SIU Concludes Toronto Firearm Injury Investigation
Case Number: 13-TFI-106
Other News Releases Related to Case 13-TFI-106
Mississauga (5 July, 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 (TPS) officer with a criminal offence in relation to the shooting injury sustained by a 23-year-old man in April of 2013.
The SIU assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, seven witness officers and seven civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer consented to an interview with the SIU and provided a copy of his duty notes.
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, April 24 and Thursday, April 25:
• The subject officer was a member of the Emergency Task Force (ETF) and assigned to assist in the execution of a Criminal Code search warrant at a basement apartment of a Wainfleet Road residence on April 24, 2013. One of the occupants was suspected of possessing a firearm that had been used in a criminal offence.
• The nine-member team arrived at the residence shortly before midnight. It was decided they would try a ‘breach and hold’ strategy, meaning the door to the basement would be broken open and the team would stay outside while calling on the apartment’s occupants to exit. The subject officer was armed with an MP5 submachine gun and was wearing full tactical uniform. The weapon was attached to his person by a sling that hangs in front of his body. The rifle has a safety toggle switch on its side that has three positions: ‘off’; ‘semi-automatic’ meaning one round discharges with each trigger pull; and ‘fully-automatic’ meaning multiple rounds discharge with a single trigger pull.
• The door was breached with a battering ram and several occupants left the basement after being called out. The team then entered the basement apartment and removed four other individuals. One of the team members reported that there was a male in a room at the back of the residence who was apparently asleep on a couch and not responding to the officers’ commands. One of the team members approached the man and placed a tactical shield on his chest in an attempt to hold him in place. The subject officer also approached the man, and said he placed the safety toggle switch in the ‘off’ position, as it had been in the ‘semi-automatic’ setting. The man opened his eyes, turned so that he was in a seated position and began to swing his feet and arms at the officers who were close to him. The subject officer released the MP5 machine gun from his hands so that it was dangling in front of his chest area on the sling and removed his Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) from its holster. He deployed his CEW twice with the prongs striking the man in his legs. Two other officers also deployed their CEWs. The man continued to resist and grabbed the subject officer’s MP5 with both hands. The officer yelled at him to let go of his weapon. At that point, the weapon discharged, with a projectile striking the complainant in the left ankle. The subject officer was then struck with enough force that he fell backward. By the time he righted himself, the complainant had been subdued and handcuffed by other members of the ETF.
• The man was transported to Scarborough General Hospital where his wound was bandaged.
The subject officer’s weapon was sent to the Centre of Forensic Sciences for examination. There, it was determined that the complainant’s blood was found on the flashlight attached to the machine gun.
Director Scott said, “The subject officer was a member of the ETF who was acting on the authority of a valid Criminal Code search warrant, and as a result had the lawful authority to enter the apartment in question for the purpose of executing the warrant. The involved officers also had the authority to temporarily detain its occupants to secure the room for the purpose of searching for firearms. In this case, the complainant put up a significant amount of resistance when he was woken up. I am of the view that the complainant likely caused the gun to accidentally discharge when he grabbed it in an attempt to fend off the officers. It is clear that there was contact between the complainant and the firearm based upon the CFS blood analysis. On this basis, the complainant’s firearm injury was probably the result of an accidental discharge caused by himself, and not by the subject officer. Therefore, the subject officer cannot be held criminally liable for this firearm injury to the complainant.”
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
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342