SIU Director’s Report - Case # 18-TCI-244
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 a serious injury sustained by a 34-year-old woman (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn August 20, 2018, at 3:17 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s injury.
According to the TPS, on August 19, 2018, at 6:36 p.m., the SO and WO #1 were sent to a domestic assault incident at a residence on Winona Drive in Toronto. The Complainant had reportedly assaulted her spouse. The police officers entered the residence and located the Complainant who was naked on a couch and asleep, and breastfeeding her infant. The Complainant was awakened and told to dress. She dressed and returned to the living room. The SO and WO #1 arrested her for assault and were handcuffing her when she became violent. The SO had her left arm and she was grounded by him. WO #1 handcuffed her hands behind her back. The Complainant’s feet were previously cut from walking through broken glass she had smashed from the entry door leading to the interior of the residence.
The Complainant was transported to 13 Division and then to the Humber River Regional Hospital for treatment of the cuts to her feet. At the hospital, she complained of a sore left arm. She was treated by the emergency physician who made an appointment for her to return to the fracture clinic on August 20, 2018. She returned at the appointed time with police officers and saw an orthopedic surgeon who advised that her left elbow was dislocated and had a fracture. She was treated and returned to the police cells area at 13 Division and then to court at College Park.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Complainant:34-year-old female interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
CW #2 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
Subject OfficersSO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right.
The SceneThe scene of the arrest was limited to the living room area floor of a residence occupied by the Complainant and her spouse, and their infant daughter. The flooring material was of wood laminate partially covered with an area rug. The area where the Complainant was arrested had fresh blood stains and droplets from the laceration of her foot.
TPS ICCS Interview of the Complainant’s Spouse
TPS Booking Hall CCTV Data
The Complainant interrupted the officer saying, “Well, can I, can I, am I allowed to talk, or?”
She looked to her left at the officer standing to her left [now known to be the SO] who interrupted her, saying, “The evidence first,” and as the Complainant interrupted him and over-talked him says, “Based…ah…yeah sure.”
As she was speaking, WO #1 again spoke at the same time as the Complainant was speaking, saying, “So she has a possible fractured arm, her, you know, forearm, so ah, she’ll clarify tomorrow if it’s actually fractured at the hospital…again she says it’s unrelated to the arrest but from prior.”
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the TPS:
- 911 and communications audio recordings;
- Event Details Report;
- General Occurrence Report;
- In-Car Camera System (ICCS) data;
- Injury Report;
- Notes of the witness officers;
- Photographs of arrest scene;
- Procedure -Use of Force;
- Training Record (UOF)-the SO
- Undertaking given to a Judge-the Complainant (rec'd from TPS);
- Video-recorded interview of the Complainant’s spouse; and
- Witness List.
The SO and WO #1 entered the residence to find the Complainant asleep on a couch with her daughter lying on top of her. She was woken by the officers, told she was under arrest for assaulting her husband, and asked to get dressed; she was only wearing a T-shirt at the time. The SO took her daughter and provided the child to the Complainant’s husband, who was waiting outside. The Complainant went to her bedroom, put on a pair of shorts and returned to face the officers. She became irate with the situation and insisted she was not leaving. With her hands clenched, the Complainant advanced quickly on the officers, prompting them to each take hold of one of her arms. The SO grabbed her left wrist and forced the Complainant to the floor as WO #1 did the same from the Complainant’s right side. The Complainant squirmed and struggled to an extent, but the officers were able to wrestle her arms behind her back in fairly short order and secure them in handcuffs.
Following the Complainant’s arrest, she was taken to the police station and, from there, promptly to the hospital. She had sustained cuts to her right foot from the glass she had earlier shattered in her residence. While at the hospital, the Complainant was advised that her left elbow had also been fractured.
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 restricted in the force they may use in the course of their duties to that which is reasonably necessary in the execution of an act they are required or authorized to do by law. In this instance, that act was the Complainant’s arrest, and it was authorized by law. Having spoken to the Complainant’s husband, who explained to the SO and WO #1 the details of the day’s events and the manner in which he had been struck by his wife, the officers were within their rights in seeking to take the Complainant into custody for the crime of assault. Thereafter, I am satisfied that the SO and WO #1 did not run afoul of the limits prescribed by the criminal law in the force they used to effect the Complainant’s arrest. The officers had reason to believe that the Complainant had been violent towards her husband. Now confronted by the same individual, angry with what was happening and becoming increasingly more aggressive in her posture toward the officers, the SO and WO #1 were entitled to respond with some force. In my view, that force, consisting of the officers taking a firm hold of the Complainant’s arms and wrists, guiding her to the floor and wresting her arms behind her back to be handcuffed, was a measured and proportional response to the situation at hand. On this record, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the force used by either the SO and WO #1 fell outside the range of what was reasonably necessary.
In the result, while I accept that the Complainant’s injury might well be the result of the force used during her arrest,  I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the officers were legally justified in doing what they did. According, there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.
Date: August 19, 2019
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) There is also evidence to suggest that the Complainant’s injury occurred as the result of her physical altercation with her husband prior to the officers’ arrival. [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.