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News Release

SIU Closes Investigation into Toronto Custody Injuries

Case Number: 11-TCI-189

Mississauga (4 November, 2011) --- The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has reviewed the facts around the September 2011 injuries sustained by 42-year-old Daniel Wright of Toronto after an interaction with police. Ian Scott, the Director of the SIU, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe two officers with the Toronto Police Service (TPS) committed a criminal offence in this case.

The SIU assigned six investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident. Neither of the subject officers, as is their legal right, consented to the release of his duty notes or to interviews with the SIU. Media video recordings along with five witness officer statements gave a comprehensive understanding of the incident.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on September 19:

• In the early hours, TPS officers attended at Mr. Wright’s fourth floor apartment in a building on Weston Road to arrest him.

• Shortly after the arrival, Mr. Wright descended to the third floor balcony by shimmying down a series of sheets that were tied together. Officers entered the third floor apartment due to their concern over his safety and those potentially in that apartment.

• Mr. Wright backed off onto the balcony and either straddled the balcony railing or sat on it with his legs on the inside. He told the police officers that he had a weapon, and that he planned to jump off the balcony and also kill them. The Emergency Task Force (ETF) was dispatched to the scene, arriving at approximately 2:30 a.m. The uniformed officers left.

• The ETF team attempted to persuade Mr. Wright to give himself up over a number of hours but he was not prepared to do so. He said that he intended to end the incident by going over the balcony.

• Subject officer #1 had positioned himself on the balcony directly above Mr. Wright. At approximately 5:00 a.m., subject officer #2 told subject officer #1 through another officer to deploy his conducted energy weapon (CEW) against Mr. Wright. At this point, Mr. Wright was standing in the corner of the balcony. Subject officer #1 leaned over the balcony, directed the red targeting dot of the CEW on Mr. Wright’s back and discharged the device one time. One of the CEW’s probes connected with the body of Mr. Wright but the other missed. As a result, the weapon was ineffective in immobilizing the individual.

• Mr. Wright crouched, then stood, placed both hands on the balcony railing and vaulted over it. There were no officers on the balcony at the time he chose to jump. He landed on the ground three floors below and was immediately transported to hospital. As a result of the fall, he was diagnosed as sustaining fractures to his left hand and wrist, right scapula and a thoracic transverse process of the vertebra.

Director Scott said, "The subject officers had the lawful authority to arrest Mr. Wright due to the outstanding charge. Further, they had the authority to enter the apartments on both the third and fourth level without a warrant pursuant to ss. 529.3 of the Criminal Code because they had reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr. Wright would cause imminent harm to himself. He was non-compliant even though he was given multiple opportunities to give himself up. The two subject officers had reasonable grounds to use a CEW given Mr. Wright’s repeated threats to jump over the balcony. It is clear from the videos taken of the incident that the deployment of the CEW was not the direct cause of his injuries – he chose to jump from the balcony. Further, no officer was close to him when he went over the railing. Accordingly, in my view, the complainant was the author of his own misfortune and the subject officers cannot be held criminally liable for his injuries."

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