SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TCI-087
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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.
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.
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 the serious injuries a 68-year-old man (the “Complainant”) reportedly suffered during an interaction with police.
Notification of the SIUOn March 19, 2021, at about 8:07 a.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) contacted the SIU and reported the following.
On March 18, 2021, TPS officers were dispatched to assist Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) staff and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) with the Complainant, who was acting strangely. TPS police officers attempted to arrest the Complainant, and he bit a TPS police officer. A struggle ensued before the Complainant was handcuffed. The Complainant was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH).
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 03/19/2021 at 10:33 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 03/19/2021 at 1:25 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):68-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on March 19, 2021.
Civilian Witness (CW)CW Interviewed
The civilian witness was interviewed on March 25, 2021.
Subject Official (SO)SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on March 29, 2021.
The Scene The scene was the hallway of a TCHC apartment complex. There were numerous TCHC, TPS and private security personnel present, as well as paramedics.
TPS Communications RecordingsOn April 7, 2021, TPS provided the SIU with a copy of the TPS communication recordings.
On March 18, 2021, at 10:46 p.m., the Complainant called 911 requesting EMS and reporting that his friend had cut his finger.
At 11:45 p.m., there was a TPS service call to assist EMS at an apartment in a TCHC apartment complex. Dispatch gave the call to WO #3 and other available units. EMS requested police attendance due to the behaviour of the Complainant in their previous contact.
At 11:51 p.m., WO #3 advised that all was in order and others could slow down. WO #3 advised that the SO had been bitten by the Complainant and both were being taken to SMH.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from the TPS between March 22, 2021 and April 7, 2021:
• TCHC notes;
• Communications Recordings;
• Scene Video Taken by the CW;
• Recorded Witness Interviews (x3);
• Notes-WO #1;
• Notes-WO #2;
• Notes-WO #3;
• TCHC Witnesses;
• Booking-Charge Document- the Complainant;
• General Occurrence;
• Witness Statement Summaries (x3); and
• Witness List.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources between March 30, 2021 and April 9, 2021:
• EMS Incident Summary Report;
• EMS Ambulance Call Report; and
• SMH Medical Records.
The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with the Complainant, several officers involved in his arrest, and a non-police eyewitness. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.
In the evening of March 18, 2021, the Complainant contacted the ambulance service twice, seeking assistance for a friend who had reportedly cut his finger. Dissatisfied with the service he believed the paramedics were providing, the Complainant grabbed one of them by the collar and told him he was under arrest. Two security guards present at the time intervened to assist the paramedics and the Complainant was taken to the ground. TPS officers were dispatched to the scene.
The SO, together with WO #1, WO #2 and WO #3, arrived at the scene – the hallway of a TCHC apartment building. Satisfied that he had assaulted a paramedic, the officers decided to arrest the Complainant.
The Complainant objected to his arrest and struggled against the officers’ efforts to take him into custody. At one point, his front side pressed up against a hallway wall by the SO, the Complainant kicked backwards at the officer. The SO took the Complainant to the floor where he continued to resist and bit into the officer’s hand. The officer reacted by punching the Complainant in the face. With the assistance of Toronto Community Housing special constables, the officers were able to handcuff the Complainant’s arms behind his back.
Following his arrest, the Complainant was taken in ambulance to hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured nose and right ankle.
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
Following his arrest by TPS officers on March 18, 2021, the Complainant was taken to hospital and diagnosed with serious injuries. Among the arresting officers, the SO was identified as a subject official 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 injuries.
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 Complainant had clearly laid hands on a paramedic prior to the officers’ arrival and was subject to arrest.
The Complainant physically resisted his arrest and was met in return, in my view, by reasonable force. His takedown at the hands of the SO occurred shortly after the Complainant had kicked the officer. In the circumstances, it was reasonable to place him in a positional disadvantage on the floor to thwart any further strikes from the Complainant. Shortly after the grounding, the SO reacted again within reason when he punched the Complainant after he had bitten into the officer’s hand. The strike was not simply aimed at deterring any further aggression, but intended to force the Complainant to release his bite hold. The Complainant did release his bite after the strike and was soon handcuffed following a further period of struggle in the ground. 
In the result, while it may well be the one or both of the Complainant’s injuries were the result of the force used against him by the officers,  including the SO, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject official comported himself unlawfully at any time. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.
Date: July 15, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) There is some evidence that the Complainant was also struck by an officer’s knee during the struggle on the ground. Given the nature and extent of the Complainant’s resistance, I am not persuaded that this single additional blow, if it occurred, was enough to render excessive the force brought to bear by the police. [Back to text]
- 2) There is a possibility raised in the evidence that the Complainant’s injuries occurred in the course of his altercation with paramedics and security guards ahead of the officers’ arrival. [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.