SIU Director’s Report - Case # 18-OCI-194
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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 a serious injury sustained by a 32 year-old male.
Notification of the SIUOn June 29, 2018, at 11:40 p.m., the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) reported to the SIU that at 2:40 p.m., that date, OPS police officers arrested the Complainant for public intoxication at the Shepherds of Good Hope Homeless Shelter (SGHHS) at 256 King Edward Avenue. He was combative, and was grounded and then taken to the Montfort Hospital (MH) and diagnosed with a fractured right wrist.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Complainant:32-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
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #6 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #7 Interviewed
Subject OfficersSO #1 Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right.
SO #2 Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right.
The SceneThe scene was located on the sidewalk outside the main entrance doors of the SGHHS at 256 King Edward Avenue at the southwest corner of King Edward Avenue and Murray Street. There are numerous commercial properties in the area.
At 2:37:24 p.m., WO #1, SO #1 and SO #2 rode north on police bicycles on King Edward Avenue along the west sidewalk in front of the SGHHS. WO #1 continued west bound on Murray Street and out of camera view.
At 2:37:34 p.m., as SO #1 passed the front doors of the shelter, the Complainant advanced quickly towards and within an arm’s length of him. SO #1 stopped and directed his attention towards the Complainant.
At 2:37:50 p.m., SO #1, with an open left hand, pushed the Complainant away in the chest area and immediately dismounted his bicycle. The Complainant put his hands up and walked backwards away from SO #1.
At 2:38:09 p.m., the Complainant remained outside the shelter while the police officers spoke with SGHHS staff members outside the front doors. A few minutes later, a shelter client pulled the Complainant back inside the front doors.
At 2:39:47 pm., SO #1 and SO #2 entered the SGHHS via the front doors into the foyer where SO #1 took control of the Complainant’s left arm and SO #2 the right arm. The Complainant resisted by struggling and refusing to give up his arms.
SO #1 kept control of the Complainant’s left arm. The Complainant pulled his right arm free from SO #2’s grasp and grabbed SO #2’s left wrist. SO #2 dropped his handcuffs, took control of the Complainant’s right wrist and pulled it back with the palm bent towards the forearm during an active struggle. The Complainant’s right arm was pulled out to the side by SO #2 who then picked up his handcuffs from the ground and placed a handcuff on the Complainant’s right wrist. The Complainant continued to struggle and attempted to pull his arms away as both of his hands were being secured behind his back by SO #1 and SO #2.
At 2:40:42 p.m., SO #1 and SO #2 escorted the Complainant outside where he was held up against, and facing, the exterior wall of the building by the police officers. SO #1 was at the left rear of the Complainant and SO #2 was at the right rear. The Complainant made repeated efforts to move off of the wall and to turn around. WO #1 arrived on scene and SO #2 left the area on foot shortly after.
At 3:03:19 p.m., the Complainant continued to struggle and SO #1 placed him in a wrist lock [unclear which wrist due to the distance and positioning of the parties].
At 3:04:18 p.m., SO #1 pulled the right side of the Complainant’s body down towards the ground while maintaining a constant hold of him. The Complainant landed first on his knees, then he fell forward and down onto his stomach. SO #1 kneeled at the Complainant’s right side while WO #1 stood over them. WO #1 took no part in the grounding.
At 3:50:20 p.m., the Complainant was walked to just outside cell #1 by the special constables. One special constable removed the handcuffs from the Complainant, and the other removed the “spit hood,” and the Complainant was pushed into the cell. The door was slid closed and locked. The cell door was entirely Plexiglas set in a steel frame. The Complainant immediately began shouting and spitting on the inside of the Plexiglas. He then struck the Plexiglas door extremely hard four or five times with closed fists with the outer edge of both his left and right hands/wrists.
At 3:53 p.m., the Complainant again began striking the inside of the cell door with the outer edge of both his left and right hands/wrists three more times.
At 5:57 p.m., the Complainant stood inside the cell door shouting and a special constable came to the door. The Complainant was holding up his right wrist and pointing to it. The special constable left and returned a minute later with WO #4. The Complainant began shouting at WO #4 and presented his right wrist to him. WO #4 left the cell area at 6:03 p.m., and returned with two paramedics at 6:18 p.m.
Communications RecordingsSIU Investigators reviewed the OPS communication recording and it did not provide any relevant information to advance the investigation.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials from the OPS:
- Accused Information Sheet (Booking Sheet);
- Call Hardcopy;
- Detention Report;
- Investigative Action- WO #1, WO #2, WO #3, WO #4, WO #5 and WO #6;
- MDT Logs for June 29 for WO #2 and SO #2;
- Notes of WO #2, WO #3, WO #4, WO #5 and WO #6;
- OPS CPIC Information for the Complainant;
- OPS CPIC Profile for the Complainant;
- OPS Photo of the Complainant;
- OPS communications recordings;
- Person Hardcopy- the Complainant;
- Procedure- Arrest;
- Procedure- Prisoner Care and Control;
- Procedure- Use of Force;
- Procedure- Prisoner Escort;
- Procedure- Search of Persons;
- Ticket Offence Hardcopy;
- OPS cell block video; and
- Training Records of SO #1 and SO #2.
At around 3:50 p.m., the Complainant was placed inside a police prisoner van and taken to the Elgin Street police station. Shortly after being lodged in a cell, the Complainant began punching the cell door with his right and left hands. At about 6:00 p.m., with a special constable standing outside his cell, the Complainant held up his right hand and pointed to it. Paramedics arrived at the cell around 6:20 p.m. and transported the Complainant to hospital.
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,
Section 31, Liquor Licence Act -- Arrest for public intoxication
(5) A police officer may arrest without warrant any person whom he or she finds(a) In a place to which the general public is invited or permitted access; or(b) In any part of a residence that is used in common by persons occupying more than one dwelling in the residence.
Analysis and Director's Decision
Pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, police officers are restricted in the force they may use to that which is necessary in the execution of anything they are required or authorized by law to do. The Complainant was significantly impaired by alcohol, bellicose and combative, and without a sure place to stay. He was clearly a threat to himself and others, and the officers were within their rights in arresting him for public intoxication under section 31(5) of the Liquor Licence Act. The Complainant was in no mood to cooperate with his arrest. He physically resisted as the officers attempted to control his arms in order to place him in handcuffs, and then threatened to kill SO #1, spat in his direction and pushed against the officer as he was being restrained against the exterior wall. The officers responded by forcibly manipulating his arms and wrists in order to overcome the Complainant’s resistance, and SO #1 took the added step of grounding the Complainant in a controlled fashion to better protect against being spat upon. In my view, the force used by the officers was measured and proportionate, and fell within the range of what was reasonably necessary in the circumstances.
It remains unclear when precisely the Complainant fractured his right wrist. It might well have occurred during a physical altercation reportedly involving the Complainant prior to the subject officers’ arrival, in which case the officers are clearly not responsible. It could also have happened when the Complainant punched his cell door repeatedly. The Complainant, and the Complainant alone, would be to blame for that. Finally, one or the other of the subject officers may have broken the Complainant’s wrist in their dealings with him, in which event the injury was unfortunate but not the result of any criminal offence on the part of SO #1 and SO #2 for the aforementioned reasons. In the result, there are no reasonable grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.
Date: June 10, 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.