SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-TCI-306
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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.
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 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 serious injuries sustained by a 24-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn November 16, 2020, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s injury.
The TPS reported that on November 16, 2020, at 2:35 a.m., police officers executed a warrant at a unit in a high-rise apartment building on Portage Parkway in Vaughan. When Emergency Task Force (ETF) police officers entered the apartment, the Complainant was no longer inside. One of the ETF officers saw the Complainant scaling down balconies. Police officers from TPS 31 Division subsequently located him inside the building parking garage. The Complainant was taken to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC) for treatment of open wounds to his right leg and arm, and possible broken ankles.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Complainant:24-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Interviewed
WO #7 Interviewed
The SceneThe scene in Vaughan was a multi-unit high-rise building located on Portage Parkway. The front door to the relevant unit was forced open shattering the door by the lock and door handle. There was a sliding patio door that led to an outdoor balcony on the wall of the living area. On one side of the balcony was a solid wall and on the other side a 1.9-metre-high wall separating the adjoining outdoor balcony. On the third side was a 1.12-metre-high panel with a curved plastic 10-centimetre handle. There were scuff marks on the top of the handrail, but no fingerprint evidence was located. Measurements were taken of this balcony for a planned drawing.
The outdoor balcony overlooked the outdoor terrace which covered the floors of parking levels that were located adjacent to the main building. There was an overhanging roof which was located 7.105 metres from the top of the apartment’s handrail and a further drop of 3.825 metres from the covering of the overhanging roof to the ground of the outdoor terrace. There was an indentation in the grass of the terrace 4.4 metres away from the wall of the main building. On the east and west sides of the terrace were large aluminum pillars with an unprotected opening between the pillars.
The west side of the parking complex had a scaffold set-up. The first area of blood staining was located on skids covering the mud ground on the west side of the scaffold and west of the parking garage. The blood staining continued along the walkway on the inside of the scaffolding towards the entrance and exit to the parking garage.
In the stairwell of the parking garage was an area of heavy blood staining, with smearing and blood staining on the handrail. An area in the corner of the parking garage contained clothing removed from the Complainant.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the TPS:
• General Occurrence;
• TPS Policy Executing a Search Warrant;
• TPS Policy Incidents Requiring the ETF;
• Notes of WOs; and
• Telewarrant-the Complainant.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesInvestigators also obtained and reviewed the following:
• The Complainant’s medical records from SHSC.
The Complainant was, in fact, in the unit. Realizing that the unit was about to be raided, the Complainant fled through his balcony, thereafter scaling down to a rooftop terrace. From the terrace, the Complainant gained access to the outside of the building’s above-ground parking structure and descended to the ground, suffering injury in the process.
WO #1 was among the ETF officers who gained access to the Complainant’s unit. The officer proceeded onto the balcony through its open door and observed the Complainant hobbling westward on the rooftop terrace several stories below toward a set of metal pillars that lined the exterior of the above-ground parking facility. He called out to the Complainant to stop and watched as the Complainant squeezed himself through a pair of the pillars and disappeared from sight.
The ETF, and plainclothes and uniform officers on scene, set up a perimeter around the building and started a search for the Complainant. He was located within minutes by WO #4 and WO #5 just through the entrance/exit door of a stairwell on the 3rd parking level. The officers arrested and handcuffed the Complainant.
The Complainant was obviously injured. A tactical paramedic was brought to the scene and tended to his injuries.
Following his arrest, the Complainant was taken to hospital and diagnosed with multiple fractures, and friction burns of the fingers.
Analysis and Director's Decision
There is no suggestion in the aforementioned-record that any of the officers involved in the search warrant execution and the Complainant’s arrest used excessive force or were otherwise criminally negligent. There was lawful authority to enter the Complainant’s unit and arrest the Complainant. The TPS investigators had obtained a warrant, based on reasonable grounds to believe that the Complainant was in unlawful possession of a gun, authorizing a search of the premises. As for the means by which police gained access to the unit, namely, a dynamic entry involving the use of ETF officers, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the tactic was unreasonable. The police had cause to believe that the Complainant was in possession of an illegal firearm and, therefore, were entitled to take steps to neutralize the risks of potential gunfire. By the time the first ETF officers entered, it is apparent that the Complainant had already made good his escape from the unit and would go on to embark on a dangerous flight from police in the course of which he suffered his injuries descending several floors down the exterior of the building. At no point was the Complainant struck by any officer. In fact, aside from the placement of handcuffs, which was accomplished wholly without incident, no physical force was ever brought to bear directly on the Complainant’s person.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the involved officers acted other than lawfully in the search of the Complainant’s unit and his arrest, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case and the file is closed.
Date: June 28, 2021
Electronically approved by
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.