dealing with allegations of sexual assault, in which case the SIU Director may consult with the affected person and exercise a discretion to not publicly release the report having regard to the affected person’s privacy interests.
Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019Pursuant to section 34, certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The name of, and any information identifying, a subject official, witness official, civilian witness or affected person.
- Information that may result in the identity of a person who reported that they were sexually assaulted being revealed in connection with the sexual assault.
- Information that, in the opinion of the SIU Director, could lead to a risk of serious harm to a person.
- Information that discloses investigative techniques or procedures.
- Information, the release of which is prohibited or restricted by law.
- Information in which a person’s privacy interest in not having the information published clearly outweighs the public interest in having the information published.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActPursuant to section14 (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 that could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
Pursuant to section 21 (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The names of persons, including civilian witnesses, and subject and witness officials;
- Location information;
- Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and
- Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may also have 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.
A person sustains a “serious injury” for purposes of the SIU’s jurisdiction if they: sustain an injury as a result of which they are admitted to hospital; suffer a fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib or vertebra; suffer burns to a significant proportion of their body; lose any portion of their body; or, as a result of an injury, experience a loss of vision or hearing.
In addition, a “serious injury” means any other injury sustained by a person that is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into serious injuries sustained by a 45-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn January 1, 2021, at about 3:44 p.m., Barrie Police Service (BPS) attended an address on Cygnus Crescent, Barrie, in relation to a domestic situation. A man [now known to be the Complainant] refused to leave his girlfriend’s [now known to be Civilian Witness (CW) #2] residence. Upon the arrival of police, the Complainant was on a couch, pretending to be asleep. The police officers saw he had a knife in a sheath, fixed to his belt. They subsequently requested backup.
Once backup police officers arrived, they tried rousing the Complainant, at which time he pulled the knife and became confrontational with police officers. Three police officers deployed their conducted energy weapons (CEWs) at the Complainant; however, they were ineffective. One of the police officers went hands-on and delivered several blows to the Complainant’s face. The police officer was able to take him into custody.
The Complainant was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) and later diagnosed with a fractured cheek and nose.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 01/04/2021 at 11:09 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 01/05/2021 at 1:17 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):45-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on January 5, 2021.
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between January 5, 2021, and February 3, 2021.
Subject OfficialsSO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The SO was interviewed on February 5, 2021.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between January 16, 2021, and March 8, 2021.
Investigative DelayThe investigator faced delays with respect to interviewing a witness official. At the time of designations and interviews, the witness official was on leave, so their interview was scheduled for a later date on March 8, 2021.
The Scene The Complainant sustained his injury in a second-story bedroom of residence on Cygnus Crescent, Barrie. The bedroom was approximately 3.6 m X 3.6 m.
CEW Discharges – Summary of Downloaded DataThe SO
According to the CEW report, at 3:48:17 p.m.,  the SO’s CEW was “triggered”. The duration was five seconds in length. It was determined that cartridge one (C1) was discharged.
According to the CEW report, at 3:49:29 p.m., WO #3’s CEW was “triggered”. The duration was five seconds in length. It was determined that C1 was discharged.
According to the CEW report, at 3:47:20 p.m., WO #5’s CEW was “triggered”. The duration was five seconds in length. It was determined that C1 was discharged.
According to the CEW report, WO #2 did not discharge her CEW.
According to the CEW report, WO #1 did not discharge his CEW.
According to the CEW report, WO #4 did not discharge his CEW.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU searched for and obtained audio, video and photographic records of relevance, as set out below.
911/Communications Recording Summary911 Communications
The 911 call was made by CW #1 and it was date and time stamped, January 1, 2021, at 3:07:31 p.m.
CW #1 identified herself as the girlfriend of CW #2. CW #1 feared for the safety of CW #2. CW #2 was having a verbal argument with her boyfriend [now known to be the Complainant].
The Complainant had been drinking and had a knife on his hip. The Complainant was rubbing his hand over the knife as they argued. CW #1 believed the argument was verbal and she feared for the safety of CW #2. CW #2 asked the Complainant many times to leave the residence, but he would not.
CW #1 stated she was near CW #2’s residence.
During the 911 call, CW #1 arrived outside the residence. CW #2 exited the residence and got into CW #1’s vehicle. CW #2 sounded upset as she spoke with the call-taker.
CW #2 gave her name to the 911 operator and both women stated they would wait for the BPS.
Radio CommunicationsThe audio file was 1 hour, 29 minutes, and 27 seconds. The audio was date and time stamped with the first transmission associated to this investigation coming on January 1, 2021 at 3:15:31 p.m. The last transmission associated to this call was time stamped at 7:13:08 p.m.
3:15:31 p.m. The dispatched call was sent via Mobile Data Terminal (MDT). The dispatcher voiced additional information. She stated the male was [the Complainant] and he had a positive CNI [Criminal Name Index]. This was a third-party complaint and the caller was [CW #2].
3:17:17 p.m. The dispatcher advised the CW #2 was now waiting in a vehicle which was parked behind the patrol units.
3:32:27 p.m. The dispatcher asked another unit to attend the address and assist the two units in attendance.
3:43:35 p.m. The dispatcher asked for a unit for an update.
3:55:23 p.m. The supervisor stated the Complainant was in custody. He was to be charged with weapons dangerous, and assault with a weapon. Further, units were taking statements. EMS was required to remove the probes. The Complainant would be transported soon, and units would be clear.
4:31:06 p.m. Two units took the Complainant from the station to RVH.
BPS Sally Port Video SummaryThe videos consisted of four angles in the sally port, and one at the entrance of the sally port. The video was date stamped, 2021-01-01.
This was the upper, exterior angle, at the entrance to the sally port.
4:19:04 p.m. A police cruiser entered the sally port.
4:34:20 p.m. A second police cruiser entered the sally port.
4:40:05 p.m. A uniformed BPS police officer exited the sally port and stood at the entrance way by the overhead doors. He appeared to be talking on a cell phone.
4:42:47 p.m. The police officer re-entered the sally port.
4:43:37 p.m. An EMS vehicle approached the sally port doors. The vehicle remained outside of the custody area. Two paramedics exited the vehicle and walked into the sally port.
4:49:30 p.m. The Complainant was escorted out of the sally port to the ambulance by two uniformed police officers.
The Complainant was shirtless and wore blue jeans. He had blood on his chest and face. His face was bandaged with gauze. The Complainant was handcuffed with his hands behind his back.
4:55:50 p.m. The ambulance reversed out of the entrance way of the sally port doors.
Sally Port Northeast
4:19:04 p.m. A police cruiser entered the sally port.
4:22:35 p.m. Two uniformed police officers exited the custody area. The Complainant remained in the rear of the cruiser. Two police officers exited the custody area and spoke with the Complainant as he sat in the rear seat. The Complainant was alone in the rear seat and sat quietly.
4:23:34 p.m. Two uniformed police officers re-entered the custody area, off camera. The Complainant remained in the rear seat.
4:28:49 p.m. A uniformed police officer exited the custody area and spoke with the Complainant at the driver’s side of the backseat.
4:32:52 p.m. Two uniformed police officers exited the custody area, opened the rear door and spoke with the Complainant.
4:35:18 p.m. Two uniformed police officers escorted the Complainant from the rear seat of the cruiser. The Complainant was shirtless and wore blue jeans. The Complainant was handcuffed with his hands behind his back. He had blood on his left cheek. There was dry blood on his chest. The Complainant slumped forward while handcuffed. He was moved to the wall and lowered to a seated position. A bandage was placed on his left cheek by a police officer. The Complainant was given his work boots to put on.
4:43:37 p.m. A paramedic walked into the sally port and examined the Complainant.
4:49:30 p.m. The Complainant was escorted from the sally port to the waiting ambulance (off camera).
Sally Port Northwest
4:19:15 p.m. A police cruiser entered the sally port. The Complainant was alone in the rear of the vehicle.
4:22:35 p.m. Two uniformed police officers spoke with the Complainant at the rear passenger door.
4:32:51 p.m. Two uniformed police officers exited the custody area. A uniformed police officer attended the driver’s door and sat in the driver’s seat and waited.
4:35:49 p.m. The Complainant exited the cruiser and slumped over. The uniformed police officers exited the custody area. The Complainant was assisted with putting on his work boots.
4:37:35 p.m. A uniformed police officer returned to the sally port area with a first-aid kit. The Complainant was moved to a seated position on the floor, against the wall. A bandage was applied to his face.
4:43:40 p.m. An EMS vehicle arrived and parked in a laneway outside the sally port.
4:49:30 p.m. The Complainant was escorted by police officers and EMS to the EMS vehicle.
Sally Port Southwest
4:19:19 p.m. A police cruiser entered the sally port.
4:22:42 p.m. Two uniformed police officers exited the custody area and spoke with the Complainant as he sat in the rear seat of the police cruiser.
4:35:50 p.m. The Complainant was escorted from the rear seat. He was shirtless and wore jeans. He was handcuffed with his hands behind his back. He had an open wound to his left cheek and blood on his chest.
4:37:35 p.m. A police officer applied first-aid to the left cheek of the Complainant.
4:43:55 p.m. Paramedics arrived and walked in the front sally port door. The Complainant was assessed and tended to by EMS.
4:47:25 p.m. A staff sergeant exited the custody area and observed the treatment to the Complainant.
4:49:31 p.m. Ambulance reversed from the entrance way to the sally port and left the custody area.
Audio Communication between the Complainant and CW #2The audio clips were dated and time stamped. Each clip was date stamped 2021-01-01. The first audio file started at 1:11:17 p.m., and the last started at 2:36:01 p.m.
1:12:11 p.m. CW #2 told CW #1 that he (the Complainant) was threatening that if she came over, “He’s gonna do something.”
1:14:23 p.m. CW #2 told the Complainant to leave now.
1:46:10 p.m. CW #2 stated, “I am scared of you. I want you to leave my house. I won’t back down, get off me.”
1:47:27 p.m. The Complainant stated, “I could literally cut off your face. Kiss you and you can slap me.”
2:29:57 p.m. CW #2 stated, “I’m not showering with you. Now go. Keep touching your knife. I see you touching your knife.”
Photograph of the ComplainantThe image was of the Complainant laying on a bed in what could be described as the recovery position on his left side. The Complainant had a large tan leather knife sheath fixed to his right hip, with the clasp unclipped. In the sheath was a large knife, approximately 25 – 30 centimetres in length, with a brown handle. The Complainant wore jeans and was shirtless.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained the following records from the BPS between January 8, 2021, and February 12, 2021:
- BPS MDT messages;
- BPS Occurrence reports and Computer-assisted Dispatch;
- BPS CW #2’s Statement;
- BPS Sally Port Videos;
- BPS Communications Recording;
- Notes of SO and WOs; and
- CEW data.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
- Audio Recording from CW #1, received January 7, 2021;
- Interior Photos of CW #2’s residence, received January 15, 2021;
- Medical records from RVH, received January 11, 2021;
- Photograph – CW #1; and
- Video Recordings – CW #1.
WO #2 and WO #5 were dispatched to the residence, arriving at about 3:15 p.m. They knocked on the door and announced their presence as police officers. Receiving no answer, the officers entered the home and eventually located the Complainant lying on a bed in a second-floor bedroom. He was shirtless but wearing pants. On his hip was a leather sheath containing a knife with a long blade. WO #2 and WO #5 called out to the Complainant, but he did not respond. As the Complainant had a knife on him, the officers decided to leave the residence and seek assistance.
The SO and WO #3 responded to the call for help. The four officers met briefly outside to decide how they would approach the situation. It was decided that WO #2, WO #3 and WO #5 would enter the home with their CEWs drawn, and that the SO would have his firearm at the ready.
The four officers entered the residence and made their way to the second-floor bedroom. The Complainant was still lying on the bed but the sheath that had contained the knife was now empty. When the Complainant failed to acknowledge their presence, the SO used his baton to nudge the Complainant in the buttocks. As he did so, the Complainant sat up with the knife in his right hand raised over his head, which he then swung in the officers’ direction.
WO #3 and WO #5 reacted by discharging their CEWS at the Complainant, once each at about the same time. The discharges failed to dispossess the Complainant of the knife in his right hand. Shortly thereafter, the SO, who had holstered his firearm and drawn his CEW, fired his weapon at the Complainant as well. The Complainant dropped the knife, which fell on the bed, and was struck in the face by the SO, who had moved in to engage him physically. Following the strike, the Complainant was grounded from the bed onto the floor where, after a further period of struggle, he was handcuffed with his hands behind his back.
The Complainant was taken to the station and, subsequently, transported from the station to hospital in ambulance. He was diagnosed with a fractured nose and orbital bone.
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 were within their rights in entering the house to arrest the Complainant. The Complainant had refused to leave the residence despite multiple requests that he do so by the homeowner - CW #2. In his recalcitrance, the Complainant had also threatened CW #2. On this record, there appear to have been grounds to apprehend the Complainant on threatening and trespassing charges.
Thereafter, it is apparent that neither the SO nor the other involved officers used excessive force in taking the Complainant into custody. The Complainant reacted to the officers’ presence in the bedroom by brandishing a large knife in their direction. At that moment, the officers’ lives were at immediate risk of death or grievous bodily harm. In the circumstances, I am unable to fault the SO, WO #3 and WO #5 for discharging their CEWs at the Complainant as the weapon had the potential to neutralize the Complainant from a distance without risking the officers having to directly engage an armed individual. It was only with the third and final of these discharges that the Complainant released the knife. However, as it was still on the bed within his reach, the Complainant remained a threat. The SO was entitled, in my view, to deal with that threat in the manner he did, namely, by moving in to take physical hold of the Complainant, delivering a strike to the Complainant’s face in the process. The SO believes that the hand he used to punch the Complainant was empty, whereas WO #3 believes that the Complainant was struck by the butt end of the CEW that was still in the SO’s hand. Either way, given the nature of the threat they were faced with, a lethal threat, I am not satisfied on reasonable grounds that the SO fell afoul of the limits of permissible force. There is no evidence of any other significant force being brought to bear against the Complainant other than what was necessary to wrestle control of his arms so they could be handcuffed once he had been taken to the bedroom floor.
In the result, while I accept that the Complainant’ injuries were the result of the strike delivered by the SO, I am not satisfied for the foregoing reasons that the SO acted other than lawfully throughout his interaction with the Complainant. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case and the file is closed.
Date: April 29, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The CEW trigger times were derived from the internal clocks of the weapons, which are not necessarily synchronized between the weapons and with actual time. [Back to text]
- 2) The following records contain sensitive personal information and are not being released pursuant to section 34(2) of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019. The material portions of the records are summarized below. [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.