SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OCI-176
This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.
Mandate of the SIU
Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
- Information whose release could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
- Subject Officer name(s);
- Witness Officer name(s);
- Civilian Witness name(s);
- Location information;
- Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and
- Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.
Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may have also been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.
“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into a serious injury sustained by a 50-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn July 18, 2020, at 3:45 a.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
The PRP advised that on July 18, 2020, at about 1:54 a.m., PRP police officers responded to an assist ambulance call at an address in Mississauga in relation to a man [now determined to be the Complainant] suffering from a severe cut. Paramedics were already on scene when police officers arrived. As the police officers were assisting the Complainant from his residence, the Complainant became combative near the front porch area. He was taken to the ground by police and twisted his leg.
The Complainant was transported to Trillium Health Partners - Mississauga Hospital site where he was treated for his cuts and diagnosed with having suffered a fracture of the fibular head of his right knee.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Complainant:50-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
Subject OfficersSO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right.
The SceneThe scene was the asphalt driveway / porch area of an address on Strabane Drive, Mississauga - the residence of the Complainant. The scene was not held and therefore no scene examination was conducted.
Police Communications Recordings
CW #2 mentioned the Complainant would be violent with paramedics and, as a result, the ambulance call-taker indicated police would be sent. The 911 call was then transferred to the PRP call-taker. CW #2 provided police the Complainant’s name and age and told them the Complainant had been violent for the last couple of hours.
At 1:40 a.m., the SO, WO #1 and WO #3 were dispatched to the residence in Mississauga. At 1:53 a.m., WO #3 arrived on scene and, at 1:54 a.m., the SO and WO #1 arrived on scene. At 1:54 a.m., a police officer advised an ambulance was on scene.
At 2:18 a.m., WO #3 advised the police dispatcher that the Complainant was being transported to hospital.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the PRP:
- Audio Copy Report-Phone;
- Audio Copy Report-Radio;
- Computer-assisted Dispatch;
- 911 Call;
- Communications recordings;
- Disclosure Log;
- Notes of the witness officers;
- Occurrence Details;
- PRP Directive-Crisis Negotiations;
- PRP Directive-Critical Incident Response;
- PRP Directive-Incident Response;
- PRP Directive-Mental Health Policy;
- PRP Photobrief; and
- PRP-Disclosure Log.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesThe following materials were obtained from non-police sources:
- Medical Records-St. Michael's Hospital;
- Medical Records-Trillium Health Diagnostic Imaging Report;
- Medical Records-Trillium Health;
- Photos from CW #2; and
- Photos of the Complainant.
WO #3 was the first officer to arrive, followed shortly by the SO and WO #1. WO #3 took the lead in dealing with the Complainant. He assured the Complainant, still on the ground, that the police and paramedics were there to help him. After a period, it appeared that the Complainant would allow the paramedics to treat him. They moved in, examined the Complainant’s hand and indicated he would have to attend hospital. The Complainant’s belligerence returned at that point; he said again that he preferred to die and wanted to be left alone.
When WO #3 told the Complainant that they could not leave him alone as his health was in jeopardy, the Complainant’s anger grew. He gathered his strength, lifted himself off the ground, clenched his fists and began to approach WO #3. WO #3 reacted by taking hold of the Complainant’s right arm while the SO, positioned behind the Complainant at this time, grabbed hold of his left arm. The Complainant struggled briefly with the officers before he was taken down by the SO.
The Complainant landed awkwardly on the ground front first with his right leg pinned underneath his chest in a distorted position. Shortly after the Complainant was handcuffed, the officers, alerted to the Complainant’s right leg, lifted him slightly to straighten out his leg with the help of the paramedics.
Following his arrest, the Complainant was loaded onto a stretcher without further incident and taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with serious injuries, including a fracture of the fibular head.
Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority
(a) as a private person,(b) as a peace officer or public officer,(c) in aid of a peace officer or public officer, or(d) by virtue of his office,
Section 17, Mental Health Act -- Action by police officer
(a) has threatened or attempted or is threatening or attempting to cause bodily harm to himself or herself;(b) has behaved or is behaving violently towards another person or has caused or is causing another person to fear bodily harm from him or her; or(c) has shown or is showing a lack of competence to care for himself or herself,
(d) serious bodily harm to the person;(e) serious bodily harm to another person; or(f) serious physical impairment of the person,
Analysis and Director's Decision
Pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, police officers are immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided such force was reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they were required or authorized to do by law. In my view, the officers were acting within the discharge of their lawful duties when they moved in to arrest the Complainant. Whether pursuant to section 17 of the Mental Health Act or their powers under the Criminal Code to effect a warrantless arrest based on reasonable and probable grounds to believe the Complainant was committing a criminal offence, I am satisfied that the officers were acting within their rights given the Complainant’s suicidal remarks, extreme intoxication, serious hand injury, irrational behaviour and threatening posture toward WO #3.
The issue turns to the propriety of the force, more specifically, the SO’s takedown. As the officer described it, once he had taken hold of the Complainant’s left arm, he pushed him up against the wall of the garage, whereupon the Complainant kicked backward striking the officer in the thigh. The SO, in turn, grabbed the Complainant’s left ankle lifting his left foot off the ground while pressing his shoulder down into the Complainant’s lower back, resulting in the Complainant’s fall the ground.
While I have no doubt that the takedown is responsible for the Complainant’s right leg injuries, I am unable to reasonably conclude on the evidence that the maneuver amounted to excessive force. By the time of the takedown, the Complainant had threatened an assault on WO #3 and was resisting the SO’s efforts to control his movements. The officer was also aware that the Complainant had very recently been violent with his brother and was behaving in a belligerent and volatile manner. On this record, I am satisfied that the grounding fell within the range of what was reasonably necessary in the moment to overcome the Complainant’s aggression and take him into custody; in that position, the officers would be better positioned to safely deal with any more hostilities by the Complainant.
In the final analysis, though it is regrettable that the Complainant suffered serious injuries in the course of his arrest, there are no reasonable grounds, in my view, to believe that the SO conducted himself other than in compliance with the criminal law throughout their interaction. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the officer and the file is closed.
Date: January 25, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
The signed English original report is authoritative, and any discrepancy between that report and the French and English online versions should be resolved in favour of the original English report.