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SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-TVI-127

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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving police officers where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. The Unit’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

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.

Information Restrictions

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. 
Pursuant to section 21 of FIPPA (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this document. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • 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.


Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)

Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information 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.

Mandate Engaged

The Unit’s investigative jurisdiction is limited to those incidents where there is a serious injury (including sexual assault allegations) or death in cases involving the police.

“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 the injuries that a 34-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On June 2, 2020, at 6:30 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) contacted the SIU and relayed the following information.

On June 2, 2020, at about 3:55 p.m., the Subject Officer (SO) was operating a police motorcycle conducting traffic enforcement in the area of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Ontario Drive, Toronto. At this time, two civilian eastbound motorcycles passed him at a high rate of speed. The SO activated his emergency equipment and attempted to stop them. The SO discontinued his efforts at Lakeshore Boulevard West and Remembrance Drive, and stopped. The two motorcycle riders continued eastbound on Lakeshore Boulevard West. A few moments later, one of the motorcycle operators collided with a vehicle at Lakeshore Boulevard West and Lower Simcoe Street.

The motorcycle operator was transported to St. Michael’s Hospital where he was diagnosed as having suffered a fractured right wrist, a fractured left elbow and a chipped bone in his lower neck that would require surgery to treat.

The collision scene was being held by the police at the time of notification.

The Team

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2

Complainants

Complainant: 34-year-old male interviewed


Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed

Witness Officers

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


Subject Officers

SO Interviewed and notes reviewed


Evidence

The Scene

The collision occurred in the intersection of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Lower Simcoe Street, Toronto. The intersection was directly underneath the Gardiner Expressway. Lakeshore Boulevard West travelled predominately in an east/west direction with Lower Simcoe Street intersecting in a north/south direction. The eastbound section of Lakeshore Boulevard West consisted of two marked lanes with an additional lane marked for left turn onto Lower Simcoe Street to travel north. Lower Simcoe Street was marked having one lane for each direction and a left turn lane and additional bicycle lanes. Road pavement markings were clear and in good condition. The asphalt was dry and in good condition at the time of the collision. The intersection was controlled with pole mounted traffic signals that appeared in good operation at the time of the collision.

There were two involved vehicles: a black-coloured 2009 Yamaha R6C motorcycle, bearing an Ontario marker; and a grey-coloured 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan, bearing an Ontario marker.

The Yamaha motorcycle was oriented in a southerly direction and lying on its left side in the centre travelled lane of Lakeshore Boulevard West and the northbound lane of Lower Simcoe Street. There was extensive collision damage to the motorcycle. In the centre lane of Lakeshore Boulevard West, west of the intersection, was a tire mark believed made from the Yamaha motorcycle. This tire mark began west of the intersection and travelled east in the centre lane of Lakeshore Boulevard West for 47.4 metres.

The Volkswagen Tiguan was parked, unoccupied, near the north/east corner of the intersection. The Tiguan had been moved by the driver earlier to accommodate traffic flow.

The collision scene was secured by TPS police officers and examined by SIU Forensic Investigators. The collision scene and involved vehicles were photographed and forensically measured with a Total Station.

Scene Diagram

Scene diagram

Forensic Evidence


Investigation by SIU Forensic Investigators of the TPS motorcycle operated by the SO


SIU Forensic Investigators examined the TPS police motorcycle operated by the SO at the TPS Traffic Services station. The TPS police motorcycle operated by the SO was a 2014 Harley Davidson Electra Glide, bearing an Ontario marker. The police motorcycle was photographed and examined for collision damage by an SIU Forensic Investigator. It had no damage evident that could be attributed to this incident.

Global Positioning System (GPS) Analysis – TPS motorcycle operated by the SO


An analysis of the GPS [1] data for the TPS motorcycle operated by the SO, as supplied by the TPS, was conducted. The GPS coordinates were put into Google Earth Pro to depict the start and route of the motorcycle along Lakeshore Boulevard West, including the distance from the point of disengagement (turnaround) to the area of the collision at Lakeshore Boulevard West and Lower Simcoe Street.

The data were plotted on the x and y axis in Google Earth Pro to depict the route of the SO. The locations were plotted and from each location a time stamp was obtained, and distance measured between each point. An analysis to determine the velocity from the distance divided by the time was completed. A speed (averaged) between each point was calculated from the velocity calculated between each point.

The maximum average speed attained by the SO operating the TPS motorcycle was 101.6 km/h between points 7 and 8.

The average speed overall between points 3 and 9 was 70.2 km/h.

The calculated distance for the entire route from points 1 to 9 using Google Earth Pro was 0.8 kms. This is the total distance travelled from where the SO travelled eastbound from his original position operating the laser to the location he made the U-turn at Remembrance Drive to travel back to his start point to continue radar enforcement.

The calculated distance from point 9, where the SO disengaged and made the U-turn, to the collision scene at Lakeshore Boulevard West and Lower Simcoe Street, was 2.4 kms.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence

The SIU canvassed the area for any video or audio recordings, and photographic evidence, and was able to locate the following:
  • Closed-circuit television (CCTV) from an address on Queens Quay.


CCTV from an identified address on Queens Quay


The following is a summary of the video footage captured from an address on Queens Quay:
  • The video footage examined was from a camera mounted on the wall of the address on Queens Quay showing a viewing area from the east side of the building running parallel to Lower Simcoe Street on the west side of the roadway in a northbound direction towards the intersection of Lower Simcoe Street and Lakeshore Boulevard West under the Gardiner Expressway;
  • The distance from this camera to the intersection using Google Earth Pro [2] was approximately 75 metres;
  • The time stamp on the supplied video was inaccurate by 38 minutes (behind real time). The footage was 7 minutes and 23 seconds in duration; and
  • At 3:55:20 p.m.(actual time), a motorcycle travelling eastbound on Lakeshore Boulevard West entered the intersection and collided with the left side of a Volkswagen Tiguan travelling northbound on Lower Simcoe Street.

Communications Recordings


Communication Recordings (TPS and Toronto Ambulance)


The following is a summary of the pertinent recordings leading up to the collision:
  • On June 2, 2020, the SO was operating a TPS police motorcycle with a known call sign;
  • The SO was heard loudly over the police radio broadcasting a licence plate number to the TPS dispatcher and indicated that the vehicle had failed to stop;
  • He repeated the licence plate number of the motorcycle that failed to stop and gave a last known direction of travel for this motorcycle as eastbound on Lakeshore Boulevard West, further indicating that it went through a red light at a very high rate of speed and that he was not in pursuit;
  • The SO gave a description of the operator of this motorcycle and said there were two motorcycles involved: one black in colour and the other, red or white in colour;
  • The SO told the TPS dispatcher to put him back on enforcement in one district;
  • A short time later, the TPS dispatcher told the SO over the police radio that there was an injury collision at the intersection of Lower Simcoe Street and Lakeshore Boulevard West involving a motorcycle and that it might involve the motorcycles the SO had been attempting to stop earlier;
  • The SO said that it was probably them and that he had not gone past Remembrance Drive; and
  • The SO said he was able to attend the collision scene to possibly identify the operator(s) of the motorcycles.


Woman Calls into TPS and Toronto Paramedic Services (911 Call)


A woman [3] called into TPS and was transferred shortly after to Toronto Paramedic Services:
  • The woman told the Toronto ambulance dispatcher that two motorcycles ran a red traffic signal at the intersection of Lakeshore Blvd West and Lower Simcoe Street;
  • One of the motorcycles struck the side of a car in the intersection; and
  • The operator of the motorcycle was conscious and moving.


Man Calls into TPS and Toronto Paramedic Services (911 Call)


A man [4] called into the Toronto Ambulance Dispatcher:
  • The man told the Toronto ambulance dispatcher there was a serious injury collision involving a motorcycle that struck a vehicle and that a second motorcycle took off from the intersection and collision scene.


Woman Calls into TPS and Toronto Ambulance (911 Call)


A woman [5] called in to report the collision indicating the location and that the motorcycle operator was conscious and moving.


Off-duty TPS Police Officer Calls into TPS and Toronto Ambulance (911 Call)


An off-duty TPS police officer, [6] who identified himself with a badge number, called into TPS and was transferred to Toronto Ambulance dispatcher:
  • The off-duty police officer said he was sitting on his terrace at an address on Queens Quay West and witnessed an injury collision involving a motorcycle and another vehicle in the intersection of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Lower Simcoe Street; and
  • The motorcycle ran into the side of the other vehicle.

Materials obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the TPS:
  • Computer-Assisted Dispatch (CAD) Event – Stop;
  • Communication and Dispatch Recordings – TPS;
  • Communication and Dispatch Recordings – Toronto Paramedic Services;
  • CAD Event – Collision;
  • Email from TPS-List of Civilian Witnesses;
  • Email from TPS-List of Involved Officers;
  • Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Report;
  • GPS data analysis – TPS motorcycle operated by the SO;
  • Notes – all WOs;
  • Notes – the SO;
  • A file containing GPS data from the vehicle that the SO drove during the incident;
  • General Occurrence Report; and
  • TPS scene photos.

Materials obtained from Other Sources

In addition to the materials received from the TPS, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials from other sources:
  • CCTV footage from an address on Queens Quay.

Incident Narrative

The material events in question are clear on the weight of the evidence collected by the SIU, which included statements from the Complainant, the SO, and several witness officers. The investigation further benefitted from a video recording that captured part of the incident and GPS data associated with the movement of the SO’s vehicle. In the afternoon of June 2, 2020, the SO was conducting speed enforcement for eastbound traffic on Lakeshore Boulevard West. From a stationary position on his motorcycle in the area of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Ontario Street, the SO first heard and then observed a pair of motorcyclists speeding toward him on Lakeshore Boulevard West. With the use of a laser device, the SO clocked one of the motorcyclists – the Complainant – travelling at 104 km/h. The speed limit on the roadway was 60 km/h.

As the Complainant and his associate slowed to about 60 km/h as they neared and passed the SO, the officer maneuvered his motorcycle onto the roadway and travelled east intending to stop the speeders. He activated his emergency lights, pulled alongside the Complainant, and signaled at him to pull over. The Complainant slowed abruptly, fell back of the SO and then accelerated past him. The other motorcyclist also sped away.

The SO decided against pursuing the vehicle. He deactivated his emergency lights and performed a U-turn in the area of Remembrance Drive to return to where he had initially been stationed.

The Complainant and his associate continued at speed on Lakeshore Boulevard West. Both riders disregarded a red light at the intersection of Lower Simcoe Street. The Complainant’s associate managed to swerve around a northbound SUV and continued east. The Complainant was not as fortunate. He braked ahead of the intersection but was unable to avoid colliding into the driver’s side rear door of the SUV.

Paramedics arrived at the intersection and tended to the Complainant. He would ultimately be diagnosed with fractures to both wrists and left elbow, as well as a bone chip in his neck. Hearing of the collision over the police radio, the SO drove to the intersection where he confirmed that the motorcyclist in question was the same person he had earlier tried to stop.



Relevant Legislation

Section 320.13, Criminal Code – Dangerous operation 

320.13 (1) Everyone commits an offence who operates a conveyance in a manner that, having regard to all of the circumstances, is dangerous to the public.


Analysis and Director's Decision

On June 2, 2020, the Complainant was seriously injured when the motorcycle he was operating crashed into an SUV at the intersection of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Lower Simcoe Street. Moments prior, the SO had attempted to stop the Complainant on Lakeshore Boulevard West. The SO was identified as the subject officer for purposes of the SIU investigation. 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 injuries.

The offence that arises for consideration is dangerous operation of a motor vehicle pursuant to section 320.13(1) of the Criminal Code. Liability for the crime is predicated, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked departure from a reasonable level of care in the circumstances. I am satisfied on the record compiled by the SIU that the SO did not transgress the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law during his brief engagement with the Complainant.

The SO was within his rights in attempting to stop the Complainant for speeding. He had clocked the Complainant well over the posted speed – 104 km/h in a 60 km/h zone. Thereafter, there is nothing to indicate any want of care on the part of the SO. As soon as the Complainant made it clear he was not prepared to stop for the SO and sped away, the SO decided, prudently in my view, that pursuing the Complainant was not worth the risk. While the SO did briefly reach an average speed upwards of 100 km/h as he accelerated to catch up with the motorcyclists, there is no indication that any motorists in the vicinity were placed at undue risk by the officer. Finally, it is worth noting that the roadways were dry and the weather was clear. On this record, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the SO conducted himself other than professionally and with due regard for the safety of the roadway users, including the Complainant and his associate.

Regrettably, the Complainant continued at speed an additional two kilometres eastward on Lakeshore Boulevard West after the SO had stopped following him, entered the intersection with Lower Simcoe Street against a red light and caused a serious collision. Be that as it may, I am satisfied that the SO – in the course of a brief engagement with the Complainant of under one kilometre – did not cause or contribute to the Complainant’s reckless driving

and the resultant collision in any fashion that attracts criminal sanction. Accordingly, there is no basis for criminal charges in this case and the file is closed.


Date: September 14, 2020

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Director
Special Investigations Unit

Endnotes

  • 1) GPS, originally NAVSTAR GPS, is a satellite-based radio navigation system that provides geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. [Back to text]
  • 2) Google Earth Pro is a geospatial software application that displays a virtual globe, which offers the ability to analyze and capture geographical data. [Back to text]
  • 3) The woman was not interviewed as she only saw the collision when she was walking near the intersection as a pedestrian. She had no evidentiary value to add in this investigation regarding the interaction between the SO and the Complainant. [Back to text]
  • 4) The man was not interviewed. He only came upon the collision and did not provide any pertinent details to the dispatcher when he called in. He had no evidentiary value to add in this investigation regarding the interaction between the SO and the Complainant. [Back to text]
  • 5) The woman only called in to report the collision had occurred and gave no further information. She was not interviewed because she had no evidentiary value to add in this investigation regarding the interaction between the SO and the Complainant. [Back to text]
  • 6) Not interviewed as he only called in to report the collision and was sitting on his terrace a distance away and did not attend the collision scene or speak with anyone. He had no evidentiary value to add in this investigation regarding the interaction between the SO and the Complainant. [Back to text]