SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OCI-296
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 an injury suffered by a 31-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn November 5, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
The PRP advised that on November 5, 2020, PRP executed a production order on Brampton Civic Hospital (BCH) for admission blood for the Complainant in relation to an impaired driving incident that occurred on October 13, 2020. PRP also received medical records indicating the Complainant had a fractured rib.
The PRP advised that on October 13, 2020, at around 12:00 P.M., PRP received 911 calls about a suspected impaired driver operating a vehicle westbound on Queen Street in Brampton. PRP police officers responded as did an off-duty Toronto Police Service (TPS) police officer who witnessed the erratic driving. The suspect vehicle was swerving from lane to lane and almost struck a street pole when it left the roadway near Torbram Road. The responding police officers arrested the driver [now determined to be the Complainant], who began to actively resist. The Complainant was arrested for impaired driving and taken to BCH with undisclosed injuries.
While at BCH, the Complainant was examined by a physician and found to have a fractured seventh rib on his right side.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Complainant:31-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
Subject OfficersSO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The SceneThe scene was located near the intersection of Queen Street East and Torbram Road. The Complainant’s vehicle, a 2015 Honda CRV, was stopped facing west in the eastbound lanes of Queen Street East. The east and westbound lanes of Queen Street East were divided by a median. It appeared the Complainant may have travelled 500 to 600 metres in the wrong direction. His Honda CRV had struck head-on a Dodge Caravan driven by CW #2. There was little to no damage to either vehicle.
Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) Data Download
At 12:09:03 p.m., the SO pulled the trigger on his CEW and deployed it in drive stun mode for one second.
At 12:09:04 p.m., the SO pulled the trigger and deployed his CEW in drive stun mode for one second.
At 12:09:09 p.m., the SO deployed his CEW in drive stun mode for the third time for a period of two seconds.
And, lastly, at 12:09:25 p.m., the SO deployed his CEW in drive stun mode for the last time for one second.
The SO made his CEW safe at 12:09:31 p.m.
The Complainant’s Dash Camera
The Complainant was driving westbound on Queen Street East, stopping in a line of traffic for a red traffic light at Airport Road. Loud music was heard playing in his car. The traffic light turned green and the Complainant proceeded westbound in the right through lane. His driving appeared normal and he kept up with the flow of traffic. He attained a maximum speed of 74 km/h.
At 11:58:57 a.m., the Complainant stopped behind another vehicle at a red traffic light at Chrysler Drive. He was in the curb through lane.
At 11:59:45 a.m., the Complainant began making incoherent, guttural sounds. The traffic light turned green at 12:00 p.m. Westbound traffic began to flow through the intersection, but the Complainant’s vehicle did not proceed forward. A black Ford pickup truck had been stopped behind the Complainant. The driver of the truck pulled around to the passenger side of the Complainant’s vehicle and stopped and the driver got out. The pickup truck and the driver were out of the camera’s view because they were beside the Complainant’s vehicle. Other vehicles were seen to drive around the Complainant’s vehicle and continue westbound. The Complainant could be heard making sounds as though he was struggling to speak and breathe. The traffic light turned red at 12:01:28 p.m., and went through a full cycle, turning green again at 12:02:55 p.m. The Complainant did not move ahead when the light changed to green. He could be heard growling, coughing and trying to clear his throat.
At 12:03:17 p.m., the Complainant’s vehicle began to slowly move forward through the intersection. It appeared that the Complainant had taken his foot off the brake but did not accelerate. His speed was at a maximum of 7 km/h. The Complainant’s vehicle began to veer to the right as he went through the intersection.
At 12:04:09 p.m., the Complainant accelerated to 50 km/h, mounted the north curb and ran over a speed sign before veering back onto the roadway. He continued westbound, no longer accelerating, slowly mounted the north curb at the Tim Horton’s intersection and then came back onto the road.
At 12:05:56 p.m., the Complainant crossed the three westbound lanes at a slow speed, two to three km/h, drove over the median and across the three eastbound lanes against oncoming traffic. He drove on to the south side boulevard after crossing the eastbound lanes and his vehicle came to a stop.
An unknown man driving a white Range Rover had stopped and gotten out of his vehicle, running to the Complainant’s vehicle. The man could be heard yelling to the Complainant, but his words were not discernible. The Complainant was heard yelling back, “Fuck you, fuck you.”
At 12:06:03 p.m., the Complainant accelerated back onto the roadway and continued westbound in the eastbound lanes. The unknown man ran back to his Range Rover.
At 12:06:20 p.m., the Complainant stopped in the curb through lane for a red traffic light at Torbram Road, still facing oncoming traffic.
At 12:06:30 p.m., some banging could be heard (as if someone outside was trying to open the driver’s door of the Complainant’s vehicle). The Complainant began yelling, “Hey, what the fuck. Fuck you, fuck you, son of a bitch.” An unknown person could be heard telling the Complainant to open the door. The Complainant continued yelling, “Fuck you,” several times. An unknown man ran across the rear of the Complainant’s vehicle to the driver’s side.
At 12:07:11 p.m., a dark-coloured van pulled in front of the Complainant’s vehicle and slowly moved forward. It appeared the two vehicles might have made contact before the van stopped. Another vehicle, a dark-coloured SUV, also pulled in front of the Complainant’s vehicle, to the south of the van. The two vehicles blocked the Complainant’s vehicle from moving forward. The Complainant continued yelling, “What the fuck are you doing, huh?” The man from the Range Rover was seen running across the rear of the Complainant’s vehicle to the driver’s side. A struggle could be heard as if the Complainant was being pulled from the vehicle.
At 12:08:10 p.m., a police siren could be heard. The police vehicle did not enter the camera’s view. The Complainant could be heard moaning.
At 12:08:52 p.m., an ambulance arrived on scene.
At 12:08:58 p.m., a PRP cruiser arrived on scene.
At 12:09:55 p.m., Peel Fire Services and two additional police cruisers arrived. A struggle could be heard, and the Complainant continued to yell.
The recording concluded at 12:11:13 p.m.
No physical contact was seen between the Complainant, the police officers or the civilians in attendance.
CW #2’s Video
Police Communications Recordings
At 11:59:04 a.m., a 911 call was made by an unknown caller reporting a person [now determined to be the Complainant] having a seizure in their vehicle. The call was transferred to the ambulance dispatcher and the line was disconnected.
At 12:02:02 p.m., a caller reported the driver of a vehicle on Queen Street at Chrysler Drive was unconscious. He said the person was driving the car, hit a pole and was now driving on the road and would maybe hit someone. The caller said the driver of the car [now determined to be the Complainant] was driving slowly, then fast, going west toward Dixie Road. He described the car as a grey Honda CRV. The caller said somebody was going to the vehicle trying to help the Complainant. When asked, he said the vehicle was not stopped. He then said the vehicle had stopped at Torbram Road. People were going to the car trying to unlock it. He could not see the licence plate. He identified the driver as a man. The car was stopped westbound on Queen Street at Torbram Road. The caller advised he could see the police.
At 12:03:53 p.m., an unknown caller reported that he was at the corner of Chrysler Drive and Queen Street and seeing a guy in a grey late model Honda Civic all messed up on drugs or something. He said the guy’s head was bobbing and he had just gone off the road almost hitting another car. The vehicle was westbound on Queen Street. The caller was driving the opposite way and did not see the licence plate. The caller said the male driver was not white, had driven through the intersection against a red light and driven past him at a crawl. He watched in his sideview mirror and saw the vehicle speed up, go off the road, over the sidewalk and almost hit a utility pole. The driver looked like a young man between 25 and 30 years old, with short dark hair [now determined to be the Complainant]. The 911 operator informed the caller the police had the vehicle stopped and that the Complainant was having a seizure.
At 12:03:09 p.m., an unknown caller reported an erratic driver [now determined to the Complainant] at Torbram Road and Queen Street. He said the Complainant went through a couple of signs and almost hit a couple of cars. A couple of people had stopped the vehicle and were trying to get inside it. A police car was there, and people were trying to get the driver out. He described the vehicle as a small Honda CRV, dark grey.
At 12:03:21 p.m., the Ambulance Service dispatcher called advising they had received a call from a person reporting an unconscious man in a grey Honda at Queen Street and Gateway Boulevard.
At 12:03:05 p.m., a woman called 911 to report seeing a car off the road, almost into a ditch, and now turning to drive the wrong way on Queen Street near Torbram Road by the McDonald’s restaurant. She saw the driver’s head bobbing up and down and said it could be a medical emergency or an impaired driver. The woman then said the car did not go into the ditch but had driven onto the grass and hit a couple of signs on the north side of the road. She thought the car was going to drive into oncoming traffic but lost sight of it as she continued eastbound.
At 12:03:54 p.m., an unknown caller called to report an incident saying police were already there. The call was cut off.
At 12:03:59 p.m., a man could be heard repeating, “Open the door,” several times while waiting for the 911 operator to answer the call. Several men’s voices could be heard saying, “Turn the car off, you could hurt someone,” and, “Open the car door.” A man’s voice said the car door was open and a struggle could be heard. At 2:10 minutes into the call the 911 operator answered. The caller identified himself as an off-duty police officer [known to be WO #3] and the call was disconnected.
At 12:04:06 p.m., an unknown caller was on hold for over two minutes and hung up. The 911 operator called back two minutes later. The caller said he no longer needed the police as they were currently at the scene.
At 12:05:12 p.m., an unknown caller was on hold for several minutes and hung up. The 911 operator called her back after four-and-a-half minutes. The caller said police were there and the call was disconnected.
At 12:06:46 p.m., an unknown caller was on hold for three minutes before her call was transferred to a call-taker. She reported seeing a car driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of Queen Street. She advised that police and emergency vehicles were on scene. She was no longer at the scene.
At 12:03:53 p.m., the dispatcher asked for any units in the area of Queen and Chrysler to respond to the report of an impaired driver. The SO radioed he was in the area and would respond. The dispatcher indicated that the vehicle in question was a grey Honda CRV. The caller had reported people trying to stop it and that it was westbound on Queen Street. The driver appeared to be sleeping. WO #4 used his police radio and advised he would also respond.
The dispatcher broadcast the vehicle had just crossed Torbram Road, still westbound on Queen. The driver was a man [now determined to be the Complainant] and several people were around the vehicle trying to get him out, and he had almost hit several things. WO #2 put himself on the call.
At 12:06:13 p.m., WO #1 advised over the police radio she was in the area and asked for a location of the vehicle.
At 12:06:58 p.m., the dispatcher broadcast that another call about the vehicle had been received and that it was reportedly at Queen and Torbram Road, last seen heading east on Queen, and had almost gone into oncoming traffic.
At 12:07:57 p.m., an undesignated officer used his police radio to advise all eastbound lanes would be shut down and that an ambulance was on scene. The SO informed the dispatcher the police were on scene and everything was under control.
At 12:09:25 p.m., the undesignated officer used his police radio to broadcast the Complainant was in custody.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the PRP and the TPS:
- Notes of WO #1, WO #2, WO #4 and the SO;
- CEW Data;
- Communications Recordings;
- PRP Computer-assisted Dispatch Event Chronology;
- PRP Motor Vehicle Collision Report;
- PRP Occurrence;
- PRP Officer Roles;
- PRP Person Details-the Complainant;
- PRP Policy-Impaired Operation Offences;
- PRP Policy-Criminal Investigations;
- PRP Policy-Mental Health Policy;
- PRP Witness List; and
- TPS Supplementary Report-WO #3.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU also obtained and reviewed the following records:
- Medical Record-Brampton Civic Hospital;
- Dashcam Video from the Complainant; and
- Video from CW #2.
At around the noon hour of October 13, 2020, 911 calls began to be received by the PRP about a man operating a vehicle westbound on Queen Street who appeared to be in medical distress. The man was the Complainant and the vehicle he was driving was a Honda CRV. One of the callers indicated that the Honda had hit a pole, travelled off the road, and almost struck other vehicles.
The Complainant had started driving erratically westward on Queen Street, the result of the onset of a seizure. The Complainant’s vehicle eventually entered into the eastbound lanes of Queen Street where it continued westward until stopping for a red light at Torbram Road. By that time, other motorists, having observed the Complainant’s Honda moving dangerously on the roadway, intervened to prevent its further travel.
Among the motorists who had observed the Honda’s strange movements was an off-duty TPS officer, WO #3. With the assistance of another motorist who had stopped to render assistance, CW #1, the officer attempted to extricate the Complainant from the Honda. The Complainant reacted violently toward the officer and CW #1. He swore at them, attempted to strike CW #1 and held onto the steering wheel as they tried to yank him from the vehicle.
The SO received word about the incident and decided to attend as he was in the vicinity just east of the scene. Arriving at the Queen Street and Torbram Road intersection, the officer exited his cruiser and assisted WO #3 in pulling the Complainant from the Honda through the passenger door. The Complainant was taken to ground on the roadway where he continued to resist. With WO #3’s help, the SO was eventually able to handcuff the Complainant’s arms behind his back.
The Complainant bucked and thrashed on the ground after he was handcuffed. The SO reacted by deploying his CEW in drive-stun mode several times against the Complainant. The discharges failed to quell the Complainant’s agitation. With the help of other officers, however, the SO was able to control the Complainant on the ground as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.
With the arrival of paramedics, the Complainant was placed onto a stretcher and then into the ambulance. While en route to the hospital, the Complainant was sedated by the paramedics.
The Complainant was diagnosed at hospital with having suffered a temporal seizure and a fractured right-sided rib.
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. Both the SO and WO #3 believed that the Complainant was operating his vehicle while impaired. Given what the SO had heard of the Honda’s reckless movements over the police radio, and what WO #3 had personally seen, including the Honda driving the wrong way on Queen Street while accelerating toward Torbram Road, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the officers lacked a lawful basis to arrest the Complainant for impaired operation of a motor vehicle. The issue turns to the propriety of the force the officers used in effecting the Complainant’s arrest.
In my view, the SO and WO #3 used no more force than was reasonably necessary in the circumstances. Though they did not know it at the time, the Complainant’s belligerence was the by-product of a seizure he was having. That said, it is clear that neither officer struck the Complainant. Rather, they wrestled him out of the car and then briefly on the roadway as they attempted to wrest control of his arms to be handcuffed. The officers had little option other than to do as they did. The parties were in live lanes of traffic and it was imperative that the Complainant be removed from the Honda as quickly as possible lest he put the vehicle in motion again. In the circumstances, I am persuaded that neither the SO nor WO #3 acted with excess in taking the Complainant to the ground notwithstanding the fractured rib that may have been inflicted in the process.
I am also satisfied that the CEW discharges delivered by the SO – four short and quick bursts in drive-stun mode – did not run afoul of the limits of justification. By all accounts, the Complainant was extremely agitated on the roadway, to the point that the SO and others described his behaviour as delirious. The SO did not do so to assist with taking the Complainant into custody – he was already handcuffed at the time. As he explained, the officer’s force was directed at deterring the Complainant’s combativeness as he thrashed about on the ground, in part, at least, to prevent him from injuring himself. With the arrival of WO #4 on the scene, and recognizing that the CEW had done little to subdue the Complainant, the officers resorted to their greater manpower in controlling the Complainant on the ground while awaiting the arrival of the ambulance. The SO was entitled to do what he could to ensure the Complainant’s safety while in custody, as well as that of those around him, and I am not satisfied on reasonable grounds that he exceeded his remit in attempting to do so with his CEW.
In the final analysis, while I accept that the Complainant was injured as he was being taken to the ground by the SO and WO #3, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the officers acted other than lawfully throughout their encounter. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges and the file is closed.
Date: February 16, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The CEW times are derived from the weapon’s internal clock and are not necessarily synchronized with actual time. [Back to text]
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.