SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TFP-076
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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 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.
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 discharge of a firearm at a 46-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn March 12, 2021 at 8:05 a.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) contacted the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and reported the following.
At approximately 5:00 a.m., TPS received a call from a man indicating his roommate was armed with a firearm. Police attended a residence on Dawes Road in Toronto. When no one answered the door, the Emergency Task Force (ETF) was contacted. ETF officers attended and initiated dialogue with the Complainant. The Complainant agreed to exit and upon doing so charged at ETF officers. An ETF officer discharged a Blunt Impact Projectile (BIP) firearm, striking the Complainant in the abdomen.
The Complainant was taken into custody and transported to the Michael Garron Hospital for assessment as a precaution. The complainant did not appear to have sustained any serious injuries.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 03/12/2021 at 10:46 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 03/12/2021 at 3:30 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):46-year-old male interviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on March 15, 2021.
Civilian WitnessesCW Interviewed
The civilian witness was interviewed on March 12, 2021.
Subject OfficialsSO Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right. Notes received and reviewed.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on March 17, 2021.
The Scene The incident occurred at Dawes Road in Toronto; specifically, the threshold of the entrance way to a unit in an apartment building.
A BIP cartridge case was located in the hallway of the apartment complex, just outside the entrance of the unit. A gel cap cartridge from the BIP projectile was found in the threshold of the doorway.
Physical Evidence The following items were obtained by the SIU:
• Gel cap cartridge from BIP projectile;
• Blood swab from bedroom floor;
• BIP cartridge case fragment;
• Blood swab from hallway floor;
• Grey baseball cap; and,
• BIP cartridge case.
Figure 1 - The SO's BIP firearm and projectile.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU searched for and obtained audio records of relevance, as set out below.
TPS 911 and Radio CommunicationsThe original call came in on March 12, 2021 at 4:58:15 a.m. An intoxicated man [now known to be the CW] told the dispatcher he was at the scene on Dawes Road. He said his friend, the Complainant, had threatened him. He later updated that information at 5:10:05 a.m., stating the Complainant was in possession of a black handgun, and had threatened him.
The CW completed two hang-up calls to the 911 operator, in which he repeated this information.
The CW called back a third time asking to speak with the 911 supervisors.
Members of the TPS General Duty patrol units were dispatched to the apartment building and the ETF were contacted and activated.
Members of the TPS Primary Response Unit made a perimeter around the building exterior.
The CW made another 911 call from a second telephone line. He spoke with the 911 operator. He identified himself by name, date of birth and address, and indicated where he was calling from. He stated “SWAT” were outside his door and banging on it. The CW asked for a supervisor and a negotiator to attend the scene. A man’s voice [believed to be an ETF officer] could be heard on the 911 call in the background. He demanded the CW hang up the telephone and come to the door. The phone was then hung up.
At 7:20:13 a.m., an ETF officer advised via radio broadcast, “There is one in custody.” He requested a uniform member attend and transport the CW to hospital.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the TPS:
• Notes of WOs and the SO;
• TPS Communications Recordings;
• TPS Scene Photos; and
• TPS Officer List.
In the morning of March 12, 2021, the TPS received a 911 call from the CW. The CW, a resident of an apartment building on Dawes Road, called to report that his friend, the Complainant, present in the apartment, had threatened him with a handgun in his possession. Officers were dispatched to the address.
Uniform officers were the first at the scene. When they were unable to elicit a response from inside the apartment, they withdrew to a position of containment while they waited for ETF officers to arrive.
An ETF team was deployed and started arriving at about 6:40 a.m. After being briefed on the situation by the officers on the scene, the team took up a position outside the door of the unit. WO #2, who was the first officer in a lineup formation, knocked on the door and directed the CW out into the hallway with his hands on his head. The CW opened the door and did as instructed. He was arrested by WO #3, third in the formation, and removed from the scene. The officers then turned their attention to the Complainant.
The Complainant was asked to exit the unit in similar fashion but refused. He uttered profanities at the officers, told them he was armed, and challenged them to come into the apartment to get him. At one point, with the door still open, the Complainant attempted to close it. The door would not close because the officers had wedged it open. Shortly thereafter, the Complainant again approached the open door, prompting WO #3 to attempt to reach in and grab him. As he did so, the SO, armed with a less lethal firearm, fired his weapon at the Complainant.
The Complainant was struck in the midsection with a blunt impact projectile. Though not felled, the impact stunned the Complainant and zapped him of his strength. He went limp and had to be carried out of the apartment and down the hallway by officers, where he was arrested and handcuffed.
The Complainant was examined at the scene by paramedics. He did not suffer any serious injuries.
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 authorized or required to do by law. The Complainant was at the CW’s place in breach of a condition of his release from custody. By the time he was shot, the officers also had grounds to believe the Complainant was armed with a firearm, which he had used to threaten the CW. He was clearly subject to arrest.
Thereafter, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the SO acted with excess when he discharged his firearm at the Complainant. Confronted by a violent Complainant, refusing to exit the apartment and threatening the officers with a firearm, the SO had good cause to want to neutralize the Complainant from a distance with the use of his less-lethal firearm. Withdrawal was not an option given the possibility of a firearm in the Complainant’s possession. Nor was continued negotiation a realistic recourse, particularly as the Complainant had advanced to within metres of the officers’ position at the threshold of the open doorway when the shooting occurred. As it turns out, the force used by the SO had the intended effect, sufficiently debilitating the Complainant that the officers were able to take control of him without injury or further incident.
For the foregoing reasons, I am satisfied that the SO comported himself lawfully throughout his engagement in the operation that resulted in the Complainant’s arrest. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.
Date: July 7, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) 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.