SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OSA-088

Warning:

This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.

Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019, the Director may exercise a discretion to not publish a Director's Report dealing with the reported sexual assault of a person where the person's privacy interests in not having the report published clearly outweighs the public interest in having the report published, subject to prior consultation with the person.  Upon consultation with the person in this case, the Director has decided to publish the report.

Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving an official where there has been death, serious injury, the discharge of a firearm at a person or an allegation of sexual assault. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 (SIU Act), officials are defined as police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act. The SIU’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

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.

Information Restrictions

Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019

Pursuant 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 Act

Pursuant 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, 2004

Pursuant 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.

Mandate Engaged

Pursuant to section 15 of the SIU Act, the SIU may investigate the conduct of officials, be they police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission or peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act, that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

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 an alleged sexual assault on a 22-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On March 16, 2021, the Complainant contacted the SIU to report a sexual assault allegation.
Reportedly, on September 20, 2020, the Complainant contacted the Peel Regional Police (PRP) to request assistance. He suffered from various mental health issues. The officers attended the Complainant’s home in Brampton and an officer, the Subject Official (SO), groped him. The officer put her hand down the front of his pants and fondled his genitals.
The Complainant was handcuffed, placed in a police vehicle, and taken to the Brampton Civic Hospital (BCH). On the way to the hospital, the SO pulled him from the back of the police vehicle, pepper sprayed him and used a “Taser” on him. The Complainant was subsequently taken to the hospital.
The Complainant added that on January 7, 2021, he went to the front desk at 22 Division. A female officer walked from behind the counter, grounded him and kicked him 30 to 40 times in the head. He was then transported to the BCH for mental health issues.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 03/22/2021 at 9:24 a.m.

Date and time SIU responded: 03/24/2021 at 1:58 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

22-year-old male interviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on March 29, 2021.


Subject Officials

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


Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on March 31, 2021. 


Evidence

The Scene

The scene was located on the driveway of a residential property on Berkindale Court, Brampton.

Forensic Evidence

Global Positioning System (GPS) Data Associated with Police Vehicles

The PRP provided a copy of data pertaining to the SO and WO #3’s police vehicles for September 21, 2020. The GPS data indicated movement of both police vehicles from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. The police vehicles travelled from the scene to the BCH. The position of the police vehicles was updated every ten seconds on the highway. The route taken was northeast on Ray Lawson Boulevard, southeast on Hurontario Street, northeast on Highway 407, north on Highway 410, and northeast on Bovaird Drive to the BCH. Both police vehicles were in constant motion and there were no stops along the route.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

Communication Recording – 911

The PRP provided a copy of the communication recordings from September 21, 2020. There were three recordings.
The first recording was a 911 call from the Complainant. The PRP answered the call before transferring it to Peel Regional Paramedic Services (PRPS) communications. The call was one minutes and 24 seconds long. At 4:43:32 a.m., a man [known to be the Complainant] called 911 and requested an ambulance. He said he was not feeling well and needed to go to the hospital. He was having difficulty breathing and he woke up not feeling well in his body. The Complainant said he was not sick. The call was transferred to the paramedics.
The second recording was from the PRPS dispatcher. The recording was one minute and 22 seconds long. At 5:08:38 a.m., the dispatcher asked the PRP to attend the residence of the Complainant. The paramedics were at the residence and the Complainant said he was having thoughts of harming people. He was refusing to go to the hospital and threatening to punch everyone in the face. There was no knowledge of drug or alcohol use or possession of weapons.
The third recording was also from the PRPS dispatcher. The recording was 53 seconds long. The paramedics dispatch advised that they were attempting to contact their crew on the radio, but were not able to get them. The PRP indicated that the police were on the scene and they had the Complainant in custody. An officer would be transporting the Complainant to the BCH. The PRP requested that additional units attend the address because the Complainant was agitated and refused to go with the paramedics.

Communication Recording – Radio Broadcasts

The PRP provided a copy of radio communications on September 21, 2020. There were ten communication files.
The first recording began at 5:10:50 a.m. and its duration was one minute and 18 seconds. WO #1 and the SO were dispatched to a priority call to the scene for a man [known to be the Complainant]. The Complainant was having difficulty breathing. The Complainant was refusing to go to the hospital and threatening to harm people. He wanted to punch everyone in the face. The previous night, the paramedics had responded to a call from the Complainant for the same complaint. There was a premise warning on file for the Complainant indicating that the Complainant had developmental issues that led him to make threats to kill and harm police officers and Crown Attorneys. He was also fixated on police officers’ firearms. WO #2 was made aware of the call.
The second recording began at 5:14:59 a.m. and its duration was eight seconds. The SO informed she was with WO #1 at the scene.
The third recording began at 5:16:40 a.m. and its duration was 29 seconds. The SO asked for additional units because the Complainant was being aggressive and not willing to go with paramedics. WO #2 and WO #3 were dispatched to the call.
The fourth recording began at 5:17:21 a.m. and its duration was 44 seconds. Two additional police officers volunteered to attend the call, but the dispatcher and WO #2 felt too many police officers might cause the Complainant to become more agitated. The two police officers were called off. Only four officers were on the call.
The fifth recording began at 5:20:19 a.m. and its duration was 16 seconds. WO #3 arrived at the scene.
The sixth recording began at 5:22:02 a.m. and its duration was 42 seconds. One of the officers cleared from the call earlier arrived at the scene. The officer was called away to another call because he was not required at the scene.
The seventh recording began at 5:25:17 a.m. and its duration was nine seconds. WO #2 advised that everything was alright. The Complainant was in custody and would be transported to BCH by officers.
The eighth recording began at 5:29:44 a.m. and its duration was 31 seconds. The SO advised she was changing locations with the Complainant to BCH. The SO’s starting mileage for the trip was 107396 and WO #3 was following her.
The ninth recording began at 5:32:09 a.m. and its duration was eight seconds. WO #2 cleared the call.
The tenth recording began at 5:42:52 a.m. and its duration was 26 seconds. The SO advised that she had arrived at the BCH and her finishing mileage was 107441.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained the following records from the PRP between March 24, 2021, and April 8, 2021:
• Notes of the WOs;
PRP Occurrence (x3)
PRP Person Details Report – the Complainant;
PRP Communication Recordings;
PRP GPS data; and
PRP Interview-the Complainant.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
• Ambulance call reports from Peel Emergency Medical Services.

Incident Narrative


The material events in question are clear on the evidence collected by the SIU, and may be briefly summarized.

In the morning of September 21, 2020, the SO and other PRP officers arrived at the Complainant’s home. They had been called to the scene by paramedics seeking assistance with a patient – the Complainant. The Complainant had earlier called 911 complaining of chest pains and trouble breathing. He had refused to attend hospital with the paramedics and further claimed he wished to harm himself and others, thus prompting the call to police.

The Complainant was apprehended at the scene under the Mental Health Act, placed in the backseat of the SO’s cruiser, and transported to hospital.

Relevant Legislation

Section 271, Criminal Code -- Sexual assault

271 Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On March 16, 2021, the Complainant contacted the SIU to report that he had been sexually assaulted by a PRP officer – the SO – in the course of his arrest on September 21, 2020. The SIU initiated an investigation, designating the SO as the subject official. 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 allegation.

A sexual assault consists of an assault within any of its definitions in the Criminal Code that is sexual in nature and violates the sexual integrity of the victim: R. v. Chase, [1987] 2 SCR 293.

It is alleged that the SO inappropriately touched the Complainant’s genitals before he was placed in her cruiser, but it would be unwise and unsafe to rest charges on this evidence. The Complainant was not of sound mind at the time of his arrest and appears to have been hallucinatory. He had told the paramedics, for example, that people were trying to stab and rape him. In addition, not only does it stretch credulity to believe that the SO would molest him over an extended period of time in a public space in full view of potential passersby and his family, none of the other officers who were present at the time say they saw any such misconduct. Lastly, the Complainant’s account was demonstrably inaccurate in other respects. For example, he says that the SO stopped the cruiser at the side of the highway en route to the hospital, pulled him out, and beat him. WO #3, however, who was following in his cruiser, says that no stops were made on the way to the hospital. Moreover, the GPS data establish that the SO’s cruiser did not stop as the Complainant described. For these and other reasons, the Complainant’s evidence is insufficiently reliable to warrant being put to the test by a trier-of-fact.

The remainder of the evidence establishes that there were grounds to apprehend the Complainant under the Mental Health Act given his state of mind and utterances of a desire to harm himself and others, and that his arrest and period in custody were uneventful.

In the result, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO committed a sexual assault against the Complainant. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the officer, and the file is closed.


Date: July 13, 2021

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Director
Special Investigations Unit

Endnotes

  • 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]

Note:

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.