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News Release

SIU Concludes Injury Investigation in Toronto

Case Number: 13-TCI-118

Mississauga (11 June, 2013) --- 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 a criminal offence in relation to the injury sustained by 22-year-old Dylan Deziel last month.

The SIU assigned two investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, two witness officers and three civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer provided his duty notes and a statement to the SIU.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Thursday, May 2, 2013:
• In the early afternoon hours, the subject officer and his partner were on bicycle patrol in uniform at Bellevue Square Park. They were familiar with the city parks by-laws because they had been specifically detailed to enforce them.
• The officers were involved in arresting another individual in an unrelated matter when the subject officer’s attention was drawn to Mr. Deziel who was climbing up a tree near the playground area. It is a municipal offence under the Toronto Municipal Code to climb a tree on city property without a permit. The officer rode his bicycle over to the tree and ordered Mr. Deziel to come down, and informed him that being in the tree was a prohibited activity. Mr. Deziel argued with the officer, first questioning whether he was a police officer and then complaining about the existence of a law prohibiting climbing a tree in the park. The subject officer reiterated that he had to come down from the tree and decided to arrest Mr. Deziel for failing to leave the premises when directed and engaging in a prohibited activity, contrary to the Trespass to Property Act
• After several minutes, Mr. Deziel descended from the tree. The officer thought Mr. Deziel was about to flee as he landed on the ground, and attempted to grab his arm. Mr. Deziel pulled backward and told the subject officer to “back off”.  The versions of events after this point diverge. On the one hand, Mr. Deziel said that he was thrown face first onto the ground.  On the other hand, the subject officer said he used his leg to cause him to fall on his back on the ground in the process of arresting him.
• Mr. Deziel was helped to his feet and briefly handcuffed. 
• Later that day, Mr. Deziel went to Toronto Western General Hospital where he was diagnosed as sustaining a fractured left collarbone.

Director Scott said, “I would like to first address the lawfulness of this arrest. The subject officer had the delegated authority to enforce breaches of the Trespass to Property Act as an agent of the City of Toronto. Here, the complainant was climbing a tree on city property. The subject officer gave him notice that he was engaging in a prohibited act when he told him that it was illegal to be in a tree and to climb down. Accordingly, I am of the view that the subject officer had both the lawful authority and reasonable grounds to arrest Mr. Deziel for engaging in this prohibited activity under the Trespass to Property Act.

“The subject officer initially arrested Mr. Deziel under the Trespass to Property Act, but ultimately charged Mr. Deziel solely with the municipal by-law offence of climbing a tree on city property. The fact that the subject officer did not ultimately charge Mr. Deziel for an offence under the Trespass to Property Act does not affect his lawful authority to make the arrest.” 

Director Scott continued, “During the arrest, Mr. Deziel put up some form of resistance that led to his being taken to the ground. While there is dispute about how he landed, I am of the view that he probably fractured his clavicle in the grounding process. However, there is no suggestion that the subject officer directly struck the complainant in the left shoulder area. Pursuant to s. 146 of the Provincial Offences Act, the subject officer had the right to use as much force as necessary to do what he was authorized to do and, as mentioned, I am of the view that he had the lawful authority to arrest Mr. Deziel. In the circumstances, I cannot conclude that the force used was excessive given that Mr. Deziel did resist.”

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342