SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCI-062
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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 a serious injury sustained by a 35-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn February 26, 2021, at 9:19 p.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) notified the SIU of the following.
Earlier that day, at about 11:15 a.m., PRP 21 Division police officers were dispatched to a fight in progress at 148 West Drive, involving the Complainant and two tow truck operators. Prior to police arrival, the Complainant carjacked a tow truck and fled the scene. A cellular phone in the stolen tow truck was tracked and the Complainant was located on a snowbank in front of a private residence. The PRP had declined to authorize a vehicle pursuit, and there was apparently no police vehicular contact with the stolen tow truck.
Following a brief struggle and two ineffective conducted energy weapon (CEW) deployments, the Complainant was eventually placed in police custody by Subject Official (SO) #1, SO #2, Witness Official (WO) #2 and WO #6.
The Complainant was transported to the Brampton Civic Hospital (BCH) and medically cleared. At some point at the BCH, officers overheard a doctor advise the Complainant that he had sustained a broken nose. When police made independent inquires, the doctor confirmed the injury.
The Complainant remained sedated at BCH and was to be transported to 22 Division for a bail hearing.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 02/26/2021 at 10:06 p.m.
Date and time SIU responded: 02/27/2021 at 7:35 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
SIU investigators contacted the PRP and arranged to conduct an interview with the Complainant at 22 Division.
The SIU forensic investigator was dispatched to photograph and download data from three CEWs.
SIU investigators interviewed civilian and police witnesses and obtained video relevant to the incident.
As the investigation progressed, it became evident that the SIU could not rule out the possibility that the Complainant sustained his nasal bone fracture sometime prior to his arrest on the boulevard of Hansen Road North by members of the PRP. With this in mind, the PRP commenced a parallel criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Complainant’s activities prior to his interaction with police. The SIU obtained a copy of the PRP’s investigative work product in this regard.
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):35-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on February 27, 2021.
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between March 1, 2021, and March 8, 2021.
Subject OfficialsSO #1 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
SO #2 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
SO #2 was interviewed on June 25, 2021.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Interviewed
WO #7 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #8 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #1-6 were interviewed between March 6, 2021, and March 8, 2021.
WO #7 and WO #8 were not interviewed. A review of their notebook entries indicated they monitored the call on the air and were not involved in the arrest of the Complainant.
Through no fault of his own, WO #7 released the scene following information he had received from a physician that the Complainant had not sustained any serious injuries.
The Scene The scene was located in front of a private residence at Hansen Road North.
Physical Evidence No physical evidence was obtained from the scene.
CEW DownloadsOn February 27, 2021 and March 1, 2021, the SIU photographed and downloaded data from three CEWs issued to SO #1, SO #2 and WO #6.
On February 26, 2021, at 6:57:16 a.m.,  SO #2 arc-tested his CEW and did not deploy his CEW at any point prior to the incident. At 11:30:05 a.m., SO #2’s CEW was armed. At 11:30:09 a.m., SO #2 deployed Cartridge One for a cycle duration of five seconds. At 11:30:16 a.m., SO #2 deployed it again for a period of five seconds. At 11:31:55 a.m., SO #2 deployed his CEW a third time for a duration of five seconds. At 11:32:02 a.m., SO #2 proved his CEW safe. The second cartridge was unfired.
On February 26, 2021, at 11:30:29 a.m., SO #1’s CEW was armed. At 11:30:32 a.m., SO #1 deployed one of two cartridges for a cycle duration of two seconds. At 11:30:35 a.m., SO #1 deployed Cartridge Two for a cycle duration of five seconds. At 11:30:42 a.m., SO #1 once more deployed Cartridge Two for a cycle duration of five seconds. At 11:30:49 a.m., SO #1 deployed Cartridge Two again for a duration of five seconds. At 11:36:34 a.m., SO #1 proved his CEW safe.
On February 26, 2021, at 5:59:47 a.m., WO #6 arc-tested his CEW and did not deploy it at any time prior to the incident. At 11:30:57 a.m., WO #6’s CEW was armed and he deployed one of two cartridges for a cycle duration of five seconds. At 11:30:59 a.m., WO #6 deployed Cartridge Two for a cycle duration of five seconds. At 11:31:04 a.m., WO #6 proved his CEW safe.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU searched for and obtained audio, video and photographic records of relevance, as set out below.
Police Communications RecordingsOn March 15, 2021, at 7:13 a.m., the SIU received relevant communication recordings from the PRP. A summary of the material information contained therein follows.
On February 26, 2021, at 11:14:51 a.m., a woman called 911 to report three men fighting in the Tim Horton’s drive-thru lane at 148 West Drive. One of the men [now known to be CW #1] was armed with a baseball bat. The 911 caller described CW #1. CW #1 nearly struck the Complainant in the parking lot.
When the Complainant managed to access the driver’s door of his tow truck, CW #1 struck the Complainant at least twice before he fled the scene in his tow truck towards Dixie Road. The 911 caller saw CW #1 and another man walk towards the southwest corner of Queen Street and West Drive. CW #1 entered the passenger side of a white pickup truck and followed the Complainant eastbound on Queen Street. The man remained at the northeast corner of the intersection.
The 911 caller saw several police vehicles proceed northbound toward Laurelcrest Street. A tow truck operator told the 911 caller there was a “collision somewhere”.
At 11:15:43 a.m., CW #1 called 911 to report the Complainant “attacked us with a pen and knife” at Queen Street and West Drive. He further told the call-taker that the Complainant carjacked his tow truck and stole a cellphone and two-way radios. CW #1 ignored questions from the call-taker and began to communicate on his two-way radio: “Guys, my truck got stolen at Queen and West.”
In the background, a tow truck operator [unknown to SIU] advised that he was following the Complainant northbound on Laurelcrest Street and eastbound on Vodden Street East. The tow truck operator saw the Complainant throw a camera out of the tow truck and maneuver the tow truck into oncoming traffic on Vodden Street East. The tow truck operator also reported that the Complainant had failed to stop for police at Vodden Street East.
At 11:17:41 a.m., PRP notified Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to attend the parking lot of 148 West Drive for a person who had been assaulted by baseball bat. There was no indication where the Complainant was hit.
At 11:26:29 a.m., EMS arrived at 148 West Drive and did not locate the Complainant, nor did they see any police presence. At 11:35:16 a.m., PRP requested that EMS attend Hansen Road for CEW removal and for a man [now known to be the Complainant] bleeding from his head.
At 11:16:56 a.m., dispatch advised of a priority one call at 148 West Drive involving three men fighting in a parking lot. One of the men [now known to be CW #1] was armed with a baseball bat. CW #1 was described. Another man [now known to be the Complainant] entered a tow truck and CW #1 struck him with a baseball bat.
Another 911 caller reported that the Complainant attacked people with a pen and a tow truck. EMS was notified.
At 11:18:11 a.m., one of the call-takers heard a scuffle and tires squealing. The Complainant was last seen in a black GMC tow truck heading towards Dixie Road.
The second victim advised that his two-way radios were stolen. CW #1 and the second victim walked northbound on West Drive towards the Jack Astor’s. An undesignated officer advised the tow truck operators were communicating via their two-way radios and a stolen tow truck was being followed northbound on Laurelcrest Street.
At 11:20:14 a.m., an undesignated officer advised that the Complainant had disobeyed a red light on Rutherford Road when he attempted a traffic stop. He saw a white tow truck following the Complainant southbound on Rutherford Road towards Queen Street. WO #7 radioed to discontinue pursuit of the stolen tow truck.
At 11:22:42 a.m., the Complainant was located northbound on Hansen Road North. SO #1 observed the stolen tow truck with substantial front-end damage and smoke. At 11:25:12 a.m., WO #2 radioed that the stolen tow truck had mounted a snowbank at Hansen Road North and requested EMS for CEW removal.
At 11:27:05 a.m., SO #1 requested EMS for the Complainant, as he was bleeding from his head.
At 11:28:47 a.m., WO #7 arrived on scene. When another officer and the other victim arrived on scene, the SO learned that CW #1 was defending himself and the other victim from the Complainant, who was armed with a pen.
Two officers were tasked to determine the route of the stolen tow truck.
At 11:36:07 a.m., tow truck operators advised police the stolen tow truck had struck several vehicles in a Scotia Bank parking lot in the area of Hansen Road North and Queen Street. Units were dispatched to determine injuries.
At 11:37:48 a.m., two officers were tasked to secure the scene.
At 11:39:35 a.m., an officer arrived at the Scotia Bank. He noted four vehicles were damaged but there were no reported injuries and a few tow trucks were on scene.
At 11:41:37 a.m., two officers arrived at Hansen Road North.
At 12:06:24 p.m., WO #4 was on board the ambulance with the Complainant for transport to BCH, with WO #3 following.
At 12:13:09 p.m., WO #5 transported SO #1, SO #2 and WO #6 to the BCH.
At 4:56:11 p.m., an officer requested contract tows attend the scene to transport three police vehicles to the garage. At 6:13:10 p.m., the officer followed the tow trucks to the garage.
At 10:01:32 p.m., a officer transported the Complainant from BCH to 22 Division with another officer following.
Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) from Queen Street East, BramptonOn March 23, 2021, at 7:04 a.m., the SIU received a copy of surveillance video from the PRP. The video was captured from of a single exterior camera. The video, which was in colour but without audio, was not date or time stamped. The recording was 5:06 minutes in duration.
At 2:30 minutes into the video, a man [now known to be the Complainant] accessed the driver’s door of a black tow truck parked in a lot.
CCTV from Tim Horton’s – 152 West Drive, BramptonOn March 4, 2021, the SIU received a copy of the Tim Horton’s surveillance video from the PRP captured by interior and exterior cameras. The videos were date and time stamped and in colour, but without audio. On February 26, 2021, at 10:56:09 a.m., the video started.
At 10:57:43 a.m., a man [now known to be the Complainant] entered the front entrance. He arrived on foot.
At 11:00:32 a.m., the Complainant was at a point of sale counter. He removed various items from his person, including a cellphone, charging wires, and two-way radio.
At 11:02:19 a.m., the Complainant was unsteady on his feet and nearly fell backwards, before recovering on his own. He continued to empty his pockets and placed his belongings on the counter.
At 11:06:11 a.m., the Complainant fell backwards onto the ground and was assisted by another customer to his feet.
At 11:10:29 a.m., a man wearing an orange safety jacket [now known to be CW #1] entered the store, approached the Complainant at the counter, and forcefully obtained a cellphone in the Complainant’s possession. CW #1 exited the store when the Complainant entered his personal space.
At 11:10:57 a.m., CW #1 handed a cellphone to another man who was standing at the exit doors.
At 11:11:14 a.m., the Complainant collected his items and swatted items off the counter before leaving the store.
At 11:11:51 a.m., CW #1 appeared to make a call on his cellphone while walking towards the parking lot. He appeared to access a vehicle [now known to be a black 2021 GMC Sierra tow truck].
At 11:12:24 a.m., CW #1 returned to the front entrance, armed with a baseball bat. A man remained at the exit doors.
At 11:12:51 a.m., the man confronted the Complainant when he exited the store. They appeared to be engaged in a pushing match in the drive-thru lane.
At 11:13:12 a.m., as the man and the Complainant appeared to be verbally and physically engaged, CW #1 remained on the phone and held a baseball bat in his right hand.
At 11:13:32 a.m., the man attempted to obtain an item from the Complainant’s pocket.
At 11:13:35 a.m., CW #1 struck the Complainant in the area of his face with the baseball bat. The Complainant and the man continued to be physically and verbally engaged.
At 11:14:06 a.m., CW #1, the man, and the Complainant moved away from the drive-thru lane and towards the parking lot.
At 11:14:58 a.m., the Complainant appeared to be focused on the man and followed him around parked vehicles, as he attempted to escape the Complainant’s chase.
At 11:15:09 a.m., the Complainant aggressively approached CW #1, who swung the baseball bat and struck the Complainant in the left hand.
At 11:15:14 a.m., the Complainant and CW #1 went out of camera view.
At 11:15:21 a.m., CW #1 ran behind two rows of parked vehicles with the man. The Complainant followed them behind the vehicles.
At 11:15:34 a.m., the Complainant chased the man around the parked vehicles.
At 11:17:19 a.m., CW #1’s tow truck left the parking lot, nearly striking an oncoming vehicle. CW #1 and the man remained in the parking lot.
At 11:18:06 a.m., the video ended.
CCTV from Laurelcrest StreetOn March 10, 2021, at 8:23 a.m., the SIU received a copy of the surveillance video from the front entrance of a building on Laurelcrest Street, Brampton. The video was date and time stamped, in colour and with audio.
At 11:14:49 a.m., a black tow truck [now known to be 2021 GMC Sierra 350] drove northbound on Laurelcrest Street. The driver was not visible.
At 11:15:10 a.m., a white tow truck with graphics lettering on the driver’s side panel proceeded in the same direction as the stolen tow truck. The occupants were not visible.
Dash Cam Footage from Stolen Tow TruckOn March 10, 2021, at 8:23 a.m., the SIU received a copy of the dash cam footage from the stolen tow truck from PRP. The 28 video clips were date and time stamped and in colour, but without audio.
At 11:09:47 a.m., CW #1 arrived at 148 West Drive. A man walked towards the Tim Horton’s main entrance while CW #1 parked his tow truck in front of the Pizza Depot.
At 11:18:07 a.m., the man returned from the Tim Horton’s and walked towards the passenger side of CW #1’s tow truck.
At 11:19:13 a.m., CW #1 rested a long silver object [now known to be a baseball bat] on his right shoulder, left of camera view.
At 11:19:23 a.m., the tow truck [now known to be operated by the Complainant] accelerated through the parking lot. He disobeyed a stop sign and completed a wide right turn, mounted a curb and then disobeyed a second stop sign.
At 11:19:59 a.m., the Complainant abruptly stopped behind a vehicle in the left turn lane at a red light and waited for the light to turn green.
At 11:20:25 a.m., when the advance green had ended, the Complainant aggressively completed a left turn in front of oncoming traffic into a residential area.
At 11:21:00 a.m., the Complainant failed to stop at a stop sign as he proceeded northbound on Laurelcrest Street.
At 11:21:39 a.m., the video ended.
Social Media VideosOn March 1, 2021, an SIU investigator canvassed social media for video of the Complainant’s interaction with members of the PRP. The following is a summary of those videos.
Hansen Road Brampton Incident February 26, 2021
This video appeared to be recorded on a cellular phone on Hansen Road North. The video was not date or time stamped. It was in colour with audio, and was 09:47 minutes in duration.
The Complainant was operating a black GMC tow truck that was mounted on a snowbank in front of a house on Hansen Road. He was attempting to reverse onto the roadway.
At 00:16 minutes into the video, a marked police vehicle [now known to be operated by WO #6] proceeded northbound on Hansen Road and made intentional vehicular contact on the front passenger side. A second police vehicle [now known to be operated by WO #2] parked directly behind the tow truck’s rear. A third police vehicle [now known to be operated by SO #2] pulled along the driver’s side of the tow truck. A fourth police vehicle [now known to be operated by SO #1] arrived and stopped left of WO #2’s police vehicle.
The Complainant then accelerated forward over the snowbank and onto the snow-covered grassy area between two buildings on Hansen Road North. SO #1 and SO #2 both exited their police vehicles and ran towards the driver’s side of the tow truck. Someone, presumably a police officer, yelled, “Get out,” while the Complainant reversed slowly.
As SO #1 and SO #2 attempted to open the driver’s door, the Complainant pulled the tow truck forward. SO #1 and SO #2 yelled at the Complainant to stop and exit the tow truck. The Complainant continued to move the tow truck back and forth at a very slow rate of speed.
While yelling police commands at the Complainant, SO #1 and SO #2 appeared to use their CEWs to strike through the driver’s side window. A man wearing a grey tracksuit began recording the interaction on his cellphone.
At 00:54 minutes in the video, WO #6 entered camera view when he ran around the front of the tow truck and joined SO #1 and SO #2.
At 01:18 minutes in the video, the driver’s door of the tow truck was opened and SO #1 and SO #2 attempted to pull the Complainant from the driver’s seat while issuing police commands to exit. Due to the distance of the recorded video and the close proximity of the officers, it was difficult to discern which of the officers delivered a punch or punches towards the Complainant.
At 01:34 minutes in the video, the Complainant was extricated from the tow truck. WO #6 applied one or more knee strikes to the Complainant as he was being removed from the driver’s seat and on the ground. The video did not clearly show which part of the Complainant’s body made contact with the ground first.
At 01:49 minutes in the video, an unmarked police vehicle arrived, and two plainclothes police officers exited and approached the Complainant. The plainclothes police officers did not have any physical contact with the Complainant. A marked police vehicle [now known to have been operated by WO #3 and WO #4] arrived immediately behind the unmarked vehicle. WO #3 and WO #4 attended the area of the Complainant. When the video taker zoomed out, the Complainant’s interaction with PRP was limited due to the distance. Other marked police vehicles arrived, and uniformed officers attended the Complainant’s location.
At 03:07 minutes in the video, the video taker zoomed in; however, due to the number of police officers present, it was difficult to see what was happening. A number of civilians began walking towards the scene, which was sealed with police tape.
At 07:15 minutes in the video, the video taker panned away from the Complainant’s location and captured other police officers and civilians south of the scene.
There was no further recording that captured the Complainant’s interaction with police.
Brampton Police in Action Tow Truck Operator
This video appeared to be recorded on a cellular phone from a location west of the stopped stolen tow truck. The video was not date or time stamped. It was in colour, contained audio, and was 01:46 minutes in duration.
SO #1 and SO #2 were positioned at the driver’s door of the tow truck, reaching in through the window and attempting to pull the Complainant out. He was not clearly seen inside the tow truck. WO #6 ran from the passenger side to the front of the tow truck to join SO #1 and SO #2.
At 00:17 minutes in the video, after the driver’s door was opened, WO #6, SO #1 and SO #2 struggled with the Complainant as they attempted to pull him out. SO #2 delivered one or more punches in the Complainant’s direction but it was difficult to see if contact was made.
At 00:32 minutes in the video, the Complainant was removed from the driver’s seat. WO #6 delivered two knee strikes to the Complainant; however, it was unclear where he connected with the Complainant’s body. The Complainant landed on the right side of his body, with his hood over his head and his face covered. While on the ground, WO #6 delivered one knee strike to the Complainant’s body; however, it was unclear where it connected with the Complainant. SO #2 positioned himself on top of the Complainant while SO #1 attempted to handcuff him.
At 01:02 minutes in the video, two plainclothes police officers [unknown] arrived followed by WO #3 and WO #4. One of these plainclothes officers, as well as WO #3 and WO #4, helped control the Complainant on the ground. None of the police officers delivered any blow to the Complainant after he was handcuffed.
Hansen Road Brampton Incident Part 2
This video appeared to have been recorded from the same vantage point as the previous video. The video was not date or time stamped. It was in colour, contained audio, and was 00:36 minutes in duration.
WO #6, SO #1 and SO #2 were positioned at the open driver’s door, where they were struggling to pull the Complainant from the tow truck. While attempting to pull the Complainant out of the tow truck, SO #2 punched in his direction and WO #6 delivered two knee strikes.
While on the ground, WO #6 delivered another knee strike to the Complainant.
The video ended when SO #1 began handcuffing the Complainant.
Hansen Road (Part 2)
This video was identical to the above video.
Materials Obtained from Police ServiceThe SIU obtained the following records from the PRP between March 1, 2021 and March 23, 2021:
• 911 and radio communication recordings;
• CCTV from Laurelcrest Street, Brampton;
• CCTV from Tim Horton’s;
• Cruiser Damage Reports and photographs;
• Dash Cam Footage from Stolen Tow Truck;
• E-mail regarding ownership;
• Event Chronology;
• Leasing Agreement and Ownership for Stolen Tow Truck;
• Notes of WOs and SO #2;
• Occurrence Report;
• Officer Involvement List;
• Person Details—the Complainant;
• Policy—Incident Response;
• Policy—Suspect Apprehension Pursuit;
• Policy—Criminal Investigations;
• Victim Video Synopsis (x3);
• Video analysis; and
• Witness statement (x3).
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
• Ambulance Call Report-Peel EMS;
• Medical Record-BCH; and
• Social Media Videos.
In the morning of February 26, 2021, the PRP received 911 calls about an ongoing dispute at the Tim Horton’s located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Queen Street East and West Drive, Brampton. Three men – the Complainant, CW #1 and a third man – were engaged in a heated, sometimes physical, dispute. Armed with a baseball bat, CW #1 had struck the Complainant before the latter fled in a tow truck toward Dixie Road. Officers were dispatched to investigate.
The Complainant, intoxicated, had reportedly stolen items from the tow truck belonging to the third man, including a cell phone and two-way radio. CW #1, a fellow tow truck driver, had attended at the Tim Horton’s following the man’s request for help. It was CW #1’s tow truck that the Complainant had entered and driven from the scene.
Officers responding to the call for service located CW #1’s truck with the Complainant in it. The Complainant drove recklessly, failing to stop at a stop sign on at least one occasion and colliding with other vehicles. The officers were ordered to discontinue any pursuit of the truck.
Shortly thereafter, with the help of fellow tow truck drivers who had convened in the area to locate and track CW #1’s vehicle, officers re-engaged the Complainant northbound on Hansen Road North. While attempting to negotiate the eastward bend in the road south of Williams Parkway, the Complainant drove the truck onto a snowbank over the boulevard in front of a home on Hansen Road North. He reversed back onto the roadway and was about to resume his travel before he was prevented from doing so by WO #6. The officer had followed the Complainant north on Hansen Road North, and drove the front end of his cruiser into the front passenger side of the pickup truck. SO #2 and SO #1 were close behind. The former positioned his cruiser by the driver’s side of the truck as the latter stopped his vehicle behind it.
SO #1 and SO #2 exited their cruisers and approached the Complainant by the driver’s door of the pickup truck, as WO #6 did the same by the front passenger’s door. They yelled at the Complainant to stop and get out of the car. The Complainant drove forward a short distance and then rearward again, after which the truck appeared to rock back and forth over the snowbank. As this was happening, SO #1 repeatedly discharged his CEW at the Complainant and used it to swing in the Complainant’s direction about ten times. SO #2, who had initially approached the truck with his firearm drawn, transitioned to his CEW and discharged it before also using it to strike at the Complainant. When the CEW fell from the officer’s hands, SO #2 used his palm to strike the right side of the Complainant’s face four or five times, which he followed by deploying OC spray at the Complainant. At about the same time, WO #6, who had smashed out the window to the front passenger door, fired his CEW at the Complainant. None of the CEW discharges incapacitated the Complainant in any degree.
Following his CEW deployment, WO #6 joined SO #1 and SO #2 by the driver’s door. The officers managed to unlock and open the door, after which they were able to pull the Complainant out of the truck onto the ground following a period of further struggle which included several additional palm strikes by SO #2. The Complainant continued to resist on the ground and was met by a knee strike by WO #6. He was eventually handcuffed and taken into custody.
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. The subject officials were aware that the Complainant had stolen the pickup truck and operated it in a dangerous fashion before he failed to negotiate the turn on Hansen Road North. The Complainant was clearly subject to lawful arrest.
Thereafter, though the Complainant was on the receiving end of significant force, I am satisfied the officers did not exceed the limits of permissible force. For starters, I am unable to fault the officers for deploying their CEWs. The Complainant had demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety of the public around him as he drove the pickup truck, smashing it into several other vehicles en route to the scene, and was attempting to break free from a police blockade on Hansen Road North as the officers approached his vehicle. In the circumstances, the officers had cause to want to arrest the Complainant as soon as possible to prevent his further operation of the pickup truck. The successful deployment of a CEW promised to do just that. As it turned out, it does not appear that the probes from any of the weapons actually penetrated to the Complainant’s body, rendering them ineffective.
I am also satisfied that the strikes delivered by the officers and the use of OC spray fell within the range of what was reasonably necessary in the circumstances. The Complainant was a formidable challenge. He was unaffected by the CEW discharges and continued to struggle vigorously against the officers’ efforts to remove him from the truck. Even after the multiple blows struck by SO #1 and SO #2, the Complainant’s fight did not wane. In fact, it was only after the driver’s door was finally opened did the officers manage to overcome the Complainant’s resistance and pull him from the vehicle, and then only with the combined manpower of all three officers. On this record, I am unable to reasonably conclude that SO #2’s deployment of OC spray and the strikes delivered by the officers, including the knee strike delivered by WO #6 when the Complainant was on the ground but still refusing to surrender an arm, was something other than a commensurate and proportionate response to the situation at hand.
It remains unclear at the conclusion of the investigation how precisely the Complainant’s nose was fractured. While I accept that it could well have resulted from the blows delivered by the officers, it could also have occurred in the course of the Complainant’s physical confrontation with CW #1 or the several vehicular collisions that has was involved in prior to his confrontation with police. Be that as it may, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officials conducted themselves other than lawfully throughout their interaction with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.
Date: July 5, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The CEW times are derived from the internal clocks of the weapons, which are not necessarily synchronized between 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.