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News Release

Criminal Charges Not Warranted for Incident in which a Toronto Police Officer Drove over Woman’s Feet

Case Number: 15-TVI-230

Mississauga, ON (29 August, 2016) ---
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit has found that criminal charges are not warranted in an incident where a Toronto Police cruiser struck a woman, fracturing both her ankles.  

Three investigators and one forensic investigator were assigned to this incident.

The SIU interviewed the injured woman, a civilian witness, three witness officers, and the subject officer.  The subject officer did not provide a copy of his duty notes, as is his legal right.
 
The Unit’s investigation also included review and analysis of closed circuit television (CCTV) images from two nearby businesses, as well as a collision reconstruction and analyses of evidence collected at the scene.

The SIU investigation found the following:
  • Around 2:00 p.m. on October 2, 2015, a 57-year-old woman was walking south on the west side of Simcoe Street approaching Richmond Street West.  
  • The woman attempted to cross Richmond Street West at the intersection, which does not have a crosswalk.   
  • At the same time, a Toronto Police cruiser was travelling west along Richmond Street West, in the south curb lane.
  • The cruiser was slowing to a stop just past the intersection when the woman made contact with the front right side of the cruiser.
  • The woman suffered several fractures to both ankles.      
  

Acting Director Joseph Martino said, “The woman was jaywalking at the time and ought to have been paying greater attention to roadway traffic, but seems to have completely missed the presence of the cruiser travelling toward her in the south curb lane of Richmond Street West.  The evidence suggest her vision may have been obscured by a hood she was wearing at the time, all the more reason she should have been exercising more vigilance as she crossed the road.

“On the other hand, the subject officer must accept his share of the responsibility for the collision.  He had pulled onto Richmond Street West from University Avenue and was in the south curb lane intending to stop at a coffee shop at the southwest corner of the intersection when his vehicle collided with the woman.  As it does not appear the officer saw the woman until the point of contact, I am left to conclude that he was paying insufficient attention to the road as he approached the site of the collision.

“The offence that arises for consideration is dangerous driving contrary to section 249 of the Criminal Code.  Liability under the section is predicated on conduct that amounts to a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. Though I am satisfied the subject officer was not keeping a proper lookout on Richmond Street West as he neared Simcoe Street, there is no evidence to suggest the officer’s want of care was anything more than a momentary and singular indiscretion.  For example, it does not appear the officer had been operating his cruiser in a dangerous fashion prior to the collision.  In fact, the officer had slowed and had just about come to a stop when the collision occurred.  On this record, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the officer’s conduct transgressed the limits prescribed by the criminal law in these types of cases.”    
 

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. 

Jason Gennaro, jason.gennaro@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-641-1897 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 1897