SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-TFP-272


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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 discharge of a firearm by the police at a 45-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On October 20, 2022, at 11:15 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.

On October 20, 2022, at 9:45 p.m., TPS officers responded to a report of arson in an apartment building located on Mornelle Court, Scarborough. A male (the Complainant) was attempting to set fire to a residence. The Complainant would not comply with officers’ directions. A less-lethal shotgun projectile, known as a ‘sock’ round, [2] was discharged at the Complainant concurrent with the discharge of two conducted energy weapons (CEWs). The Complainant was arrested and transported to Scarborough Grace Hospital (SGH). The Complainant sustained a minor laceration of his arm from being struck by the less-lethal projectile.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 10/24/2022 at 9:10 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 10/24/2022 at 1:00 p.m.

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

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

45-year-old male; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on October 24, 2022.

Subject Official

SO Interviewed; notes received and reviewed

The subject official was interviewed on December 2, 2022.

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on November 8 and November 15, 2022.


The Scene

The events in question occurred by the doorway of an apartment on Mornelle Court, Scarborough.

Photographs of the scene yielded images of the door to the apartment that had been forced open and interior aspects of the apartment unit. The wooden door, although still on its hinges, appeared to be in disrepair. It had a temporary, blue-coloured metal bracket previously attached to the leading edge of the door where the door was indented and split. The leading edge of the door had similar, but unrepaired damage above the metal bracket. The latch-bolt was protruding from the latch mechanism. A CEW probe was photographed in situ lodged in the outer aspect of the apartment door to the left of the lock and latch mechanisms.

The oven door was open and the left front stove-top heating element was with white ashes and scorch marks near it. The right front stove-top heating element was with a scorched, misshapen pan with similar ashes and soot in it, and the right rear stove-top heating element was with a plastic item that appeared to have been heated to a point where the stove surface was also scorched. The in-wired, smoke detector in the Complainant’s apartment had been removed at some point prior to the incident. The kitchen ceiling paint was peeling due to intense heat rising above the stove.

A less-lethal ‘sock’ round was photographed in situ in the entrance area of the apartment. The extracted, post-discharge shotshell was photographed in situ in the apartment building corridor about a metre to the right of and diagonal to the apartment door as a viewer would see it while facing the exterior of the door.

A yellow and black knife with a retractable blade, commonly referred to as a ‘box-cutter’, and a bungee cord with a folding knife attached to it were photographed in situ in the apartment corridor near the door to the apartment.

Physical Evidence

The SIU forensic investigator collected three discharged CEW cartridge cases, a shotshell, and a less-lethal projectile.

Figure 1 - Less-lethal firearm

Figure 1 - Less-lethal firearm

Figure 2 - Projectile from less-lethal firearm

Figure 2 - Projectile from less-lethal firearm

Forensic Evidence

Data were also downloaded from the CEWs of WO #2 and WO #1.

Figure 3 - Witness Official’s CEW

Figure 3 - Witness Official’s CEW

WO #1’s CEW

On October 20, 2022, at 9:54:01 p.m., the trigger was activated. Cartridge number one was delivered, conducting energy for five seconds.

WO #2’s CEW

On October 20, 2022, at 9:57:55 p.m., the trigger was activated. Cartridge number one was delivered, conducting energy for five seconds. On October 20, 2022, at 9:58:00 p.m., the trigger was activated on the CEW a second time. Cartridge number two was delivered, conducting energy for five seconds.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [3]

Video Footage from Mornelle Court, Scarborough

There was no hallway video equipment on the floor and in the elevators.
The recordings from the apartment building lobby area were reviewed. None of the footage advanced the investigation of the incident in question.

TPS Communications Recordings

A 911 call was made at 9:39 p.m., indicating that someone smelled something burning in an apartment.

Fire and police services were dispatched to the address.

Further information was received that the Complainant had set fires the previous week, and that he might be armed and violent.

At 9:54 p.m., WO #1 reported the discharge of his CEW.

At 9:59 p.m., WO #2 reported, “One in custody,” that a CEW had been discharged, that a “less-lethal” weapon had been discharged, and that all was in order.

TPS Body-worn Camera (BWC) Footage

The TPS provide the SIU with the footage from the BWCs of WO #2, WO #5, WO #3, the SO and WO #1.

The footage from WO #5’s BWC captured the Complainant initially opening the door to an apartment in response to the presence of WO #5, SO and WO #1. The SO and WO #1 shouted, “Get on your knees!” and, “On your knees right now!” WO #1 was depicted discharging his CEW as the door to the apartment was being closed by the Complainant.

A short time later, a male police officer’s voice was heard asking, “Did he have anything in his hands?” A female voice [believed to be the SO) responded, “I didn’t see it – I didn’t get to see it.”

WO #5 was depicted holding a pry bar at the door.

Sounds were subsequently heard from inside the apartment, as though the Complainant was locking the door, followed by an unidentifiable male police voice exclaiming, “Fucker!” A firefighter offered to help WO #5, who was trying to pry open the door, saying, “Need some help?” There followed the sound of four kicks being delivered to the apartment unit door and a police officer shouting, “Open the door!” Two red lights from two CEWs illuminated on the door and, for the ensuing six seconds, WO #5, the SO and WO #1 were heard shouting, “Open the door!” and, “Toronto Police, open the door!”

About fourteen seconds later, when there was still no response from the Complainant, a male police officer shouted, “Open the door! If you don’t open the door, we have to break the door in!” This was followed by, “Undo the lock!”

WO #2 was captured arriving on scene. He was heard to say, “Okay, let’s stack on one side,” and, “Is he actually lighting fires in there?” WO #5 was heard responding, “Yeah you can smell it,” as was the SO, saying, “Yeah, you can smell smoke.” This was followed by inquires made by WO #2 asking the police officers if the Complainant “actually got a knife on him – he’s got a knife on him?” WO #5 replied, “Yes the fire department saw it.”

A short time later, WO #2 had the police officers configured in front of the door. WO #5 used the prying tool, and the door opened at the same time that at least one police officer shouted, “Toronto Police!” followed by the pop of WO #2’s CEW. Promptly thereafter, the sound of a less-lethal shotgun being discharged was heard. The police officers pushed the apartment door fully open and surged into the residence and onto the Complainant. By then, WO #5 had moved out of the way.

WO #4 was subsequently heard saying, “This is the knife right here.” The Complainant retorted, “It’s not a knife.” He subsequently added, “It’s not a knife, it’s an X-Acto,” and, “I was doing a little cleaning and I was having a hotdog and you guys shot me.”

The footage from the other BWCs essentially captured the same information but from the respective standpoints of the different officers.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the TPS between October 21 and October 30, 2022:
  • 911 and communications audio recordings;
  • Affected Person’s History;
  • SO Incident Response Training 2022;
  • SO Less-lethal Shotgun Requalification;
  • BWC data;
  • Firearm Discharge Report;
  • General Occurrence Report;
  • Intergraph Computer-aided Dispatch;
  • Notes-WO #5;
  • Notes-SO;
  • Notes-WO #4;
  • Notes-WO #1;
  • Notes-WO #2;
  • Photographs;
  • Forensic Identification Service (FIS) scene and injury photographs;
  • Policy - Person in Custody;
  • Policy - Persons in Crisis;
  • Policy - Incident Response;
  • Policy - Less-lethal Shotguns;
  • Policy - Conducted Energy Weapons;
  • Involved Officers List; and
  • Witness List.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
  • The Complainant’s SGH and Emergency Medical Services records;
  • Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) communications recordings; and
  • TCHC surveillance video data.

Incident Narrative

The events in question are clear on the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with the Complainant and the SO, and video footage that captured the incident in parts.

In the evening of October 20, 2022, TPS officers were dispatched to an apartment building on Mornelle Court, Scarborough, following 911 calls from the building reporting a possible fire in a unit.

The SO, and WO #1 and WO #5, were the first officers on scene. Stepping off the elevator on the floor of the unit, they could smell an odour of something burning in the air. They also met with firefighters, who had been the first at the scene. According to the firefighters, the Complainant had opened his door to them with a knife on his person. The firefighters had decided to withdraw pending the arrival of the police officers until they could be assured the Complainant did not pose a threat.

The Complainant opened the door to the police officers on hearing them knock, but only partially. He refused to drop to his knees, as directed by the officers, and attempted to close the door on the officers as WO #1 fired his CEW at him. The CEW probes did not find their target.

The three officers were shortly joined by three other TPS officers responding to the scene, including WO #2. The sergeant (WO # 2) authorized a plan to force entry into the unit. With the use of a prying tool, WO #5 breached the door to the apartment. WO #2, his CEW at the ready, pushed open the door and confronted the Complainant a short distance into the unit. The Complainant was holding a box-cutter knife in his left hand. The officer fired his CEW once at the Complainant without any apparent effect. He proceeded to discharge his CEW a second time at about the same time as the SO, armed with a less-lethal shotgun, fired her weapon. The sock-round struck the Complainant in the right forearm. Officers rushed into the unit, pushed the Complainant onto the floor, and handcuffed him.

The Complainant had sustained a superficial, soft tissue abrasion of his right forearm.

Multiple knives were recovered from the Complainant’s person in a search following his arrest.

There were no ongoing fires in the Complainant’s apartment.

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 October 20, 2022, the TPS contacted the SIU to report that one of their officers had earlier that day fired a less-lethal firearm at a male – the Complainant. The SIU initiated an investigation, naming the SO 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 discharge of her firearm.

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.

I am satisfied that the Complainant was subject to lawful arrest for arson at the time the SO fired her less-lethal shotgun. The officers were aware via the 911 call that the Complainant was suspected of setting fires in his apartment. Once at the scene, that awareness would have been amplified by the smell of something burning coming from the Complainant’s apartment.

I am also satisfied that the force brought to bear by the SO was legally justified. Given the urgency to enter the apartment to prevent any fire from spreading, I am unable to fault the SO for firing her less-lethal shotgun once at the Complainant. As the door was forced open, the officer had seen WO #2 fire his CEW, to no effect, and an object in the Complainant’s left hand. That object, as the SO suspected, was in fact a knife, albeit a box-cutter knife in the closed position. It was imperative in the moment that the Complainant be temporarily incapacitated from a distance in the interest of everyone’s safety. The less-lethal shotgun performed as it was designed, namely, to distract someone long enough to allow for their apprehension without inflicting serious injury. [4]

In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the SO comported herself other than lawfully throughout her engagement with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: February 17, 2023

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) The information in this section reflects the information received by the SIU at the time of notification and does not necessarily reflect the SIU’s finding of facts following its investigation. [Back to text]
  • 2) A fabric, non-penetrating projectile pouch filled with steel balls enclosed in a shotshell designed to temporarily incapacitate an individual. [Back to text]
  • 3) 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]
  • 4) Though not the focus of the SIU investigation, it would appear that the CEW discharges in this case by WO #1 and WO #2 were also legally justified for substantially the same reasons. [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.