SIU Director’s Report - Case # 18-OCI-228
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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 55-year-old man (the “Complainant”)
Notification of the SIUOn August 1, 2018, at 11:15 p.m., the York Regional Police (YRP) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
The YRP reported that on July 29, 2018, at 7:00 a.m., YRP officers responded to a domestic call at a residence located in Newmarket. A woman [later identified as the civilian witness (CW)] called 911 and told the operator that her husband, the Complainant, had left the residence on foot. The Complainant had an outstanding apprehension order under Mental Health Act (MHA).
YRP officers located the Complainant near the intersection of Gorham Street and Prospect Street. A struggled ensued between the police officers and the Complainant. The Complainant was handcuffed and transported to Southlake Regional Health Care (SRHC) and admitted in the mental health ward.
Sometime in the evening of Wednesday, August 1, 2018, the CW contacted the YRP and reported that the Complainant sustained fractures to three of his ribs during his apprehension.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Complainant:55-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
Additionally, the notes from two other officers were received and reviewed.
Subject OfficersSO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right.
The SceneThe scene was located in the area of Prospect Street and Gorham Street in Newmarket. The SIU investigators canvassed for closed circuit television recordings and witnesses around the scene and found none.
In-Car Camera System (ICCS) Recordings – Witness Officer (WO) #1’s Police Vehicle:
- At 9:36:56 a.m., three police officers [later identified as the Subject Officer (SO), WO #1 and WO #2] kneeled over a man [later identified as the Complainant] on a grassy sidewalk.
- At 9:37:03 a.m., the Complainant was assisted to his feet by the SO and WO #1 and escorted to the rear passenger seat of WO #1’s police vehicle.
- At 9:40:53 a.m., WO #1 transported the Complainant to SRHC.
Communications RecordingsThe SIU received and reviewed the communications recordings related to the incident from the YRP. The communications recordings, which were not time stamped, captured conversation between the dispatcher and the responding officers.
The dispatcher transmitted over the radio that she received a call from a woman [later identified as the CW] in regards to an unwanted person [later identified as the Complainant] at her residence. the Complainant was mentally ill and was walking towards Leslie Street.
WO #1 later told the dispatcher that he had located the Complainant and was on his way to SRHC.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the YRP:
- Detailed Call Summary Report;
- WO #1’s Narrative;
- Notes of the witness officers and two undesignated officers;
- YRP policy in regards to Emotionally Disturbed Persons; and
- In-Car Camera System (ICCS) video.
Following the Complainant’s apprehension, he was taken to SRHC and admitted to the mental health ward. He was subsequently diagnosed with multiple fractured ribs.
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 may only use reasonably necessary force in the execution of an act that they are required or authorized to do by law. The Form One under the MHA authorizing the Complainant’s apprehension was still in effect at the time and the officers, including the SO, were within their rights in seeking to enforce it. The Complainant objected to his apprehension and refused to give up his arms to be handcuffed. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that the officers acted reasonably when they decided to walk him over to a grassy area and take him to the ground. The grounding does not appear to have been overly aggressive, nor was it successful in overcoming the Complainant’s resistance. The Complainant struggled against the officers’ efforts to control his arms on the ground and only quit struggling after the SO placed his knee on the Complainant’s back. It should be noted that there was some evidence the Complainant was struck by a knee to the right upper torso. In either event, I am satisfied on this record that the force used by the SO was measured and fell within the range of what was reasonably necessary to overcome the Complainant’s resistance and affect his apprehension.
Date: August 2, 2019
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.