SIU Director’s Report - Case # 18-TCI-271
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (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 whose release could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
- Subject Officer name(s);
- Witness Officer name(s);
- Civilian Witness name(s);
- 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.
Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may have also 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.
“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into a serious injury sustained by a 34-year-old female during her arrest by Toronto Police Service (TPS) officers on September 11, 2018.
Notification of the SIUOn September 11, 2018, at 5:30 a.m., the TPS contacted the SIU and stated that on that day, at about 2:45 a.m., two uniform police officers came upon what they believed was a street level drug deal. The police officers approached a male and female [now known to be the Complainant], and after a brief investigation determined there were no drugs involved.
The police officers determined that the Complainant was intoxicated and as a result of her being assaultive towards street people in the area, decided to arrest the Complainant for being intoxicated in a public place.
The Complainant was placed in the rear of the police cruiser and while being transported to the police station began banging her head and kicking at the cage area.  The police officers decided to further restrain the Complainant and stopped in the area of Dundas Street and Milan Street, in Toronto. The officers intended to place leg shackles on the Complainant and removed her from the cruiser. In the process, the Complainant fell to the ground striking her left elbow. The Complainant complained about pain to her arm and she was transported to St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH) where she was diagnosed with a fractured left arm. The Complainant was admitted to SMH as the injury would require surgery to repair.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
34-year-old female interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
Subject OfficersSO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right
Communications RecordingsThe communications audio was obtained and reviewed. On September 11, 2018, at
2:44:11 a.m., the SO’s and witness officer (WO) #1’s unit advised dispatch that they were at Dundas Street East and Sherbourne Street relating to a complaint about a fight. Dispatch asked for units to respond.
In-Car Camera System (ICCS) Footage
The Complainant said repeatedly, “You broke my arm.”
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the TPS:
- CAD Event Details Report;
- Communications recordings;
- Event Details Report;
- General Occurrence Report;
- ICCS footage;
- Injury Report;
- Notes of WO #1 and WO #2.
Section 219 and Section 221, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing bodily harm
(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.
221 Every one who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years
Analysis and Director's Decision
The SIU’s investigation into this incident consisted of an interview with the Complainant and one witness officer. The notes of an additional WO and the police communications recordings were also reviewed. The in-car-camera system (ICCS) footage from the SO and WO #1’s vehicle captured the moment when the Complainant was injured and the material circumstances are accordingly clear.
The SO and WO #1 were driving a police vehicle near the area of the All Saints Church at Sherbourne and Carlton Street in Toronto when WO #1 noticed the Complainant, who was well dressed, in an area frequented by homeless people and drug abusers. They drove to her location and asked her if she was okay. She said she was fine and did not need their help. The officers drove a small distance north on Sherbourne Street to attend to a different matter.
A few minutes later, the Complainant became involved in an altercation. WO #1 remembered hearing people screaming which caused the officers to return to the Complainant’s location. According to the police communications recordings the officers returned to the area at 2:44 a.m. to check on a fight. WO #1 noted that the Complainant appeared to be intoxicated. Her speech was slurred, eyes bloodshot and clothing disheveled. Her “adrenaline was pumped up” and she appeared to have been one of the combatants in the fight.
The officers initially tried to arrange for a taxi to take the Complainant home, but the Complainant punched at an unknown man in front of the officers. WO #1 felt he could not send the Complainant home in a taxi due to her level of intoxication and her use of violence, and she was arrested for being intoxicated in a public place contrary to the Liquor License Act. 
It is alleged by the Complainant that her arm was broken when her arms were roughly pulled behind her back to be handcuffed. WO #1 confirmed that the Complainant was leaned against the police vehicle and her hands were handcuffed behind her back, but stated that the Complainant did not physically resist (although she was yelling). He said no undue force was used to apply the handcuffs.
The remainder of the Complainant’s interaction with the police officers was captured on the ICCS in the police vehicle. The ICCS footage began after the Complainant was handcuffed and captured her standing in front of the police vehicle with her arms handcuffed behind her back. Two police officers stood next to her and held her arms. The officers and the Complainant talked to each other but there was no audio. The police officers did not appear aggressive and the Complainant was not physically resisting the officers. At 2:56 a.m., the Complainant was placed into the right rear passenger seat of the police vehicle. Once in the vehicle, the Complainant repeatedly requested that she be taken to the hospital. She made choking noises and said she was throwing up because she was afraid. The Complainant became increasingly agitated. She appeared to throw up and threatened to commit suicide, blaming the officers. She tried to open the door to the vehicle, then leaned back and kicked towards the partition between the front and back seat of the vehicle with her foot. She appeared to use her foot to press against the partition.
WO #1 reported that at this moment the officers decided to apply leg shackles to the Complainant to prevent her from kicking out a window and causing potential harm to herself.
The Complainant was subsequently taken to SMH where she was diagnosed with a fracture to her left arm.
On this evidence, it is clear that the Complainant’s injury was not caused when she was handcuffed but was instead most likely the result of her falling and striking the curb. The Complainant’s recollection of the night was poor and I do not believe her memory is reliable given her level of intoxication. I am therefore unable to find that she was roughly handled by the police officers without further evidence. Moreover, the ICCS provides compelling evidence that the Complainant was injured when she fell. When she fell, her left side struck the curb which reasonably explains how her arm was likely fractured. After striking her arm, the Complainant immediately screamed in pain and repeatedly yelled that her arm was broken. Prior to this moment, the ICCS video demonstrates that the Complainant made no complaint of any pain or injury to her arm, despite being highly vocal about her displeasure over being arrested. The ICCS also demonstrates that there was no visible injury to the Complainant’s arm before the fall. I accordingly believe her injury was caused when she fell out of the police vehicle and not when she was handcuffed.
Date: February 25, 2019
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) A review of the in-car camera system footage demonstrates that the Complainant did not bang her head in the police cruiser, although she threatened to do so once she was at the police station. [Back to text]
- 2) The male who she punched did not want her to be charged with assault. [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.