SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCD-027


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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.

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 the death of a 30-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On January 23, 2021, at 8:25 p.m., the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service (SSMPS) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s death.

The SSMPS advised that on January 23, 2021, at 6:56 p.m., police officers from the SSMPS were dispatched to 275 Albert Street, Sault Ste. Marie, regarding an unwanted guest. The Complainant held a knife as the police officers tried to communicate with him. The Complainant started to stab himself and multiple conducted energy weapons (CEWs) were deployed. The Complainant was transported to the Sault Area Hospital by Emergency Medical Services (EMS), where he was pronounced deceased at 8:41 p.m. SSMPS identification section had been dispatched to photograph the scene, obtain and hold the CEWs, and collect the police officers’ clothing, which contained blood.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 01/23/2021 at 9:42 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 01/24/2021 at 4:47 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

30-year-old male, deceased

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
CW #4 Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)

The civilian witnesses were interviewed between January 24 and 27, 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
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Interviewed
WO #7 Interviewed
WO #8 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on January 24, 2021.

Investigative Delay

The SIU did not receive the Post-Mortem and Toxicology Report until January 24, 2022.


The Scene

The incident occurred in the vestibule of Campbell Place, an apartment building at 275 Albert Street East, Sault Ste. Marie.

On January 24, 2021, at 4:47 a.m., SIU Forensic Investigators arrived at the address. The exterior front doors to the building were on the east wall. They led into a vestibule with mailboxes on the north and south walls. A second set of locked doors led into the building lobby.

General photographs were taken and the SSMPS markers denoting exhibits were removed and replaced with SIU markers. There was large blood-like staining on the floor in the northwest corner of the vestibule. Three CEW cartridges, four CEW blast doors, and a set of handcuffs were on the floor in the vestibule. Inside a new clean paper bag was a fully unfolded orange camo ‘Snake Eye’ buck-style knife, with red blood-like staining on one side of the blade. In the southeast corner of the room was a baseball cap with a partially unfolded orange camo ‘Snake Eye’ buck-style knife, a cell phone, and a pair of glasses. Photography was completed and all exhibits were collected.

Measurements of the scene were taken for a scale diagram.

SIU Forensic Investigators attended the SSMPS headquarters, where four CEWs were photographed and their data downloaded, and assorted police officers’ clothing was photographed.

Figure 1 – The scene

Figure 1 – The scene

Figure 2 – First knife

Figure 2 – First knife

Figure 3 – Second knife

Figure 3 – Second knife

Scene Diagram

Scene diagram

Physical Evidence

The exhibits collected by SIU Forensic Investigators included three CEW cartridges, four CEW blast doors, a swab with red staining from the floor, and two orange camouflage ‘Snake Eye’ knives. Also located was a quantity of yellow and pink AFIDs, a cellular telephone, and six CEW probes and wires. From the post-mortem were collected two CEW probes taken from the deceased’s pants.

CEWs and Probes

Three spent CEW cartridges were collected at the scene. Each CEW cartridge was capable of firing two probes, suggesting the recovery of a maximum of six probes. Two probes were collected at the SSMPS from the rear of the Complainant’s pants. Six probes were collected at the post-mortem examination, for a total of eight probes. This would indicate that four CEWs were discharged, yet there were not four spent cartridges at the scene.

Forensic Evidence

CEW Downloads and Interpretation

The following is a summary of the information derived from downloading the data of the CEWs used in the incident.

WO #2 was the first police officer to deploy his CEW. He deployed his CEW on three occasions, each for a period of five seconds, at 7:55:58, [1] 7:56:05 and 7:56:11 p.m.

The SO deployed his CEW on two occasions, for five seconds and 13 seconds, at 8:02:19 and 8:02:30 p.m.

WO #3 deployed his CEW on one occasion at 7:57:40 p.m. for one second.

WO #8 deployed his CEW on one occasion for 21 seconds at 7:56:04 p.m.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [2]

Communications Recordings

The following is a summary of the police communications recordings in connection with the incident.

Telephone Calls

The building superintendent at 275 Albert Street East called the SSMPS to report that she had received numerous calls from residents of the building about a man in the lobby. The man had jumped in front of a city bus. She advised that she told the man that he could not wait on the property and that there was no bus stop in front of the building. The man had a red bag and a camouflage jacket.

An unknown man reported there was an agitated man in the front entrance of 275 Albert Street East being aggressive. The man appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic and was smoking in the lobby.

Radio Communications

At 7:27 p.m., WO #6 and WO #8 were dispatched to attend at 275 Albert Street for an unwanted man in the lobby. A description of the man [now known to be the Complainant] was given and information was provided indicating he was aggressive. The SO and WO #4 were detailed to assist.

A check of CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre) records revealed that the Complainant was on probation for Assaulting a Peace Officer, Possession of Weapon, Fail to Appear and Fail to Stop for a Peace Officer. He was not to possess any weapons, and not to possess any knives outside of his place of residence except for the preparation and consumption of meals.

The dispatcher tried to make arrangements to take the Complainant to a shelter.

WO #6 asked if a sergeant could attend as they had the Complainant at ‘Taser’ point in the lobby and he was not complying. WO #6 said they could see a knife poking out of his pocket. A sergeant said he was 40 seconds away.

WO #6 said an ambulance was needed right away.

The dispatcher called the ambulance and said she did not know what the problem was; however, in the background police officers were heard to say that CEWs were deployed, and the man was bleeding heavily. He had a knife wound to his neck and they were applying pressure. The dispatcher relayed this information to the ambulance call-taker.

A man’s voice said a CEW had been deployed. The Complainant had put a knife to his throat. There was a cut, and the police officers were applying pressure. The Complainant was said to be bleeding heavily and a request was made to hurry the ambulance.

At 7:57 p.m., an officer asked the dispatcher to contact the paramedics as the Complainant was going unconscious. The officer said they were starting chest compressions on the Complainant.

Lobby Surveillance Video

The apartment building at 275 Albert Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, had a security camera in the lobby with a view of the building’s entrance, looking towards the outside. A single glass door with full length windows on either side led into a vestibule. Another two glass doors exited from the vestibule to the outside.

At 6:28 p.m., the Complainant entered the vestibule from outside. At 6:43 p.m., A woman approached the vestibule door from inside the lobby. She was seen to have a conversation with the Complainant. At 7:01 p.m., the woman re-entered the lobby and spoke on a mobile telephone while she watched the Complainant.

At 7:24 p.m., the Complainant was seen to smoke a cigarette with his left hand. His right hand was still in his jacket pocket.

At 7:40 p.m., two police officers [now known to be the SO and WO #4] arrived and entered the vestibule. The Complainant removed a paper or papers from his duffle bag, and held them while speaking to the police officers.

At 7:49 p.m., the Complainant began to pace, and walked towards the lobby door and then back towards the police officers. The SO pointed his CEW at the Complainant, and the CEW’s laser could be seen on the Complainant’s back.

The Complainant turned to face the police officers with his back against the wall. The SO held his CEW pointed at the Complainant. The Complainant held his mobile telephone in his left hand, extended towards the police officers as if recording. The Complainant raised his left hand up and to the side while keeping his right hand in his jacket pocket. The Complainant turned to face the police officers and leaned back against the lobby door. The Complainant turned his head towards the lobby and then turned his body to face the lobby. He appeared to be speaking to someone in the lobby while he shook the cell phone in his left hand in that direction.

At about 8:02 p.m., an officer moved into the vestibule and deployed his CEW at the Complainant’ back. The deployment appeared to be effective; the Complainant fell to his right and landed on his back. As he fell, the Complainant’s right hand came out of his pocket. His right hand appeared to be holding an object. Four or five police officers converged on the Complainant.

At the time of the CEW deployment, the Complainant still had his cell phone in his left hand and his right hand in his jacket pocket. As he fell to the ground, the Complainant removed his right hand from his jacket pocket with what appeared to be an object in it.

The Complainant was prone on his back. Blood could be seen pooling on the floor near the right side of the Complainant’s head, and he was almost immediately non-responsive. WO #3 could be seen applying pressure to the right side of the Complainant’s neck. WO #1 appeared with medical gauze or bandages.

At 8:06 p.m., police officers [now known to be the SO, WO #2 and WO #7] began CPR.

At 8:10 p.m., paramedics arrived and took control of patient care.

Facebook Videos Posted by the Complainant

The SIU reviewed two videos from the Complainant’s Facebook page.

In the first video, the Complainant rode a bus and attended a men’s shelter shortly before 6:00 p.m. The Complainant spoke to an attendant, who told the Complainant that he appeared to be acting paranoid. The Complainant told the attendant that he had been followed all day by someone.

In the second video, the Complainant was inside the vestibule of a building possibly at 275 Albert Street East. He spoke to a man who wore a fluorescent jacket. The man asked the Complainant if he knew the bus schedule. The Complainant said, “Ya, I’m good.” The man asked if the Complainant was waiting until the bus came and he said, “Ya.” The Complainant said, “Someone in this building sees me trying to flag down a bus right.”

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from SSMPS between January 25, 2021, and February 8, 2021:
  • Communications recordings;
  • Scene photographs;
  • CEW Sign-out Log;
  • Notes-WO #8;
  • Notes-WO #6;
  • Notes-WO #4;
  • Notes-WO #2;
  • Notes-WO #5;
  • Notes-WO #3;
  • Notes-WO #7;
  • Notes-WO #1;
  • Occurrence History;
  • Computer-assisted Dispatch Record;
  • Canvass List;
  • Duty Roster;
  • Policy-Mental Illness;
  • Policy-Use of Force;
  • Policy-Arrest;
  • CEW data;
  • Use of Force Training Records for the SO;
  • Will say-WO #8;
  • Will say-WO #6;
  • Will say-WO #4;
  • Will say-WO #2;
  • Will say-WO #5;
  • Will say-WO #3;
  • Will say-WO #7; and
  • Will say-WO #1.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
  • Video footage from lobby camera at 275 Albert Street East;
  • EMS Ambulance Call Report Addendum;
  • EMS Incident Report;
  • Preliminary Autopsy Findings from the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service;
  • Post-mortem Report and Toxicology Report from Coroner’s Office; and
  • Videos Downloaded from Facebook.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with several police officers present throughout the incident and video footage that captured the events in question. 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 January 23, 2021, officers, including the SO, were dispatched to the apartment building at 275 Albert Street, Sault Ste. Marie. They were sent following a call to police from the building manager reporting an unwanted male in the building lobby – the Complainant. The Complainant had been asked to leave but refused to do so. He had also been seen running from the building lobby onto Albert Street at the approach of public transit buses, on which occasions he would position himself in front of the buses on the roadway.

The SO and his partner, WO #4, were the first on scene, arriving at about 7:40 p.m. They were followed quickly by WO #6 and WO #8. The officers encountered the Complainant inside the vestibule of the building – an enclosed area between the front exterior glass doors and a single interior glass door to the lobby. The SO spoke with the Complainant and asked what the officers could do to help him. The Complainant explained that he was making his way to Pauline’s Place – a provider of emergency and short-term housing. He held a cell phone in his left hand, and kept his right hand inside his coat pocket. Asked to show his right hand, the Complainant declined and explained that his right arm was broken. The Complainant refused to leave the vestibule with the officers, and questioned whether they were in fact police officers. After approximately ten minutes of conversation, the blade of a knife became apparent inside the left front pocket of the Complainant’s coat. By this time, the officers had been advised via their dispatch that the Complainant was subject to a probation order term that he refrain from possessing knives. The SO advised the Complainant that he was under arrest. The Complainant did not surrender to arrest.

The SO removed himself from the interior of the vestibule to position himself at the threshold of an open exterior glass door. He had his CEW drawn. Standing behind him holding his sidearm was WO #8. Additional officers arrived on scene, including WO #2, WO #3, and WO #1. WO #2 occupied the threshold of the other exterior glass door, which had also been opened, his CEW out. WO #1, from a position outside near one of the exterior doors, took the lead in speaking with the Complainant. Efforts continued to persuade the Complainant to disarm himself and show his right hand. He continued to refuse.

At about 8:04 p.m., the SO, WO #2 and WO #3 deployed their CEWs at the Complainant. The Complainant screamed in pain. As the Complainant fell to the ground, his right hand came out of his pocket holding a knife, which he used to cut across the front of his neck. Officers moved in to physically engage the Complainant. The Complainant struggled against the officers as they tried to handcuff him and treat his injuries. WO #8 deployed his CEW as he attempted to control the Complainant’s legs.

Officers rendered first-aid to the Complainant, including the administration of CPR, pending the arrival of paramedics at the scene.

The Complainant was taken to hospital in ambulance. He was declared deceased at about 8:41 p.m.

Cause of Death

The pathologist at autopsy concluded that the Complainant’s death was attributable to ‘stab wound of right neck’.

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.

Sections 219 and 220, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death

219 (1) Every one is criminally negligent who
(a) in doing anything, or
(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

(2) For the purposes of this section, duty means a duty imposed by law.

220 Every person who by criminal negligence causes death to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and
(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.

Analysis and Director's Decision

The Complainant passed away on January 23, 2021, of a self-inflicted knife wound. As he was engaged with SSMPS police officers at the time of the injury, the SIU was notified and initiated an investigation. One of the officers – the SO – was identified as the subject official. The investigation is now concluded. 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 death.

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 officers who engaged with the Complainant at 275 Albert Street East, including the SO, were lawfully placed at all times. Having received reports of a male refusing to leave private premises, they were within their rights in attending at the address to deal with a possible trespass. Once there and aware that the Complainant was in possession of a knife, in apparent violation of a probation order, the officers also had grounds to take the Complainant into custody.

The force used by the SO and other officers, namely, multiple CEW discharges, was legally justified. The officers had reason to be concerned that the Complainant constituted a threat to himself and others. In a previous and recent engagement with SSMPS officers, the Complainant had similarly armed himself with a knife and used it to cut himself. They were also aware that the Complainant was paranoid - in the course of his dialogue with the officers, he questioned whether they were actually police offices, mentioned that people were seeking to murder him, and explained that a piece of tinfoil on his head was meant to prevent others from intercepting his thoughts. And residents of the building had gathered in the lobby to see what was happening, some of whom were screamed at by the Complainant, increasingly causing the officers concern about the public’s safety. On this record, I am unable to fault the officers, reportedly acting on the instructions of WO #1, when they discharged their CEWs as the Complainant turned his back to them. Though the CEW discharges did not completely incapacitate the Complainant, who was able to lift his right hand with a knife in it and use it to inflict lethal injury, the use of the CEWs carried with it a reasonable prospect of neutralizing the Complainant from a safe distance.

Nor does there appear to have been any want of care on the part of the officers in the manner in which they comported themselves prior to the CEW discharges, such as might attract liability for criminal negligence causing death contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code. The offence is reserved for serious of cases of neglect that demonstrate a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. It is not made out, inter alia, unless the impugned conduct constitutes a marked and substantial departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. In the instant case, there is no indication that the officers ran afoul of the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. The evidence suggests that they spoke to the Complainant in reasonable terms, and tried to assist him with his travel plans for the evening. It is true that they quickly ascertained that the Complainant might be labouring under mental illness, raising the question as to why the service’s Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team [3] was not deployed. It seems that some of the officers gave thought to this contingency, but decided, reasonably in my view, that it was not a realistic option given the presence of a weapon in the Complainant’s possession.

In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO, or any of the other involved officers, committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s self-inflicted knife wound and death, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: May 25, 2022

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) The CEW times are derived from the internal clocks of the weapons, which are not necessarily synchronized between weapons or with actual time. [Back to text]
  • 2) 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]
  • 3) The Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team represents an effort on the part of the police service to deal more effectively with cases of persons in mental health crisis. It consists of a uniformed officer and mental health professional. [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.