SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OCI-317


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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving police officers where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. The Unit’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

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.

Information Restrictions

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. 
Pursuant to section 21 of FIPPA (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this document. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • 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.

Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)

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

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information 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.

Mandate Engaged

The Unit’s investigative jurisdiction is limited to those incidents where there is a serious injury (including sexual assault allegations) or death in cases involving the police.

“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 injury a 38-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered during an interaction with the police.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On November 21, 2020, at 9:45 a.m., the Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS) reported the following:

On November 21, 2020, at 4:45 a.m., the Witness Officer (WO) and the Subject Officer (SO) responded to a housing complex in Chelmsford for a report of a domestic dispute. One of the parties involved was the Complainant, who resided in a unit at the building. As the police officers were leaving, the Complainant came outside in an intoxicated state and the police officers decided to arrest him for public intoxication. The Complainant was initially compliant, but when the officers attempted to handcuff him, he began to resist and was taken to the ground.

The Complainant was taken to Health Sciences North and diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture to his nose.

The Team

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0


38-year-old male interviewed

Witness Officer

WO Interviewed

Additionally, the notes from two other officers were received and reviewed.

Subject Officer

SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right


The Scene

The incident occurred on the premises of a housing complex in Chelmsford.

On November 21, 2020, at the direction of the SIU, GSPS Identification Services photographed the police cruiser utilized by the WO and SO, a GSPS marked police cruiser, which was parked in the underground of the station.

The exterior and interior of the cruiser were photographed. There was some blood visible on the driver side rear quarter panel, the bottom left corner of the rear windshield, on the gas tank door and on the trunk. There was no visible blood on the inside of the cruiser.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence

Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) Footage from the Complainant’s Housing Complex

CCTV footage was obtained and viewed. There were two motion sensor cameras. One camera covered the front entrance doors to the building and the other camera covered the lobby area. The time stamp on the cameras ran from 4:19:30 a.m. on November 21, 2020, to 5:30:00 a.m.

The Complainant could be seen wandering around in the lobby and knocking on his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, and then exiting the front doors of the building on two occasions.

There was no CCTV footage which depicted the WO or the SO in the building, and no CCTV footage that captured the arrest of the Complainant, as the arrest occurred outside the residence.

Police Communications Recordings

The following is a summary of the 911 calls and radio transmissions made in respect of this incident, as captured by the police service in their Event Details report.
  • At about 3:49 a.m., the police service received a 911 call from a woman about an unwanted person. Her ex-partner – the Complainant – was knocking at her window and kicking at her door. According to the caller, the Complainant kept leaving and coming back again. He yelled at her that she was a “fucking bitch and that this is far from being over”.
  • At about 5:06 a.m., it was reported that the Complainant was in custody.
  • At about 5:08 a.m., a request was made for paramedics as the Complainant was bleeding from the nose. It was reported that the Complainant was very intoxicated.

Materials obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the GSPS:
  • Arrest Report;
  • Event Details;
  • Records Management System Occurrences;
  • Screen shot of RMS Occurrences;
  • Supplementary Report;
  • Training Record-Defensive Tactics-Controlled Energy Weapon Use of Force dates-the SO;
  • Notes-the WO;
  • Notes-Officer #1;
  • Notes-Officer #2;
  • CCTV footage from the Complainant’s Housing Complex;
  • Communications Audio Recordings; and
  • 911 Audio Recordings.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the weight of the reliable evidence gathered by the SIU, which included interviews with the Complainant and the other arresting officer, the WO. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

At about 3:40 a.m. of November 21, 2020, the SO and the WO were called to a housing complex in Chelmsford for a domestic-related disturbance. A woman, a resident of the complex, had contacted police to report that her ex-boyfriend – the Complainant – had been harassing her that night. The Complainant also lived in the building in a different apartment unit.

The officers met with the Complainant’s ex-girlfriend. She explained that she had broken up with the Complainant within the past 24 hours and that, since that time, he had repeatedly knocked on her front door and window seeking to speak with her. This was the second occasion on which officers had attended to deal with the situation.

The SO and the WO attended at the Complainant’s residence and spoke with him. The Complainant was inebriated. He was warned again to refrain from contacting his ex-girlfriend.

While waiting in the lobby area of the complex following their conversation with the Complainant, the officers saw him making his way downstairs and then outside the building. Asked where he was going, the Complainant told the officers he was leaving for the gym. Suspicious that the Complainant was lying, the officers offered him a ride to the gym, particularly as the Complainant was not dressed for the weather. It was cold, and the Complainant was only wearing jeans, a T-shirt and shoes. The Complainant declined and then indicated he planned to go back to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment when the officers left. At this point, the WO advised the Complainant that he was under arrest for public intoxication.

The Complainant resisted as the officers endeavoured to handcuff him. The SO asked the Complainant to cooperate, but the Complainant tensed his right arm and struggled against the officer’s efforts to bring it behind his back. The WO, on the Complainant’s left side, decided to bring the Complainant to the ground but was only able to do so after the SO punched the Complainant in the nose. Once on the ground, the Complainant was handcuffed without further incident.

As the Complainant was bleeding from the nose, an ambulance was called and transported him to hospital. The Complainant had sustained a non-displaced fracture of the nose.

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.

Section 31(4), Liquor Licence Act -- Intoxicated in a public place

31 (4) No person shall be in an intoxicated condition,

(a) In a place to which the general public is invited or permitted access; or
(b) In any part of a residence that is used in common by persons occupying more than one dwelling in the residence.

Section 31(5), Liquor Licence Act – Arrest without warrant

31(5) A police officer may arrest without warrant any person whom he or she finds contravening subsection (4) if, in the opinion of the police officer, to do so is necessary for the safety of any person.  

Analysis and Director's Decision

On November 21, 2020, the Complainant suffered a serious injury in the course of his arrest by GSPS officers in Chelmsford. One of the arresting officers – the SO – was identified as a subject officer for purposes of the SIU investigation. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO 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. The Complainant had consumed a large amount of alcohol and was significantly impaired by the time of the officers’ arrival. He had also made it clear by the time of his arrest outside the building that he was intent on returning to his ex-girlfriend’s residence. On this record, I am satisfied that the officers had a lawful basis for arresting the Complainant for public intoxication pursuant to section 31(5) of the Liquor Licence Act.

Thereafter, I am further satisfied that the SO did not act with excess when he punched the Complainant in the nose. By that time, the Complainant’s physical resistance to his arrest had persisted through a number of verbal exhortations that he desist and efforts on the part of the officers to wrestle his arms behind his back. It was only after the strike that the WO, who had decided to take the Complainant down to the ground to assist in his arrest, was able to do so. The takedown itself does not appear to have been overly aggressive or recklessly performed. Once on the ground, no further force was used to take the Complainant into custody. In the circumstances, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the punch fell outside the range of what was reasonably necessary in the moment to overcome the Complainant’s resistance and effect his arrest.

In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO acted other than lawfully in his interaction with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the officer and the file is closed.

Date: May 25, 2021

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


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.