SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-TVI-182
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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 serious injuries sustained by a 48-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn July 24, 2020, at 5:57 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) contacted the SIU and reported an injury to the Complainant.
The TPS advised that on Friday, July 24, 2020, at about 4:00 p.m., a TPS police officer was doing static radar on Kingston Road standing on the side of the road. The police officer observed a speeding vehicle and stepped out into traffic to wave the vehicle over. The first vehicle was able to stop at the last second, as did the vehicle behind it. However, a motorcycle behind the second vehicle did not stop in time and collided into the back of the second vehicle. The motorcyclist was thrown from the motorcycle and rolled into oncoming traffic, where he was struck by a vehicle. The motorcyclist suffered a compound fracture to one of his legs. He was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH) by Toronto Paramedic Services. The scene was being held by TPS, and TPS identification and a reconstructionist were on scene awaiting the SIU’s arrival.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Seven civilian witnesses were interviewed, and two witness police officers were interviewed. The Complainant was interviewed and signed a medical release for SMH.
Medical records were obtained from SMH and a copy of the Toronto Paramedic Services’ ambulance call report was obtained.
Complainant48-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed
CW #6 Interviewed
CW #7 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
Subject OfficersSO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right
The SceneOn July 24, 2020, at 8:15 p.m., the lead SIU Forensic Investigator arrived at the scene of the incident on Kingston Road, west of Lakehurst Drive. The scene was photographed. An SIU collision reconstructionist performed a scene analysis and scene measurements were taken.
In the area of this collision, Kingston Road was a four-lane paved asphalt road, which permitted two lanes of eastbound and two lanes of westbound vehicular movement. The opposing lanes were delineated by a concrete median, which was 4.9 metres wide. The lanes which permitted travel in the same direction were delineated with intermittent white paint marks. The posted speed limit on Kingston Road was 50 km/h.
It was a warm clear day and visibility was good.
Physical / Forensic EvidenceA white Chevrolet Malibu was stopped in the curb lane of the eastbound lanes of Kingston Road, just west of Lakehurst Drive. The approximate centre of mass of the Malibu was located 14.7 metres west of the east edge of the pavement of Lakehurst Drive and 1.2 metres north of the south edge of the pavement of Kingston Road. The Malibu was undamaged.
A black, 2019 Ford Ranger was stopped behind the Malibu. The Ranger had damage to the driver’s side, rear corner. The approximate centre of mass of the Ranger was located 25.8 metres west of the east edge of the pavement of Lakehurst Drive and 1.7 metres north of the south edge of the pavement of Kingston Road. Several attempts were made by SIU Forensic Investigators and the TPS police officers to download the Airbag Control Module; however, no download was achieved as the module (manufactured by Bosch) was not supported by the crash data recorder tool.
Figure 1 - The rear, driver-side damage to the Ford.
A black Harley Davidson Dyna motorcycle lay on its side in the centre of the road just behind the Ranger. The approximate centre of mass of the motorcycle was located 33.1 metres west of the east edge of the pavement of Lakehurst Drive and 4.7 metres north of the south edge of the pavement of Kingston Road. There were scrape marks in the pavement behind the motorcycle leading to the motorcycle’s resting position. There was also collision debris spread across both lanes behind the motorcycle. The calculated minimal speed of the motorcycle at impact was 50.8 km/h.
Figure 2 - The Complainant's black motorcycle.
A black Mazda 3 was stopped in the centre lane just west of the motorcycle. The approximate centre of mass of the Mazda was located 37.6 metres west of the east edge of the pavement of Lakehurst Drive and 6.7 metres north of the south edge of the pavement of Kingston Road. There was damage to the passenger side, front corner of the Mazda. There were scrape marks on the roadway leading to the position of the Harley-Davidson. There was debris and bone fragments scattered about the area of the Mazda and the Harley Davidson. A download of the airbag control module showed that the speed of the Mazda was 68 km/h, 5.0 seconds before the collision, and it coasted to 65 km/h, 2.0 seconds before the collision. Brakes were applied at that time and it was slowed to 37 km/h at the time of collision.
Figure 3 - The front, passenger-side damage to the Mazda.
Police Communications RecordingsAt 3:51:57 p.m., the SO reported a collision on Kingston Road west of Lakehurst Road, which involved a motorcyclist. An ambulance was requested as a man had leg and head injuries. The man was conscious and breathing. At 3:52:38 p.m., a police communicator called the ambulance. At 3:53:20 p.m., the SO broadcast that the motorcyclist rear-ended a vehicle. The SO requested traffic control at Birchmount Road and Kingston Road, and a unit asked to be put on the call. At 3:54:50 p.m., the SO provided licence plate numbers of the motorcycle and involved vehicles. At 3:56:08 p.m., the SO asked if the Toronto Fire Services would be attending.
At 3:56:23 p.m., the dispatcher stated, “It looks like a 41 division came across this, motorcycle involved, 40-year-old, conscious and breathing.” The dispatcher asked for a rush on the ambulance because of a possible head injury. At 3:56:41 p.m., an officer stated, “Looks like the vehicle ran him over.” At 4:10:48 p.m., a unit stated it was going to do an emergency run to SMH and, at 4:15:54 p.m., the emergency run commenced.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the TPS:
- Computer-assisted Dispatch Event Details Report;
- Communications recordings;
- Incident Summary;
- Motor Vehicle Accident Report;
- Notes of witness officers;
- Occurrence Report;
- Procedure - Speed Enforcement;
- TPS Civilian Witness List;
- TPS Police Witness List; and
- TPS Scene Photographs.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU also obtained and reviewed the following records from non-police sources:
- Ambulance Call Report;
- Medical Record SMH; and
- Photographs from civilian witness.
In the afternoon of July 24, 2020, the SO was on foot in the area of the southwest corner of the intersection of Kingston Road and Lakehurst Drive. He was performing speed enforcement with a handheld speed measurement device. At about 3:50 p.m., the officer clocked a white Malibu exceeding the 50 km/h speed limit. Deciding to pull the vehicle over to issue a speeding ticket, the SO stepped onto the roadway and signaled at the driver to pull over and stop.
The Malibu brought his vehicle to a stop, which forced the vehicle behind him – a black pickup truck driven by CW #2 – to brake hard to prevent an impact with the rear of the Malibu. As he did so, the Complainant, operating a motorcycle behind the truck, unsuccessfully attempted to maneuver around the rear driver’s side corner of the vehicle to avoid a collision. His motorcycle struck the rear of the truck sending him and his motorcycle into the passing lane where the vehicle was again struck by an eastbound Mazda.
Following the collision, the SO went to check on the motorcyclist and requested an ambulance. Paramedics arrived at the scene and took the Complainant to hospital where he was diagnosed with several facial fractures and fractures of the right leg.
Sections 219 and 221, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing bodily harm
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing bodily harm contrary to section 221 of the Criminal Code. The offence is predicated, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked and substantial departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. In the instant case, the issue is whether the SO stepped out into the roadway to perform a traffic stop with a reasonable level of care and, if not, whether the officer was so remiss in his conduct as to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there is insufficient evidence to reasonably conclude that any transgressions on the part of the SO fell afoul of the criminal law.
For starters, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the SO was in the lawful discharge of his duties when he decided to stop the Malibu for a speeding infraction. Thereafter, despite what appears to have been a late stop signal directed at CW #1, the driver of the Malibu, the evidence falls short of establishing any criminal negligence on the part of the SO in the performance of his duty. While the SO may have been very close to the Malibu when he first stepped onto the roadway, the fact remains that both CW #1 and CW #2 had seen the officer and were able to come to safe, albeit quick, stops. As for why the Complainant was not similarly able to bring his vehicle to a stop, the answer appears to have had something to do with less than careful driving on his part. Thus, there is some evidence that the Complainant was weaving in and out of the curb and passing lanes on the approach to Lakehurst Drive, and riding the “line”, that is, cradling the lanes. On this record, while it might have been that the SO ought to have allowed for a greater stopping distance before signaling traffic to pull over, his failure to do was something less than a marked and substantial deviation from a reasonable level of care in the circumstances.
In the result, while I accept that the SO’s conduct set in train a series of events that resulted in injuries to the Complainant, I am satisfied that the officer comported himself within the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case 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.