SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OCI-316


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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 a serious injury sustained by a 35-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On November 20, 2020, at 11:42 a.m., the Peterborough Police Service (PPS) reported that on November 19, at 11:05 p.m., police were called to 157 George Street, Peterborough, in relation to a man – the Complainant - acting erratically and threatening to kill people. The Complainant was arrested by the Subject Officer (SO) for breach of recognizance. Witness Officer (WO) #1 and WO #2 assisted in the arrest, and WO #2 transported the Complainant to the station.

While being booked by WO #3, the Complainant complained that his left shoulder was sore and that he had dislocated it four days ago. He declined to be taken to the hospital.

After a video bail hearing, the Complainant was remanded into custody and complained again about his shoulder. At this time, he requested to be taken to the hospital.

Upon arrival at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC), the Complainant was diagnosed with a left broken scapula. He also uttered to a doctor that "three police officers jumped me".

The Team

Number of SIU Investigators assigned:     3


35-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed

Witness Officers

WO #1     Interviewed

WO #2     Interviewed

WO #3     Interviewed

Subject Officers

SO     Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed


The Scene

The incident occurred in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons Coffee Shop located at 157 George Street North, Peterborough.

George Street runs north / south and is a main roadway traveling through downtown Peterborough. Tim Hortons is located on the west side of the roadway with two driveways, one being an entrance and the other an exit. It is situated at the north portion of the property. The front entrance faces east towards George Street. The parking lot appears to accommodate at least 25 vehicles. The area is illuminated by standard streetlamps.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence

Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) Video - George Street North, Peterborough, November 19, 2020

The CCTV footage received had some technical issues during playback. There were a series of camera views. Camera 13 showed the area near one of the driveway entrances into the Tim Hortons parking lot.

The Complainant was depicted wearing a red hoodie and walking in the parking lot. The Complainant became involved in a verbal altercation with a woman who appeared to walk towards the Complainant from a group of individuals. The woman and the Complainant were quite animated in their interaction. A second woman joined them from the group, which appeared huddled near a group of vehicles in the parking lot. The group of individuals walked towards the Complainant and a physical altercation took place. The Complainant was thrown to the ground while he was punched. Once on the ground, two men from the group began to kick the Complainant’s torso. The Complainant then managed to get up off the ground and pushed one member of the group to the ground, after which they disengaged.

At time stamp 10:40 p.m., the SO arrived in his police vehicle via the north parking lot entrance, which was the driveway exit from the Drive Through window. The SO stopped his police cruiser in full camera view and then exited and walked towards the Complainant, who was out of camera view. The SO then walked out of camera view at time stamp 10:40 p.m.

At time stamp 10:41 p.m. and 10:42 p.m., police vehicles driven by WO #1 and WO #2 arrived and stopped north of the SO’s police vehicle and out of camera view. The Complainant’s arrest was not captured on camera.

At time stamp 10:51 p.m., the SO was seen escorting the Complainant into camera view and then placing him into the passenger rear seat of the police vehicle, without incident. All three police officers came into camera view as they spoke briefly with two women. The SO cleared the scene at 10:54 p.m. [NB. The time stamp on the CCTV footage appeared to be approximately 30 minutes out of synch with actual time].

PPS Custody Video, November 19, 2020

At 11:30 p.m., the Complainant was brought into the lockup by the SO and WO #2, and was sat on a chair at the end of a bench. The Complainant wore a red hoodie and black pants.

WO #3 stood behind the counter with the camera to his back. WO #3 told the Complainant that he was being video and audio recorded. The Complainant was handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

At 11:31 p.m., WO #3 asked the Complainant a series of standard questions, to which he replied, “No.” He also stated that he was not injured, did not take medication, and did not require medical attention.

At 11:33 p.m., the Complainant was stood in front of a wall and told to take off his top. The Complainant had trouble taking his top off and was seen to be favouring his left shoulder. WO #3 asked the Complainant about his shoulder and the Complainant told WO #3 that he had dislocated his shoulder four days earlier, and had not had medical attention for a long time. The Complainant was then taken to be placed in a cell.

Communications Recordings

A review of the communications audios revealed that two citizens called 911: One at 11:05:09 p.m., and the second at 11:10:36 p.m. Both civilians reported that a man was acting erratically and had threatened to stab people. The man was described as 25-years-old, Caucasian, wearing a red hoodie, and walking around the Tim Hortons parking lot.

The SO was dispatched to the call at 11:07:54 p.m., and arrived on scene at 11:11:00 p.m.

WO #1 arrived on scene at 11:12:07 p.m., and WO #2 arrived at 11:13:10 p.m.

The SO cleared the scene with the Complainant in custody at 11:25:09 p.m., and arrived at the police station at 11:27:28 p.m.

Materials obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the PPS:

• Computer-assisted Dispatch Details;
• Communications Audio;
• The Complainant’s Arrest Report;
• The Complainant’s Booking Sheet with WO #3’s Notes;
• The Complainant’s Charge Wording;
• Notes of the SO and WOs;
PPS Letter regarding George Street Video;
PPS Lock-up Video;
PPS Policy - Use of Force;
PPS Policy - Arrest;
• Witness Statement (x2); and
• Witness Information (x2).

Materials obtained from Other Sources

The SIU also obtained the following from non-police sources:

CCTV video from George Street East, Peterborough; and
• The Complainant’s Medical Records from PRHC.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the weight of the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with the Complainant, the SO and two other officers who participated in the Complainant’s arrest. The investigation was also assisted by video footage from a security camera that captured the incident in parts.

Shortly after 11:00 p.m. of November 19, 2020, the PRP received a couple of 911 calls from citizens about a man – the Complainant – in the parking lot of the Tim Hortons at 157 George Street North. The Complainant, it was reported, was behaving erratically and had threatened to stab people. Officers were dispatched to investigate.

The SO was the first officer to arrive at the scene, at about 11:11 p.m., followed closely by WO #2 and WO #3. The Complainant was alone in the parking lot, appeared intoxicated, and was speaking incoherently. He identified himself when asked by the officers, and was subsequently told that he was under arrest when a check of his name revealed there was a warrant outstanding for his arrest.

The Complainant stated he would resist his arrest, but then calmed when he was allowed to smoke a cigarette before being taken into custody. His agitation returned, however, when told he was taking too long to finish the cigarette, at which point he told the officer that he would fight them if they moved to arrest him.

The SO and WO #2 took a hold of the Complainant, who was seated on a curb, and struggled with him as he came up off the curb and refused to surrender his arms. The officers took the Complainant to the ground and wrestled control of his arms in short order, handcuffing them to the back.

At the station, the Complainant informed the booking officer that he had dislocated his shoulder days prior but did not want any medical attention. Later the following morning, he asked to be taken to the hospital and, while there, was diagnosed with a fractured left scapula.

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 November 20, 2020, the Complainant, while in the custody of the PRP, was diagnosed with a serious injury. He had been arrested the day before by three PRP officers. One of those officers – the SO – was identified as the 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. At the time of the events in question, there was a warrant outstanding for the Complainant’s arrest. Consequently, the officers were entitled to take him into custody.

Thereafter, I am satisfied that the officers, including the SO, used moderate and reasonable force to effect the Complainant’s arrest. At its highest, the weight of the evidence suggests that the officers took the Complainant to the ground and then wrestled with him for a short period before they were able to assert control of his arms and place them in handcuffs. I am unable to fault the officers in any of this given the Complainant’s resistance and the violent behaviour that had prompted the officers’ presence in the first place. That is to say, aware of information that the Complainant had recently threatened people with a knife, grounding him at the first sign of resistance seems a reasonable tactic in the circumstances.

In the result, as I am satisfied that the SO and the other arresting officers comported themselves lawfully throughout their interaction with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: July 12, 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.