SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OFP-113
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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 by the police at a 37-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn April 5, 2021, at 1:19 p.m., the Brantford Police Service (BPS) notified the SIU of a discharge of a firearm at a person.
BPS reported that on April 4, 2021, at 1:21 p.m., an ambulance was parked on Grey Street, Brantford. A man approached paramedics with a machete and threatened them. BPS police officers arrived and recognized the Complainant, who was wanted on a warrant. The Complainant retreated to, and barricaded himself in, his house. At some point, the Complainant advanced towards the police officers with a knife in his right hand and a sword in his left. An Anti-riot Weapon Enfield (ARWEN) was discharged but did not affect the Complainant. A conducted energy weapon (CEW) was deployed without affect. The Complainant again retreated into his house and barricaded himself.
A perimeter had been established and multiple police services attended, including the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS), Waterloo Regional Police Services (WRPS) and Guelph Police Service (GPS). A negotiator was used in an attempt to arrange the Complainant’s surrender.
On April 6, 2021, at 8:51 a.m., the GPS reported that the Subject Official (SO) had discharged an ARWEN at the Complainant.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 04/06/2021 at 8:51 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 04/06/2021 at 9:26 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):37-year-old male interviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on June 28, 2021.
Subject Official (SO)SO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the
The subject official was interviewed on May 13, 2021.
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #2 Interviewed
The witness official was interviewed on April 21, 2021.
The Scene The scene was attended and processed by SIU Forensic Investigators on April 7, 2021, at the conclusion of the four-day stand-off. Grey Street is a two-lane residential street that travelled east and west. The residence was a house designed for single family occupancy.
Physical Evidence Evidence collected from the scene included several ARWEN baton projectiles and cartridge cases, a CEW cartridge and deployed CEW paraphernalia, and an oleoresin capsicum canister.
The nature of the ARWEN projectiles is such that they cannot be matched to the ARWEN responsible for its launch.
The SO’s ARWEN was inspected and photographed.
Police Communications RecordingsRequested by the SIU on April 9, 2021, and received on April 29, 2021, communication recordings showed a running time of eight hours, 22 minutes, 19 seconds. There was no date or time stamp associated to the recording to specify the start and stop times. By referencing the time of the ARWEN deployment at 1:29 a.m., the recording is estimated to have begun at approximately 9:48 p.m., on April 5, 2021. It was apparent someone was monitoring the radio transmissions and repeating what was said by the police officers, who were broadcasting what the Complainant was saying to them. Unless noted as a transmission by a Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU) police officer, the following are comments made by the person monitoring the radio. This report is not inclusive of all radio transmissions as many were incomprehensible.
The person monitoring the radio was heard to say, “Get the fuck back. He’s got a large sword in his right hand. He’s got something in his left hand there.”
A TRU member broadcast, “He’s still in the bathroom. Get the fuck back. Get the fuck back out.”
“You’re sadists. You’re not police, you’re sadists. He was asked to surrender, he said no. You don’t have to tell me what to do. Get out of here. You try to push every room, every single room. You have to leave.”
“Asking him to drop the sword, to get back. Identifying self as the police. He says we’re not the police. You’re not the police, I know that.”
“I need help, he says. You’re not the police, I need help.”
“Male’s still got a sword in his hand. Asking him to drop the sword. Get the fuck back out of here.”
“Oh, just got shot.”
A TRU police officer broadcast, “Two ARWEN rounds deployed, he ran back in and took cover.” Another TRU police officer said they had him at the back door, back window. A TRU police officer said they were negotiating with him and could hear him crying.
“Get to the street and I’ll talk to you. You shot me again. He still doesn’t think it’s the police. You’re sadists.”
Video Footage from a ResidenceA witness contacted investigators and provided a copy of segment of audio/video recordings from the witness’ residence during the prolonged interaction. The video provided was recorded on a home security system.
The times and dates associated with the clip were supplied by the witness. There was no time stamp on the video and the times noted refer to the counter time of the video as it ran.
The video began at approximately 1:18 a.m., on April 6, 2021, and ran for eight minutes and 59 seconds. The video included audio. The lightening conditions were dark, except for streetlights and a large lighting system focused on the front window of the Complainant’s residence.
At 01:08 of the video, GPS TRU members approached the front door. At 01:31, a distraction device was deployed, and the sound of breaking glass was heard. A GPS member said, “Police, I need you to come out with your hands up now, do not come out with the sword. Do not come out with the sword… you have something in your hand… I want you to come out with your hands up, do not have anything in your hands. Do it now…, do it now. I need you to come out and surrender now. It’s the Police, it’s the police I need you to come out now. I want you to come out, I don’t want to see anything in your hands. I don’t want anyone to get hurt. Come out now. Please drop the weapon. Doug drop the weapon and surrender now we have a warrant for your arrest. We have been at this for forty hours; I need you to come out now.”
The dialogue continued in that vein until the recording ended.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from the GPS:
• Arrest Policy;• Disclosure letter to SIU;• Notes – WO #2;• Notes – WO #1;• Communication Recordings; and• Use of Force Policy.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
• Video footage from a Residence on April 6, 2021.
In and around 1:00 p.m. of April 4, 2021, the Complainant approached paramedics on Grey Street brandishing a sword in their direction. Police were called.
BPS officers confronted the Complainant, who had by then retreated to the driveway of his home on Grey Street. The Complainant was agitated, spoke incoherently, and threatened to kill the officers while holding a sword in his right hand.
There ensued a days-long stand-off between the police and the Complainant involving multiple police services and the use of ARWENs on several occasions. The first of those incidents occurred on April 4, 2021 and the third, on April 7, 2021. Each of those events was the subject of separate SIU investigations (21-OFP-105 and 21-PFP-112, respectively). The instant case relates to the second such transaction with the Complainant involving the use of an ARWEN by the SO.
GPS tactical officers, including the SO, arrived to assist in the stand-off on April 5, 2021. They were briefed on the events of the prior day, in which the Complainant had displayed a sword at paramedics and was subsequently struck by an ARWEN round fired by a BPS officer. They were further advised that the Complainant appeared to be in the middle of a psychotic episode and that negotiations, which had not proven fruitful to that point, had been assessed by a forensic psychiatrist as unlikely to result in his peaceful surrender.
The GPS tactical officers, divided into two teams, took up positions in the front and rear of the house. The SO was with the unit by the front door, armed with an ARWEN. His colleagues were variously armed with weapons at the ready, including a C8 rifle, a sidearm and a CEW.
At about 1:00 a.m. of April 6, 2021, after the officers had tried and failed to communicate with the Complainant through the locked front door, the decision was taken to force open the door. A distraction device was deployed into the home through a rear window, after which an officer used a ram to breach the front door. The Complainant was seen by the rear of the house near a bathroom. He paced back and forth, carried a large sword, and was speaking but not making any sense. At one point, he started to move toward the open doorway.
The officers by the front door told the Complainant to stop and warned that force would be used against him if he crossed a certain threshold. The Complainant continued past the threshold and was shot twice by ARWEN rounds fired by the SO.
One of the rounds hit the Complainant in the abdomen and the other impacted his backside. Though neither round dislodged the sword from the Complainant’s hand, they did stop his forward progress. The Complainant retreated back to the bathroom.
The GPS tactical officers did not pursue the Complainant into the home. Instead, they took up containment positions throughout the night until they were relieved in the morning by BPS officers.
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. By the time of the SO’s ARWEN discharge, a warrant authorizing the forcible entry of police officers into the Complainant’s home to arrest him was in effect. That warrant was prompted by the Complainant’s threatening behaviour toward paramedics on his street and his subsequent conduct in relation to the police response that followed. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that the SO was attempting to lawfully take the Complainant into custody at the time he fired his weapon.
I am also satisfied that the force used by the SO, namely, the two ARWEN discharges, was not excessive. The Complainant was in the possession of a weapon capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm and death. He had also threatened the lives of officers and managed to keep them at bay over the previous two days. In the circumstances, it does not appear that the police acted precipitously in breaking open the door in what was ultimately a failed attempt to take the Complainant into custody, particularly as they had received expert advice indicating the Complainant would not be inclined to surrender peacefully. On this record, having warned him that force would be brought to bear if he got too close to the officers, I am unable to characterize as unreasonable the SO’s decision to attempt to neutralize the Complainant from a distance by deploying his weapon, even if the discharges did not incapacitate the Complainant or dispossess him of the sword.
For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO comported himself other than lawfully in the course of his engagement with the Complainant. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.
Date: August 3, 2021
Electronically approved by
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.