SIU Director’s Report - Case # 18-OCI-221
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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 serious injuries sustained by a 16-year-old female.
Notification of the SIUOn July 23, 2018, at 2:39 p.m., the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) contacted the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and reported the following:
The OPS reported that on July 21, 2018, at 6:57 p.m., OPS officers responded to a family disturbance in the Orléans neighborhood of Ottawa. A woman (CW #1) had called the police to report that her daughter, the Complainant, had returned home intoxicated and an argument ensued.
When the police officers arrived, the Complainant was confrontational with her mother. The Complainant was subsequently grounded after charging towards a police officer. The Complainant was charged with several offences that were later dropped.
While en route to the police station, the Complainant complained of an injury. She was transported to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and diagnosed with a fractured left clavicle.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Complainant:16-year-old female interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
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 was located inside the residence in Orléans, Ottawa. The interaction with police officers and the Complainant took place on the main floor of a two-story home. The interaction occurred between the living room and the kitchen, in a hallway. The flooring was believed to be hardwood or laminate.
Communications RecordingsThe audio file consisted of telephone communications between CW #1 and OPS communications.
CW #1 dialed 911 seeking help from the police for her combative daughter, the Complainant. CW #1 advised OPS communications that her daughter was abusive, drunk and destroying plants in the backyard. Throughout the duration of the conversation there appeared to be a dynamic struggle between CW #1 and the Complainant.
CW #1 stated, “She’s coming after me.” The Complainant was heard screaming inaudible words and slurring her speech in the background of the audio recording. She frequently attempted to take the telephone from CW #1 and yelled, “Tell my mom to put the phone down. I’ve been trying to talk kindly since 6:00. She’s been going crazy.” CW #1 told the dispatcher, “She keeps beating me up.”
The dispatcher attempted to speak with the Complainant about what had occurred earlier in the day. CW #1 stated, “Have the police come through my front door because she may have knives. She has mental health issues. When she gets drunk she gets very abusive.” CW #1 learned shortly after that the Complainant had a butcher knife and was inside the powder room on the main floor. She reiterated the information to the dispatcher. The OPS dispatcher responded, “One of the officers is there upstairs in the house. Do you see him? Stay outside till a police officer comes and gets you.”
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the OPS:
- Call Hardcopy;
- General Occurrence;
- Investigative Action-WO #5;
- List of Involved Officers;
- Notes of all witness officers;
- Policy - Arrest;
- Policy - Use of Force;
- Use of Force Training dates; and
- Witness list.
WO #5 was the first to enter the home. He directed the Complainant, who was belligerent, to sit on the sofa in the family room, which she did. Together with WO #4, the officers tried speaking with her to calm her down. The SO, who had been speaking with CW #1 in the backyard, soon joined the other officers, entering the house from the rear through a patio door that opened into the kitchen. He too attempted to speak with the Complainant, but she was not interested. The Complainant stood up at one point and indicated she was going to speak with her mother in the backyard. The SO, who was standing in the hallway between the family room and kitchen, blocked her path and directed her to sit down again. She complied, but only for a short while. A few minutes later, the Complainant got up again and walked quickly toward the kitchen with her arms crossed in front of her chest and her hands clenched. She ran into the SO’s right side and was taken to the ground by the officer, whereupon the SO and WO #5 handcuffed her hands behind her back.
While in the SO’s cruiser on the way to the police station, the Complainant complained that her shoulder hurt. The officer decided to take her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a fractured left clavicle.
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 such force as is reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they are required or authorized to do by law. The SO and the other officers were lawfully inside the home, having been asked to attend the residence by CW #1 to deal with the Complainant. The Complainant, despite the officers’ best efforts to de-escalate the situation, bumped into the SO with intent in an effort to move past him. At that point, there were reasonable grounds, in my view, to arrest the Complainant for assault. The SO took hold of the Complainant’s right arm, as she made contact with him, and brought her down. Thereafter, the SO and WO #5 quickly handcuffed the Complainant without further incident. On this record, I am satisfied that the force used by the SO fell within the range of what was reasonably necessary in the circumstances to meet the Complainant’s violence and effect her arrest. In the result, while it may well be that the grounding broke the Complainant’s clavicle , there are no grounds to proceed with criminal charges against the SO and the file is closed.
Date: August 19, 2019
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) There is evidence to suggest that the Complainant’s injury may have also resulted from the physical altercation she had with her mother prior to the officer’s arrival at the home. [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.