SIU Concludes G20 Re-Investigation
Case Number: 10-TCI-117
Other News Releases Related to Case 10-TCI-117
Mississauga (1 April, 2011) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Ian Scott has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by Mr. Canute Fernandes, during his arrest while attending the G20 protests in downtown Toronto, in June 2010.
By way of background, this matter was initially investigated and closed on November 25, 2010. At that time, the investigation determined that Mr. Fernandes was just east of Peter Street on Queen Street West when a group of police officers rushed from west to east toward him and other civilians congregating in the area. He was overrun as the officers and the crowd moved eastward and fell to the ground landing on his shoulder, whereupon several officers moved in to arrest him. He later complained of pain in his right arm and was taken to Toronto East General Hospital where he was treated for a fractured arm and shoulder. A number of witness officers from Toronto Police Service (TPS) and the Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS) as well as three civilian witnesses were interviewed. The evidence collected by the SIU was equivocal as to the cause of Mr. Fernandes’ injuries. Specifically, it could not be determined whether he fell as a result of being knocked to the ground by rushing officers or fleeing protestors, nor could the identities of the arresting officers be ascertained. According, the investigation was closed.
On February 8, 2011, Mr. Fernandes contacted the SIU and provided two YouTube digital recording links of his arrest on June 26, 2010. The YouTube digital recordings were of poor quality but one of the recordings was originally filmed by Reuters news agency.
After making inquiries, on March 7, 2011, the SIU received additional digital imagery from Reuters relating to the events surrounding Mr. Fernandes’ arrest and injuries. The Reuters recording showed Mr. Fernandes was on the ground and was then taken behind the police line by two Peel Regional Police (PRP) officers. As a result of this new information, the investigation into Mr. Fernandes’ injuries was reopened.
On March 9, 2011, the SIU made a media appeal for witnesses to the public and included the digital recording link to the Reuters clip of the arrest of Mr. Fernandes. The media release included three still images of at least two witnesses to the apprehension of Mr. Fernandes, and appealed for them to provide information to the SIU.
SIU investigators interviewed four PRP officers and another TPS officer in March. They also viewed another digital recording of the incident from Dailymotion depicting the apprehension of Mr. Fernandes.
Director Scott said, "With respect to the two digital video recordings, neither shows the complainant being initially apprehended; they depict Mr. Fernandes already on the ground and being dragged behind a police line. No new witnesses came forward as a result of the SIU’s public appeal." Director Scott concluded, "On the basis of the original investigation, new video footage, and the new police witness interviews, I am of the view that the police were probably not responsible for Mr. Fernandes’ injuries. Accordingly, no criminal charge will be laid with respect to this incident."
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