SIU Director’s Report - Case # 19-PCD-097
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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 the death of a 69-year-old man.
Notification of the SIUOn May 3, 2019, at 8:22 a.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) notified the SIU of the death of an unidentified man.
The OPP reported that on May 3, 2019, at 6:00 a.m., the OPP received several calls regarding a possible impaired driver on the 401 Highway (Hwy 401) in the collector lanes. The vehicle may have struck several transport trucks. OPP police officers responded and located a vehicle in the ditch near Kennedy Road in Toronto. An OPP police officer observed a man [now known to be the Complainant] on the overpass and approached him. The police officer tried to engage the man in a conversation, but the man climbed over the railing and jumped onto the highway below. The man was taken to the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where he was pronounced dead.
The man also met the description of a suicidal male reported by a civilian to the Toronto Police Service (TPS). The civilian reported that her husband was having mental health issues last night and when she awoke this morning he was missing. She feared that her husband was suicidal and had taken their vehicle.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Complainant:69-year-old male, deceased
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
Additionally, the notes from eight other officers were received and reviewed.
The SceneThe scene was the south side of the Hwy 401 overpass/bridge at Kennedy Road. The front end of a Toyota Corolla was in contact with the south side base of the overpass. The vehicle had extensive front end damage. The vehicle was resting on the west side of Kennedy Road. An OPP cruiser was resting in the southbound passing lane of Kennedy Road. A pair of running shoes, a grey/green coat hood, and black glove were visible on the northbound curb lane of Kennedy Road. A pool of blood was covered by a yellow bag.
An overhead Hwy 401 (west) sign was suspended from the south side of the overpass/bridge. The sign had a metal, grated platform that allowed for maintenance and safety. The platform was slightly below the sign. The sign and platform were attached to the concrete overpass/bridge. The measurements were: top safety rail (eastbound Hwy 401) to sidewalk (east side of Kennedy Road): 7.5 metres, and top safety rail (eastbound Hwy 401) to roadway (east side of Kennedy Road): 7.6 metres.
Summary of the MTO CCTV
Summary of the WO’s In-Car Camera System (ICCS) Footage
The OPP officer and the WO had a conversation about the protocol for officers involved in SIU investigations and strategies for handling traumatic situations. The WO then made multiple telephone calls to other police officers describing the OPP officer’s attempted negotiation with the Complainant prior to him jumping of the Hwy 401 overpass.
Communications RecordingsThe OPP Communications Operator reported a possible impaired driver in the Hwy 401 westbound express lanes that hit the guardrails and was involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer truck. The vehicle, a small car, was falling apart and was still mobile, travelling in the eastbound express lanes at Kennedy Road and was swerving. An OPP police officer acknowledged the call for service. She subsequently broadcast that a man [now known to be the Complainant] was in the Hwy 401 eastbound lanes, just after Brimley Road, overlooking the barrier. The officer shouted, “He’s over the barrier.” Then, the officer transmitted, “He’s standing over the barrier, he’s on the side, I need (inaudible) here please.” The officer shouted, “Ambulance right away.” The officer updated there was no response (from the Complainant).
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the OPP Toronto Detachment and TPS:
- Communications Recordings
- ICCS video for the WO’s vehicle;
- Medical Record-Sunnybrook HSC;
- Ministry of Transportation CCTV;
- Motor Vehicle Collision Report;
- Notes of the WO and eight other officers
- Sudden Death Report;
- Witness Statements of five civilians.
Cause of DeathOn May 6, 2019, a forensic pathologist determined the Complainant’s cause of death was trauma to the head, neck and spine.
Analysis and Director's Decision
The officer was in a difficult position: approach the Complainant and risk a further escalation in his behaviour, or stand back and watch as the Complainant increasingly placed himself in a precarious position. In my view, the OPP officer cannot be faulted for adopting the course she did. She approached the Complainant carefully and spoke to him in measured tones. Regrettably, the Complainant could not be dissuaded. There is a discrepancy in the evidence as to whether the Complainant fell from the highway sign platform intentionally or accidentally. Regardless, I am satisfied that the Complainant is responsible for the perilous situation in which he found himself and that the OPP officer, in the short time she engaged the Complainant, acted reasonably in doing what she could to prevent the fall that ultimately took his life. Accordingly, this file is closed.
Date: June 4, 2019
Original signed 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.