SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-TCI-316


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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 section 14 (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 serious injuries of a 45-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On December 13, 2022, at about 6:37 a.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.

On December 12, 2022, TPS officers were executing a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) search warrant in the area of Wilson Avenue and Jane Street, Toronto. At 5:16 p.m., the Complainant was observed in a vehicle. Police officers attempted to remove him from the vehicle while he was wearing a seatbelt. The Complainant sustained neck injuries, and was taken to hospital and admitted for further assessment. The extent of his injuries was unknown at the time of notification.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 12/13/2022 at 9:05 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 12/13/2022 at 9:58 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

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

The Complainant was interviewed on December 15, 2022.

Subject Officials

SO #1 Interviewed; notes received and reviewed
SO #2 Interviewed; notes received and reviewed

The subject officials were interviewed on February 16, 2023.

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Not interviewed; notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on February 2, 2023.


The Scene

The events in question transpired in and around a vehicle – a Hyundai Santa Fe – stopped in the parking area of a school in the area of Wilson Avenue and Jane Street, Toronto.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [2]

Police Radio Communications

The SIU was provided the pertinent communications recordings from the TPS on January 25, 2023.

At 5:16:06 p.m., December 12, 2022, the recordings captured an unidentified police officer broadcast via radio that the Complainant was in custody.

At 5:29:07 p.m., WO #1 advised they were en route to the station with the Complainant, a 45-year-old male. SO #1 drove a police vehicle while WO #1 occupied the front passenger seat.

At 5:42:53 p.m., WO #1 and SO #1 arrived at 31 Division, 40 Norfinch Drive, Toronto.

At 6:12:38 p.m., WO #1 and SO #1 attended Humber River Hospital (HRH), 1235 Wilson Avenue, Toronto. The Complainant was transported for further examination.

Body-worn Camera (BWC) Footage

The SIU was provided the pertinent BWC recordings from the TPS on January 25, 2023.

WO #1

At 5:15:41 p.m., the BWC recording commenced. The Complainant was captured face down on the pavement. He wore a black coat. WO #1 and other police officers handcuffed the Complainant behind his body.

At 5:15:55 p.m., the Complainant briefly lifted his head up from the pavement. At that time, his broken eyeglasses were observed on the yellow line beside an orange pylon.

At 5:16:11 p.m., the BWC audio came on. The Complainant was advised he was being recorded. SO #2 told the Complainant he was under arrest for ‘possession for the purpose of trafficking a schedule I substance’.

WO #1 and SO #1 brought the Complainant to his feet and walked him to the 2019 white Hyundai Santa Fe. The driver’s side seatbelt was stuck outside of the door. The police officers removed the Complainant’s right hand from the handcuffs and slid his satchel down and off his right arm. The Complainant’s right hand was handcuffed behind his body.

At 5:19:19 p.m., SO #2 directed SO #1 and WO #1 to escort the Complainant to the police vehicle.

At 5:21:22 p.m., the Complainant said, “I’m 45, you guys slammed me on the ground. I can’t see, my eye is, is swelling.”

The Complainant was seated in the back of the police vehicle.

At 5:25:27 p.m., the BWC recording ended.

Officer #1

At 5:15:41 p.m., the BWC recording commenced. SO #2 was captured pointing at a plastic bag with white powder in it located on the ground beside the Complainant. He asked for a police officer to secure it. Officer #1 picked up the plastic bag off the ground and placed the plastic bag in an evidence bag.

At 5:24:54 p.m., the BWC recording ended.


The footage from the other body-worn cameras essentially captured the same imagery, but from different perspectives.

In-car Camera System (ICCS) Footage

The ICCS footage captured the Complainant and the police officers standing outside the police vehicle.

At 31 seconds into the recording, the ICCS audio came on.

At one minute and 38 seconds, the Complainant sat in the back seat of police vehicle. He was handcuffed behind his body. The Complainant stated his right wrist was seized as he could not turn it. He claimed it had turned blue.

At six minutes and 13 seconds, the Complainant told SO #1 his face was scraped up when he was grounded.

At eight minutes and eight seconds, the police vehicle started to move. SO #1 drove while WO #1 occupied the front passenger seat.

At 12 minutes and 46 seconds, the Complainant said he needed his asthma inhaler.

At 14 minutes and 25 seconds, the Complainant stated he was about to vomit. SO #1 directed him to take deep breaths in through his nose and out through his mouth. The Complainant stated he could not get a breath because of his asthma. Subsequently, the Complainant requested to attend the hospital to get an asthma inhaler. SO #1 told the Complainant he would receive medical attention upon arrival at 31 Division. The Complainant told SO #1 and WO #1 the seatbelt was still on his arm when he was first arrested.

At 20 minutes and 24 seconds, the Complainant leaned over and made sounds like he was about to vomit. The police vehicle stopped, and SO #1 and WO #1 opened both back doors. SO #1 pulled the Complainant towards the driver’s side so he could get some fresh air. The Complainant said he was okay. The Complainant asked about the removal of his handcuffs, and SO #1 advised they were two minutes away from 31 Division, and then closed the door. The Complainant advised he used his asthma inhaler when short of breath.

At 22 minutes and six seconds, SO #1 and WO #1 arrived at 31 Division with the Complainant. The Complainant said, “My face is fucked.” SO #1 opened the back driver’s side door and asked the Complainant if it helped his breathing if the door was open. The Complainant said it did, but it was too cold. SO #1 closed the door. SO #1 drove the police vehicle into the sally port. SO #1 and WO #1 escorted the Complainant inside 31 Division.
At 50 minutes and 45 seconds, the Complainant was re-seated in the back seat of the police vehicle. He was handcuffed behind his body at that time. SO #1 and WO #1 exited the police vehicle from the sally port with the Complainant in the back seat.
At one hour, five minutes, and 58 seconds, SO #1 and WO #1 arrived at HRH with the Complainant.

At one hour, six minutes, and 51 seconds, the Complainant exited the police vehicle, and the door was closed.

The video recording ended at one hour, 48 minutes, and 51 seconds.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the TPS between January 25 and February 15, 2023:
  • Event Details Reports;
  • Involved Officer List;
  • Notes - SO #2;
  • Notes- SO #1;
  • Notes - WO #1;
  • Notes - WO #3;
  • Notes - WO #2;
  • Telewarrant to Search-a residence;
  • Telewarrant to Search-Hyundai;
  • General Occurrence Report;
  • BWC footage;
  • ICCS footage; and
  • Communications recordings.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
  • The Complainant’s medical records from HRH

Incident Narrative

The evidence collected by the SIU, including interviews with the Complainant and both subject officials, gives rise to the following scenario.

In the afternoon of December 12, 2022, the Complainant drove east on Wilson Avenue in his Hyundai Santa Fe, turning right to travel south a short distance to a school. As the Complainant turned into the school parking lot, his vehicle was forced to a stop by police vehicles that had maneuvered directly in front of, and behind, his Santa Fe.

The vehicle in front of the Santa Fe was an unmarked cruiser being operated by SO #2. The vehicle behind was a marked cruiser with SO #1 in the driver’s seat and WO #1 in the front passenger seat. The officers were part of a police operation that day that had targeted the Complainant’s home and vehicle for the execution of a drug warrant.
SO #2 and SO #1 ran to the driver’s door of the Santa Fe and ordered the Complainant out of the vehicle. SO #1 opened the driver’s door, and he and SO #2 took hold of the Complainant and forced him outside. The officers thereafter attempted to ground the Complainant but experienced difficulty – the Complainant still had his seat belt on and it had become wrapped around his body. SO #1 eventually removed the belt from the Complainant, after which he was forced to the ground in a prone position and handcuffed behind the back.

The Complainant was transported to the police station and then to hospital where he was diagnosed with an acute cervical epidural hematoma.

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

The Complainant was seriously injured in the course of his arrest by TPS officers in Toronto on December 12, 2022. Two of those officers – SO #2 and SO #1 – were identified as the subject officials in the ensuing SIU investigation. The investigation is now concluded. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either subject official committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s arrest and injury.

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 was the named target of search warrants that had been issued in respect of a drug investigation. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that the officers had the requisite reasonable grounds to believe that the Complainant had committed drug offences and was, therefore, subject to lawful arrest.

With respect to the force used by SO #2 and SO #1 in aid of the Complainant’s arrest, namely, a forced extrication from the vehicle followed by a takedown, I am unable to reasonably conclude that it was excessive. The officers had reason to believe that the Complainant might be armed with a firearm – they had information that he had previously been charged with firearms offences. On this record, SO #2 and SO #1 were within their rights in seeking to remove the Complainant from his vehicle and to place him in a position of disadvantage as soon as possible to mitigate the risk of any weapon being brought to bear.

There is some evidence an officer placed a foot on the Complainant’s face after he was taken to the ground, causing his glasses to break. That evidence, however, is contested by the body of evidence proffered by the police officers involved in the incident and falls short of giving rise to a reasonable and probable case that the Complainant was assaulted.

In the result, while I accept that the Complainant’s injury was the result of his interaction with the subject officials – whether the takedown or the forced extraction from the vehicle in which he found himself accidentally entangled in his seatbelt – there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either subject official comported himself other than within the limits of the criminal law throughout the arrest process. As such, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges. The file is closed.

Date: April 12, 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) 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]


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.