SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCI-011


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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving an official where there has been death, serious injury, the discharge of a firearm at a person or an allegation of sexual assault. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 (SIU Act), officials are defined as police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act. The SIU’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

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.

Information Restrictions

Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019

Pursuant 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 Act

Pursuant 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, 2004

Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information 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.

Mandate Engaged

Pursuant to section 15 of the SIU Act, the SIU may investigate the conduct of officials, be they police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission or peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act, that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

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 the serious injury a 34-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered during an interaction with the police.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On January 8, 2021, at 10:30 a.m., the London Police Service (LPS) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s injury. LPS advised that the Complainant was arrested on January 7, 2021, at 8:41 p.m., in the area of Perth Avenue, just west of Hawkesbury Avenue London. He was arrested after a struggle regarding a stolen auto. He was taken to the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) Victoria Hospital and diagnosed with a fractured right hand at 02:01 a.m., on January 8, 2021.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched:     01/08/2021 at 11:27 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene:     01/08/2021 at 12:09 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned:     3

Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned:     0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

34-year-old male interviewed on January 8, 2021, medical records obtained and reviewed

Subject Officials (SO)

SO #1     Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right. Notes received and reviewed.

SO #2     Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right. Notes received and reviewed.

SO #3     Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right. Notes received and reviewed.

SO #4     Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right. Notes received and reviewed. 

Witness Officials (WO)

WO #1     Interviewed

WO #2     Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed

WO #3     Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed

WO #4     Interviewed

WO #5     Interviewed

WO #6     Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on January 14, 2021.


The Scene 

The incident occurred in and around the four-door, red-coloured sedan the Complainant was operating in the area of 1431 Perth Avenue.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

Police Communication Recordings

The recording was 51:05 minutes in length and was not time stamped. SO #1 requested that additional units be sent to Beckworth Avenue for a stolen red Ford Focus in a parking lot. Dispatch requested that WO #4 and WO #3 assist. WO #5 advised police were looking for a vehicle similar to that for a wanted person with plate [number provided]. An LPS officer confirmed same plate, “It’s running, he just pulled out, looks like he is going to go southbound on a side street here, we will let you know.” WO #5 advised it was likely the Complainant was operating the vehicle. An LPS officer advised the vehicle was westbound on Tewksbury. WO #5 advised the Complainant was wanted for fail to comply. The Complainant went southbound on Perth and back eastbound on Beckworth Avenue. SO #1 said, “Perth Street, we are trying to pin him in, he’s trying to get loose here, Perth Street.” Dispatch directed that cars attend “Code One” to Perth Street. Dispatch announced several LPS units, including WO #5, were attending. SO #1 said, “Trying to get him in custody here” (yelling in the background). SO #4 was on scene and, shortly thereafter, he announced, “He’s in custody.” The dispatcher broadcast that the Complainant was in custody. EMS was requested as the Complainant was bleeding from his hands.

An LPS officer advised all officers on the call that the Complainant was bleeding and to use caution. The dispatcher inquired which officer was with the Complainant and WO #1 acknowledged. Dispatch received a request from an OPP officer to check if the Complainant had two probe marks 12 inches apart on his chest from a CEW used the previous night in an altercation with OPP. OPP wanted to confirm if the Complainant was the same man in their incident. Inaudible response. EMS arrived on scene and the Complainant was taken to LHSC Victoria Hospital.

Materials Obtained from Police Service 

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from the LPS between January 11 and 20, 2021:

  •  Detention Record – the Complainant;
  •  General Occurrence Report;
  •  Notes-WO #1;
  •  Notes-WO #2;
  •  Notes-WO #3;
  •  Notes-WO #4;
  •  Notes-SO #1;
  •  Notes-SO #3;
  •  Notes-SO #2;
  •  Notes-WO #5;
  •  Notes-WO #6;
  •  Notes-SO #4;
  •  The Complainant-Mugshot;
  •  Will State-SO #1;
  •  Will State-SO #3;
  •  Will State-SO #2; and
  •  Will State-SO #4.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following record from other sources on January 25, 2021:

  •  Medical records - LHSC Victoria Hospital.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges on the evidence collected by the SIU, which included statements from the Complainant and several officers who witnessed the incident in parts. As was their legal right, none of the subject officials chose to interview with the SIU. They did, however, authorize the release of their notes.

In the afternoon of the day in question, the Complainant came to the attention of the LPS. He had attended at his former partner’s residence and threatened her. He was also operating a stolen automobile, and was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant.

SO #1, SO #3 and SO #2 of the Criminal Investigation Division, in an unmarked minivan on the lookout for the Complainant, located him later that evening in the stolen vehicle – a Ford Focus – on Beckworth Avenue. The officers followed the Complainant as he traveled toward the dead-end roundabout at the west end of Perth Avenue and turned his vehicle around to travel eastward. SO #3, the driver of the minivan, drove into the oncoming lane to block the Complainant’s path, at which point the Complainant reversed, driving up over a curb into a snowbank, striking a light standard in the process. The officer drove the minivan further forward up against the front of the Focus.

As the Complainant continued to rev his vehicle’s engine, SO #1, SO #3 and SO #2 exited the minivan and rushed toward the Ford Focus. SO #1 and SO #2 positioned themselves by the driver’s door of the Focus and demanded that the Complainant stop and exit the vehicle. When the Complainant failed to do so, SO #1, with the use of his ASP, smashed out the driver’s door window. SO #3, by the front passenger door, did the same with its window. The officers reached into the vehicle, grappled with the Complainant and attempted to turn off the ignition. The Complainant resisted and was met with a series of punches to the head – two by SO #3 and one by SO #2. SO #1 was eventually able to open the driver’s door and, with SO #2’s assistance, pulled the Complainant out of the vehicle.

Once out of the vehicle, the Complainant continued to struggle with the officers, attempting to pull away. He was forced to the ground after SO #1 delivered two strikes to the Complainant’s legs with his ASP. The officers were able to wrest control of his left arm and bring it around his back, but the Complainant continued to resist and refused to release his right arm from under his torso. SO #4 arrived on scene at this time and tried to pull the right arm free, eventually succeeding after delivering several knee strikes to the Complainant’s right side, after which the Complainant was handcuffed.

Following his arrest, the Complainant was transported to hospital and diagnosed with a fractured right finger.

Relevant Legislation

Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority

25 (1) Every one who is required or authorized by law to do anything in the administration or enforcement of the law
(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,
is, if he acts on reasonable grounds, justified in doing what he is required or authorized to do and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On January 7, 2021, the Complainant suffered a serious injury in the course of his arrest by LPS officers. The officers in question – SO #1, SO #2, SO #3 and SO #4 – were identified as subject officials for purposes of the SIU investigation. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the subject officials committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s arrest and injury.

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. There was a warrant out for the Complainant’s arrest. He was also operating a stolen vehicle that the police knew about, and had threatened his former partner. In my view, there were lawful grounds to take the Complainant into custody.

I am also of the view that the force used by the subject officials fell within the range of what was reasonably necessary at the time to effect their purpose. It is apparent that the Complainant strenuously resisted the officers’ efforts to take him into custody and was intent on escaping apprehension. Moreover, the Complainant was in a vehicle and revving its engines, raising the prospect of a risk to public safety, including the officers’ safety, were he to break free of the police roadblock. Accordingly, as there was some urgency in effecting a quick arrest, I am unable to fault SO #3 and SO #2 for the punches they struck. As the officers had tried and failed to wrestle control of the Complainant, they were entitled to up the ante in the circumstances with empty hand strikes. The Complainant continued to resist even after being extricated from the vehicle, on his feet with the officers trying to pull him to the ground, and then while prone on the ground refusing to give up his right arm. Here too, I am satisfied that SO #1 and SO #4 acted with measure when, after a period of grappling, they resorted to ASP and knee strikes, respectively. Once the Complainant was handcuffed, no blows of any type were struck.

In the result, while I accept that the Complainant’s injury occurred at some point in his altercation with the police, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the force used by the subject officials was at all times commensurate with, and proportional to, the exigencies at hand. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against any of the officers.

Date: May 4, 2021

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) The following record contains personal information and is not being released pursuant to section 34(2) of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019. The material portions of the record 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.