SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OCI-209
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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 an injury a 47-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn August 23, 2020, at 6:57 a.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) notified the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of an injury the Complainant had sustained during his arrest in the area of Nelson Street and Main Street, Brampton.
At 1:06 a.m., police officers arrested the Complainant on a breach of recognizance and domestic assault that occurred the evening prior. The Complainant resisted the police officers during the arrest and was subsequently grounded.
The Complainant was transported to 22 Division where he complained of a sore right knee and shoulder. At 2:18 a.m., the Complainant was transported to Brampton Civic Hospital by ambulance where he was diagnosed with a fractured right clavicle. The Complainant was returned to 22 Division to await a bail hearing and then subsequently transferred to Maplehurst Correctional Complex.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Witness Officer (WO)WO Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
Subject Officer (SO)SO Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
The SceneThe Complainant was arrested in the intersection of Nelson Street West and Main Street North, Brampton.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU canvassed the area for any video or audio recordings, and photographic evidence, but was not able to locate any.
Police Communications Recordings
911 Telephone CommunicationA woman [now known to be the Complainant’s ex-girlfriend] placed a telephone call to the 911 Communications Centre and told the call-taker that she wanted to file a report of breach on the Complainant. The Complainant had conditions to remain away from her, but she did not make those conditions and she did not agree with them. The Complainant was presently in her apartment, while she spoke with the 911 operator from another apartment.
The 911 caller had invited the Complainant into her residence and she no longer wanted him there. The Complainant had not physically hurt her in the past. The Complainant did not do anything wrong and she loved him, but she just wanted him to get some help. The Complainant did not strangle, choke or threaten her.
The 911 caller later advised that she was injured “a little bit”, but declined medical attention. She declined to provide clarification about any injuries she may have sustained. A person could be heard in the background, “When the police come, they will see for themselves.” The Complainant was alone in her residence and had undetermined mental health issues.
The 911 caller agreed to meet police in the lobby of her apartment complex and left to await their arrival. The call-taker had a brief conversation with the other person heard in the background of the call, who indicated that she observed a lot of scratches on the 911 caller’s neck and collar bone, and that she held one side of her head. This person expressed a belief to the call-taker that the 911 caller declined to say what the Complainant did as the police would “lock him up”.
The Communications Centre call-taker placed a call to EMS and requested their assistance with a conscious, but intoxicated woman, possibly in her forties, involved in a domestic incident with her ex [now known to be the Complainant] who was present.
Police Radio CommunicationsThe dispatcher provided the SO and WO with information regarding a domestic call located in Brampton. The 911 caller reported that her ex [now known to be the Complainant] was present and breaching conditions. She let him in, but he was now refusing to leave. The WO and SO advised they were en route.
The dispatcher provided a further update and advised that the 911 caller was slurring her words and had been drinking. The ex was identified as the Complainant. She agreed to meet police officers in the lobby of the building. She also said she was not injured and subsequently stated she was. EMS would be attending as a precaution.
Another resident of the building identified the 911 caller by first name and reported seeing scratches on her neck area, and the fact that she was holding the side of her head. The 911 caller was not very forthcoming and declined to provide her name, but police checks confirmed her name.
The WO advised that she and the SO were going up to the apartment. The WO noted that the Complainant had left the area.
The WO later advised that she was at Main Street and Church Street in a foot pursuit. She followed by advising that she was at Main Street and Nelson Street with a man in custody, who was resisting. The SO advised the dispatcher that the man was in custody and being taken to the cruiser. An unknown male voice inquired if there were any injuries. The SO responded, “Negative, all 10-4.”
The SO advised that he was transporting the prisoner to 22 Division. The WO advised she would be following.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the PRP:
- Disclosure Log;
- Event Chronology;
- Occurrence Report;
- Person Details-the Complainant;
- PRP Audio Copy Report-Phone;
- PRP Audio Copy Report-Radio; and
- PRP Mobile Data Terminal messages between the WO and SO.
By the time of the officers’ arrival, the Complainant had left. The officers spoke with his ex-girlfriend, noted injuries on her person and decided that there were grounds to arrest the Complainant for a domestic assault and breach of his release conditions.
The SO and WO set about to locate the Complainant. At about 1:00 a.m., they eventually found him in the area of Main Street North and Church Street West among a congregation of persons in the parking lot of a church on the northwest corner of the intersection. From within his cruiser, the SO called out to the Complainant. The Complainant approached the cruiser’s front passenger window but refused to speak with the officer and quickly walked away.
The officers followed the Complainant in their cruisers into the parking lot of the Lumbini Wellness Spa located on the northeast corner of Main Street North and Nelson Street East. The SO exited his vehicle, approached the Complainant on foot and told him he was under arrest. The Complainant objected to his arrest and flailed his arms when grabbed by the SO. He broke free from the officer’s hold and began to run southward down Main Street North. The SO gave chase.
Within seconds, the SO caught up with the Complainant and tackled him from behind while both parties were in the middle of the Main Street North and Nelson Street West intersection. The Complainant struggled for a short period while on the ground, but was soon handcuffed by the SO and WO, the latter arriving quickly at the scene on foot.
Following the Complainant’s arrest, he was transported to 22 Division and lodged in cells. He subsequently complained of pain in his right shoulder, whereupon he was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a fractured right clavicle.
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,
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 authorized or required to do by law. Given what they had been told about the nature of the 911 call, and learned from speaking with the caller – the Complainant’s ex-girlfriend, and examining her injuries, there is little question in the evidence that the officers had grounds to arrest the Complainant. The issue turns to the propriety of the force used by the SO in the Complainant’s apprehension.
While the tackle used to bring the Complainant down was no doubt forceful and very likely the cause of his injury, I am unable to reasonably conclude that it fell afoul of the limits of justifiable force. By that time, it was apparent that the Complainant had no intention of surrendering peacefully into custody. He had walked away when first approached by the SO and then run away when confronted in the parking lot of the spa and told he was under arrest, that time breaking free from the SO’s hold. In the circumstances, it would seem the force used by the SO was a reasonable tactic in the moment as it would bring to an end the Complainant’s flight from police and immediately deter any further resistance on his part given his position on the ground. In fact, the Complainant did struggle for a brief period while on the ground, refusing to release his arms to be handcuffed, but eventually succumbed and complied with the officers’ requests.
In the final analysis, while I accept that the Complainant’s clavicle was fractured as he was taken to the ground, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO acted other than lawfully throughout their interaction. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. 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.