News Release

SIU Concludes Toronto Custody Injury Investigation

Case Number: 12-TCI-094   

Other News Releases Related to Case 12-TCI-094

SIU Investigates Custody Injuries in Toronto

Mississauga (3 July, 2012) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Toronto Police Service officer with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by 37-year-old Angela Turvey in March of 2012.

Upon learning of the incident through media reports, the SIU immediately launched an investigation and assigned three investigators and one forensic investigator to the case.  The subject officer participated in an SIU interview and provided a copy of his duty notes.  Six witness officers and fourteen civilian witnesses were interviewed.  Investigators obtained CCTV video footage which depicted many of the material events surrounding the confrontation between the subject officer and Ms. Turvey. There were other videos taken of this incident but they do not show the incident with the particularity of the CCTV video. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Friday, March 30:
• In the afternoon hours, the subject officer and his partner were detailed to remove Occupy Toronto protestors who had set up camp beside the court house located at 361 University Avenue.  The protestors had previously been served with notice under the Trespass to Property Act. 
• The two officers arrested one of the protestors for causing a disturbance and walked him towards the rotunda located just south of the University Avenue courthouse.
• Several protestors, including Ms. Turvey, began to follow the officers.  Ms. Turvey was filming the interaction with a video camera.  She began arguing with one of the officers about their right to seize a bag apparently owned by the man they had arrested.  On the CCTV video, she can be seen filming and getting extremely close to the officers.  She was told to step away and not to come so close to the officers.  Ms. Turvey refused to step back, and the subject officer moved toward her in an attempt to arrest her for interfering in an arrest.  Ms. Turvey began to struggle and the video shows her swinging her arms twice at the officers.  Ms. Turvey said she was punched in the face, and the subject officer said he punched her after she punched at him. After about a thirty second struggle, the officers took her to the ground.  The struggle continued on the ground for approximately another two minutes before the officers finally handcuffed her arms behind her back. 
• After her arrest, she was transported to Toronto General Hospital by ambulance. Ms. Turvey sustained a minimally displaced fracture of the nasal bone, bruising around the eyes and a cut above her right eye which required seven sutures.

Director Scott said, “In my view, the subject officer had the lawful authority to arrest Ms. Turvey for obstructing the police who were engaged in the lawful execution of their duties; he and his partner were lawfully attempting to arrest another protestor when Ms. Turvey began interfering in that arrest.  To be clear, the fact that she was videotaping the arrest was not the issue; it was her very close proximity to the officers and her refusal to back away from the arrest of another protestor that in my view gave the subject officer the lawful grounds to arrest her.  Ms. Turvey, as evidenced on the CCTV video footage, was visibly resistant during the arrest process. I am satisfied that she received her injuries as a result of either being punched in the face by the subject officer or by her head impacting upon the ground during the arrest process.  However, given that the subject officer had both the lawful authority to arrest Ms. Turvey and to use reasonable force to effect that arrest, it is unclear whether the force used was excessive when the level of Ms. Turvey’s resistance is factored into this dynamic incident.   Accordingly, I cannot form reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer committed a criminal offence.”

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
  • publicly report the results of its investigations
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES