SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-TCI-277
This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.
Mandate of the SIU
Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
- Information whose release could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
- Subject Officer name(s);
- Witness Officer name(s);
- Civilian Witness name(s);
- Location information;
- Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and
- Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.
Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may have also been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.
“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into the injuries a 19-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn October 21, 2020, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
TPS reported that on October 21, 2020, at approximately 12:29 a.m., a TPS Gangs and Guns Unit (GGU) executed a search warrant on an apartment located in a building on The Donway West. Upon forcing open the door, they were met with gunfire. TPS backed out to the hallway and took cover until the shooting stopped.
The Emergency Task Force (ETF) then rushed the apartment and arrested the occupants. No injuries were established immediately so the suspects were all transported to 41 Division to be processed. There were five male adults and three youths in total. One of the adult males, the Complainant, complained of pain to his jaw.
The Complainant was taken to the hospital where it was determined at 10:00 a.m. that he had a fractured mandible (jaw). He was released from the hospital and taken back to 41 Division.
As TPS originally thought there were no serious injuries, they had their Forensic Identification Service process the scene.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Complainant:19-year-old male, not interviewed 
Civilian Witness (CW)CW Interviewed
Witness Officers (WO)WO #1 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #4 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
WO #5 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
WO #6 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
WO #7 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
WO #8 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
Subject Officers (SO)SO #1 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right
SO #2 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right
The SceneThis incident occurred when police officers entered a 7th floor apartment, located in a building on The Donway West, having forced open the front door. When they entered the apartment, gunshots were fired in the direction of the front door. The police officers retreated from the apartment and eventually took the occupants out one by one into the hallway. It was only after all the occupants were out of the apartment that police officers entered to conduct their search. The scene was subsequently examined by the TPS Forensic Identification Service.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the TPS:
- Release Order - the Complainant;
- Copy of the warrant to search the apartment;
- Notes-WO #3;
- Notes-WO #7;
- Notes-WO #1;
- Notes-WO #4;
- Notes-WO #5;
- Notes-WO #8;
- Notes-WO #2;
- Notes-WO #6; and
- Scene photographs.
At about 1:45 a.m. of October 21, 2020, a team of ETF officers – team two – convened in front of a 7th floor apartment in a building on The Donway West. They were there to assist in the execution of a search warrant that had been secured by the TPS GGU. The subject of the warrant was wanted for a firearms offence that had been committed a week prior and the police were searching the unit to seize a firearm relevant to their ongoing investigation. The plan was to conduct a dynamic entry into the apartment, arrest its occupants, and then leave to allow the GGU officers to conduct the search.
WO #1 had been assigned to lead the officers into the apartment. The officer called out, “Toronto Police, occupants of [apartment number] get down on the ground,” several times as SO #2 repeatedly struck the front door with a ram until it was forced open. A distractionary device was deployed through the open door into the apartment, after which WO #1 entered into a long narrow hallway that led from the front door. The officer was armed with a C8 rifle.
After traveling a short distance into the apartment, WO #1 and officers behind him were met with gunfire. The shots - a half-dozen or so - struck the hallway walls and parts of a bedroom doorframe located at the end of the corridor. The team of officers decided to retreat out of the apartment.
Once outside the apartment, the ETF team assessed their situation, assured themselves that no one had been injured and regrouped. WO #1 took a position on the ground to the left of the doorway. Above him, in a standing position, was WO #2. WO #6 and WO #3 occupied positions on the right side of the doorway. Their firearms were targeted at the hallway and the bedroom at the far end.
The apartment belonged to a woman. At the time of the officers’ arrival, friends of the woman’s daughter were occupying a bedroom located at the far end of the main hallway, directly opposite the front door. The Complainant was among the persons present in the bedroom, as was the subject of the warrant and several others.
From his position by the front door, WO #1 yelled into the apartment, ordering its occupants to drop their weapons and walk backwards towards the entrance with their hands up. One by one, the occupants of the apartment – eight in total – began to make their way down the hallway toward the officers. As they reached the threshold of the open doorway, SO #1 and SO #2, whose role in the operation had been to take custody of persons arrested in the apartment and hand them off to the GGU officers, grabbed hold of the individuals and affixed them in handcuffs.
As this was happening, WO #4 and WO #5 made their way into the adjacent apartment and onto its balcony. The balcony adjoined the balcony of the target apartment, divided by a glass partition. WO #4 broke the glass partition and entered onto the balcony of the target apartment. A black semi-automatic handgun, seized by WO #4, was located on the ground below a bedroom window – the same bedroom in which the occupants of the apartment were gathered as the ETF team initially entered.
On his exit from the apartment, the Complainant was grounded by SO #1 and/or SO #2. A struggle of some duration between the parties occurred, after which the Complainant was handcuffed and handed off to GGU officers.
The ETF officers entered the apartment at about 2:10 a.m. and left shortly thereafter when it was clear that the residence was safe and no one else was inside.
Following his arrest, the Complainant was transported to hospital where he was reportedly diagnosed with a fractured jaw.
Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority
(a) as a private person,(b) as a peace officer or public officer,(c) in aid of a peace officer or public officer, or(d) by virtue of his office,
Analysis and Director's Decision
Pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, police officers are immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided such force was reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they were required or authorized to do by law. By the time the Complainant was taken into custody, the members of the ETF who had gained entry into the 7th floor apartment had been shot at repeatedly by a person or persons inside the bedroom at the end of the hallway. The Complainant was one such person. Considering the gravity and volatility of the situation in which the officers found themselves, I am unable to reasonably conclude that SO #1 and SO #2 were without grounds to arrest the Complainant for any number of assault and weapons-offences.
Thereafter, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that SO #1 and/or SO #2 used excessive force in taking the Complainant into custody. Little is known about what exactly occurred in the course of the Complainant’s arrest other than he was grounded and some sort of a struggle ensued before he was handcuffed. Neither of the subject officers, nor the Complainant, provided statements to the SIU. As for the other ETF officers in the vicinity, they were all focused, understandably so, on what was occurring inside the apartment from their vantage point by the doorway. While some could hear the sounds of a struggle behind them, which they presumed to be occurring between the arresting officers (SO #1 and/or SO #2) and the Complainant, none turned to see what was happening. In light of this paucity of evidence regarding the nature and extent of the force used, and what I am satisfied was a highly fraught situation in which the ETF, having just been shot at, had good reason to fear a resumption of gunfire from persons within the apartment, I am unable to conclude that a grounding was in itself unnecessary and unlawful. On the contrary, I am satisfied that the officers were entitled to promptly ground the individuals as they stepped out of the apartment to immediately ensure they were neutralized in a position of disadvantage until they could be assured the individuals were not armed.
In the result, while it may well be that the Complainant’s jaw was fractured in the course of a physical altercation with SO #1 and/or SO #2, the evidence falls short of giving rise to a reasonable belief that the subject officers acted other than lawfully throughout the engagement. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case and the file is closed.
Date: April 27, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The Complainant declined to provide the SIU with an interview or authorize the release of his medical records. [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.