SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OCI-191


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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 injury of a 16-year-old male (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On May 20, 2023, at 1:50 a.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) contacted the SIU with the following information.

On May 19, 2023, at approximately 10:15 p.m., PRP police officers arrested the Complainant near the scene of a break and enter at a residence in the area of McKenzie Park, Mississauga. The arrest, preceded by a foot pursuit, was executed after a struggle in which the Complainant received a bloody nose. The Complainant was taken to Trillium Health Centre-Credit Valley Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fractured nasal bone.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 05/20/2023 at 8:20 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 05/20/2023 at 10:30 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

16-year-old male; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on May 20, 2023.

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

CW #1 Not interviewed (next-of-kin)
CW #2 Not interviewed (next-of-kin)

Subject Official (SO)

SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right

Witness Officials (WO)

WO #1 Not interviewed; notes reviewed, and interview deemed not necessary
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed between May 26, 2023, and June 1, 2023.


The Scene 

The events in question transpired in McKenzie Park, 575 Mississauga Valley Boulevard, Mississauga.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [2]

Body-worn Camera (BWC) Footage – WO #1

On May 19, 2023, at 10:01 p.m., the video footage opened with a view of the interior of a police vehicle.  WO #1 reported that four men and one woman, wearing balaclavas and hoodies, had run from him when he entered the parking lot on his arrival at a break and enter.  

Starting at about 10:12 p.m., WO #1 broadcast that the suspects had entered a wooded park area.  

Starting at about 10:13 p.m., WO #1 exited his vehicle, ran across the grassy area of a park, and shouted, “Police, the dogs are coming, you will get bit.”  Two police vehicles, with their emergency lights and sirens activated, entered the park.  WO #1 rounded the edge of a tree lot.  Three police officers entered the woodlot, and there appeared to be two other police officers [now known to be WO #2 and the SO] on the ground in a kneeling position.  

Starting at about 10:13:40 p.m., WO #1 broadcast that one suspect was in custody and one suspect was still outstanding.

Starting at about 10:23 p.m., WO #3 was captured exiting his police vehicle in McKenzie Park and approaching the SO.  The SO reported that a male [now known to be the Complainant] had run from them.  The SO further reported that the Complainant was, “Reaching,” and he said, “We took him down pretty hard.” 

Communications Recordings

On May 19, 2023, at 9:52 p.m., a 911 caller reported that there were people at the caller’s house.  They had kicked down the door and it was believed they were inside.  The caller could hear footsteps downstairs by the backdoor and backyard.  When the caller looked out the window, three men and a woman were visible.  A description was provided. The caller did not see any weapons and stated the intruders did not seem intoxicated.
WO #1 broadcast that four men had run away from him in the parking lot.  They wore hoodies and jumped fences from a backyard, into the back of another residence.  

The PRP canine unit was dispatched and set up a perimeter.  

WO #1 advised that there were four men and a woman wearing black balaclavas, gloves, and hoodies covering their face.  WO #1 was at the rear of a residence on foot.  He had lost sight of the suspects, who were wearing hoodies, satchels, balaclavas, and gloves, and were last seen going west.  An unknown officer advised he had spoken to witnesses, and was advised the suspects were headed north hopping fences into a park.

WO #1 advised that two men had run into the forested area of McKenzie Park.  He provided a description of their clothing.  WO #2 and the SO advised they were at the south end of the park.  WO #3 requested that a perimeter be set up.  

WO #2 advised they had one person [now known to the Complainant] in custody.  A clothing description was provided for the outstanding suspect.  WO #2 advised they had a young offender for transport.

At 10:13 p.m., PRP communications called paramedics to attend for a person in custody with a dog bite.  

At 10:14 p.m., PRP called paramedics for an ambulance to attend at 180 Derry Road for a party with a possibly broken nose. 

Materials Obtained from Police Service 

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the PRP:
  • Incident Details Report;
  • Incident History;
  • Notes-WO #1;
  • Notes-WO #2;
  • Notes-WO #3;
  • PRP Directive - Incident Response;
  • PRP Directive - Criminal Investigations;
  • BWC footage;
  • Communications recording;
  • Photographs;
  • Person Details Report – the Complainant;
  • Occurrence Report;
  • Training Record – the SO; and
  • Undertaking and Notice to Parent.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained the following records from other sources:
  • Ambulance Call Reports from Peel Emergency Medical Services; and
  • The Complainant’s medical records from Trillium Health Partners-Credit Valley Hospital.

Incident Narrative

The evidence collected by the SIU, including interviews with the Complainant and a police officer involved in his arrest, gives rise to the following scenario. 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 May 19, 2023, police were dispatched to a break and enter in progress at an address in the area of McKenzie Park, Mississauga. A resident of the home had contacted police to report intruders in the home.

The Complainant and several acquaintances were in and around the home at the time. Some of their number had entered the residence and stolen a bottle of alcohol. At the sight of the arrival of police officers in the area, they fled from the scene.

The SO was on patrol and operating a cruiser with his partner, WO #2, in the passenger seat. They heard the call for service over their radio and learned that police were in foot pursuit of the suspects. The officers made their way to McKenzie Park a short distance from the site of the break and enter. There, they observed a person - the Complainant - walking away from a police officer at the north end of the park. The officers travelled across the park towards the Complainant, stopped and exited their cruiser, and confronted the him.

There ensued a physical engagement between the parties in which the Complainant, while on the ground, was punched several times to the head before being handcuffed.

The Complainant was transported to hospital following his arrest, and diagnosed with a broken nose.

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 PRP officers on May 19, 2023. One of the arresting officers – the SO – was identified as the subject official in the ensuing SIU investigation. 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 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 with a group of individuals who had broken into a home and then fled the scene upon the arrival of officers. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that the SO and WO #2 had grounds to seek his arrest when they located him in the park.

There is conflict in the evidence with respect to the force brought to bear by the officers in aid of the Complainant’s arrest. There is an account describing excessive force being used by an officer against the Complainant who was reportedly compliant during his arrest.

WO #2 provides an account describing the use of reasonable force by the police. According to WO #2, the Complainant, while prone on the ground, struggled against the officers’ efforts to wrestle his arms behind his back. He ignored repeated direction that he show his hands. Concerned that the Complainant had a weapon in the front pocket of his hooded sweater, WO #2 struck him three or four times with an open hand in the head. Moments later, the officers were able to handcuff the Complainant’s arms behind the back. The concern about a weapon, in my view, was not without foundation as the officer genuinely believed that the Complainant was implicated in a break and enter, and he had refused to show his hands when he had the chance to do so before going to ground. In the circumstances, WO #2 was within his rights, on his rendition of events, to want to quickly subdue a struggling Complainant with decisive force in order that he not have an opportunity to access a weapon. With respect to his partner, WO #2 says he was focused on his own situation and did not see the SO deliver any strikes to the Complainant.

On the aforementioned-record, I am unable to reasonably conclude that either of the officers acted without legal justification. In short, I am unable to accept with any confidence that the account detailing excessive force by an officer is any closer to the truth of what happened than that proffered by WO #2. As such, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: September 15, 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.