SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OCI-176


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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving police officers where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. The Unit’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

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.

Information Restrictions

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. 
Pursuant to section 21 of FIPPA (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this document. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • 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.

Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)

Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information 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.

Mandate Engaged

The Unit’s investigative jurisdiction is limited to those incidents where there is a serious injury (including sexual assault allegations) or death in cases involving the police.

“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”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On 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 Team

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3


50-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed

Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed 

Witness Officers

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed

Subject Officers

SO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right.


The Scene

The 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

911 Call

On July 18, 2020, a 911 operator received a call from a man [known to be CW #2]. CW #2 advised he needed an ambulance and the call was transferred. The ambulance call-taker answered the line and inquired about the emergency. CW #2 reported his brother [known to be the Complainant] was drunk, had a hand laceration and was bleeding a lot due to blood thinners. CW #2 requested an ambulance attend the residence in Mississauga. The ambulance call-taker provided medical advice and CW #2 replied the Complainant was refusing treatment. The Complainant was violent, stumbling drunk, and out of control.

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.

Communications Recordings

On July 18, 2020 at 1:39 a.m., PRP received a call regarding a drunken man [now determined to be the Complainant] who had a cut to his hand and was bleeding. The caller, CW #2, advised the Complainant was being violent and out of control.

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 Service

Upon 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 Sources

The 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.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included statements from the Complainant, the SO, two witness officers who were present at the time, and several civilian eyewitnesses to the events in question. At about 1:30 a.m. on July 18, 2020, the Complainant’s brother, CW #2, called 911 to request an ambulance for his brother who was bleeding profusely from a laceration to the left hand. The Complainant was significantly inebriated and had cut himself on some broken glass. CW #2 warned the call-taker that the Complainant was violent and out of control. Accordingly, the PRP was subsequently contacted by the ambulance service and asked to also attend the address on Strabane Drive, Mississauga.

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.

Relevant Legislation

Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority

25 (1) Every one who is required or authorized by law to do anything in the administration or enforcement of the law
(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,
is, if he acts on reasonable grounds, justified in doing what he is required or authorized to do and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose.

Section 17, Mental Health Act -- Action by police officer

17 Where a police officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a person is acting or has acted in a disorderly manner and has reasonable cause to believe that the person,
(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,
and in addition the police officer is of the opinion that the person is apparently suffering from mental disorder of a nature or quality that likely will result in,
(d) serious bodily harm to the person;
(e) serious bodily harm to another person; or
(f) serious physical impairment of the person,

and that it would be dangerous to proceed under section 16, the police officer may take the person in custody to an appropriate place for examination by a physician.

Analysis and Director's Decision

The Complainant suffered severe injuries to his right leg in the course of his arrest by PRP officers on July 18, 2020. Among the arresting officers, and identified as the subject officer for purposes of the SIU investigation, was the SO. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s arrest and injuries.

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

Joseph Martino
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.