SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCD-035
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the SIU Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence was committed. If such grounds exist, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the official. Alternatively, in cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director cannot lay charges. Where no charges are laid, a report of the investigation is prepared and released publicly, except in the case of reports dealing with allegations of sexual assault, in which case the SIU Director may consult with the affected person and exercise a discretion to not publicly release the report having regard to the affected person’s privacy interests.
Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019Pursuant to section 34, certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The name of, and any information identifying, a subject official, witness official, civilian witness or affected person.
- Information that may result in the identity of a person who reported that they were sexually assaulted being revealed in connection with the sexual assault.
- Information that, in the opinion of the SIU Director, could lead to a risk of serious harm to a person.
- Information that discloses investigative techniques or procedures.
- Information, the release of which is prohibited or restricted by law.
- Information in which a person’s privacy interest in not having the information published clearly outweighs the public interest in having the information published.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActPursuant to section14 (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 that could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
Pursuant to section 21 (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The names of persons, including civilian witnesses, and subject and witness officials;
- 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.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may also have 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.
A person sustains a “serious injury” for purposes of the SIU’s jurisdiction if they: sustain an injury as a result of which they are admitted to hospital; suffer a fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib or vertebra; suffer burns to a significant proportion of their body; lose any portion of their body; or, as a result of an injury, experience a loss of vision or hearing.
In addition, a “serious injury” means any other injury sustained by a person that is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into the death of a 24-year-old woman (the “Complainant”) during an interaction with the police.
Notification of the SIUOn February 1, 2021, at 3:05 p.m., the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) contacted the SIU and reported the following.
On that date, at about 1:58 p.m., DRPS received calls in relation to a person on the roof of a parking structure located at 1 Mary Street North in Oshawa. When police arrived, they located the Complainant on the roof and attempted to talk to her. The Complainant removed her backpack and jumped from the roof level falling seven floors. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) attended and the Complainant was pronounced deceased.
The Subject Official (SO) and Witness Official (WO) #1 were the involved officers.
Date and time team dispatched: 02/01/2021 at 4:46 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 02/01/2021 at 5:15 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):
24-year-old female, deceased
Civilian Witnesses (CW)CW #1 Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed
CW #6 Interviewed
CW #7 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between February 2, 2021 and March 4, 2021.
Subject OfficialSO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The subject official was interviewed on February 18, 2021.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between February 2 and 9, 2021.
The scene was a City of Oshawa Parking Garage at 1 Mary Street North, on the southeast corner of Bond Street East and Mary Street North. It was a multi-level public parking garage consisting of six enclosed levels of parking with the seventh level being an open-air rooftop. The garage could be accessed via Bond Street East on the north and King Street East on the south. At the northeast corner of the rooftop was a brick pillar rising up from the retaining wall that surrounded the rooftop parking area. There was a small peaked cap on the top of this pillar, and this was the cap that the Complainant was standing on prior to her falling to the ground.
The height of the bordering walls on the rooftop (north and east walls) to pavement (roof level) was 1.1 metres, and the width of the walls (sloped ledges – north and east walls) was 0.43 metres. The top of the wall (sloped ledge) to the top of the flat, concrete post crown was 0.43 metres.
From the top of the flat, concrete crown/cap to ground/street level (where the Complainant came to rest) was 24.5 metres.
Figure 1 - City of Oshawa parking garage at 1 Mary Street North
Figure 2 – Northeast corner of the parking garage rooftop
Physical Evidence SIU Forensic Investigators collected and examined the Complainant’s clothing, various pieces of identification and personal effects. Torn pieces of paper found by WO #5 and turned over to SIU Forensic Investigators were arranged and a partial Form 42 (MHA) was created. The form had the Complainant’s name on it. An additional item examined from the backpack was a small paper cue tag dated February 1, 2021 and time stamped 12:48:50. Instructions on the tag directed the holder to have a seat in the triage waiting room. No medical facility, medical clinic or hospital name was printed on the tag.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
Summary of DRPS Communications Recordings (received by SIU on February 3, 2021)At 1:59 p.m., WO #1, and the SO and another officer, acknowledged the call, and the SO confirmed visual observations of the Complainant standing on the northeast corner of the garage.
At 2:00 p.m., the SO advised he was in the parking garage and proceeding to the roof area.
At 2:04:26 p.m., WO #5 advised the Complainant was looking down, had her hands in her pocket, and appeared to be speaking with the SO.
At 2:05:04 p.m., WO #5 advised the SO maintained a distance from the Complainant and everything seemed calm. She saw the Complainant take off her backpack and transfer it to the front of her body.
At 2:05:54 p.m., WO #1 advised the SO was verbally engaged with the Complainant.
At 2:06:21 p.m., WO #1 advised the Complainant had fallen off the ledge and ordered EMS.
At 2:07:04 p.m., WO #3 advised that cardiopulmonary resuscitation had commenced, and an ambulance was on scene.
At 2:09 p.m., the SO advised he interacted with the Complainant the day prior in the same part of the garage.
At 2:24 p.m., WO #5 advised the Complainant had been pronounced deceased on scene.
At 4:31 p.m., WO #4 advised the coroner had arrived on scene.
At 5:45 p.m., the Complainant was removed from the scene.
Summary of Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) footage from City of Oshawa Parking Garage - 1 Mary Street, Oshawa (received by SIU Investigators on February 8, 2021)The footage was date and time stamped, in colour, and contained no audio. It commenced on February 1, 2021, at 1:30:20 p.m. The camera was affixed on the south side of the parking garage with a view of the parking lot.
At 1:48:32 p.m., the Complainant exited the northeast stairwell at roof level and stood idle at the door with her hands in her pockets. She wore a backpack on her back.
At 1:48:55 p.m., the Complainant walked over a small snowbank, placed her hands on the north wall and looked over the edge.
At 1:50:22 p.m., the Complainant was seated on the north ledge, with her feet and head facing south and both hands rested on either side of her body. She then traversed the north wall on her buttocks and attempted to swing her legs over the wall but could not do so.
At 1:51:09 p.m., the Complainant continued to move towards the northeast corner on her buttocks and swung her legs over the wall.
At 1:51:18 p.m., the Complainant moved her upper body and looked over the wall at 1:52 p.m.
At 2:01:27 p.m., the Complainant stood on the northeast post, with her head facing east.
At 2:01:44 p.m., a dark-coloured vehicle [now known to be operated by the SO] arrived at roof level. The SO exited his vehicle and walked towards the Complainant. The Complainant looked west towards him.
At 2:02:04 p.m., as the Complainant faced east, the SO proceeded over the snowbank and appeared to offer his right hand to the Complainant.
At 2:02:16 p.m., the SO stepped off the snowbank.
At 2:03:13 p.m., while verbally engaged with the SO, the Complainant looked over the east wall.
At 2:04:15 p.m., the SO again offered his right hand to the Complainant, who was facing west on the ledge.
At 2:04:30 p.m., a police officer [now known to be WO #1] approached from the south side of the parking garage and made his way slowly to the SO’s police vehicle.
At 2:04:55 p.m., the Complainant transferred her backpack from the back of her body to the front.
At 2:06:17 p.m., the Complainant, while standing atop the post, appeared to adjust the straps on her backpack, then fell backwards off the post.
At 2:06:29 p.m., the SO looked over the east wall and he and WO #1 went to the passenger side of the SO’s police vehicle.
At 2:20:28 p.m., a marked police vehicle arrived from the south and the SO spoke with the driver of that vehicle who had brought crime scene tape to the rooftop.
At 2:27:16 p.m., the SO removed his duty bag from his police vehicle and walked out of camera view.
At 2:39:57 p.m., the recording ends.
Materials Obtained from Police Service
Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from the DRPS between February 2 and 12, 2021:
- Computer-assisted Dispatch Detailed Call Summary;
- Civilian Witness List;
- Involved Officers List;
- Policy-Persons in Crisis and Attempted Suicide;
- General Occurrence Hardcopies (x3);
- Supplemental Occurrence Report;
- Narrative-WO #3;
- Narrative-WO #4;
- Narrative-WO #2;
- Narrative-the SO;
- Narrative-WO #6;
- Narrative-WO #5;
- Notes-WO #3;
- Notes-WO #4;
- Notes-WO #1;
- Notes-WO #2;
- Notes-the SO;
- Notes-WO #6;
- Notes-WO #5; and
- Training Record-the SO-Learning History.
Materials Obtained from Other Sources
The SIU received the following records from other sources between February 8, 2021 and March 3, 2021:
- CCTV Footage - City of Oshawa Parking Garage; and
- Photos from cellular telephone of CW #7.
Just before 2:00 p.m. of February 1, 2021, the DRPS started receiving 911 calls about a woman – the Complainant – standing precariously on the edge of the rooftop of the parking facility on the southeast corner of Mary Street North and Bond Street East. Despondent with the recent breakdown of a relationship, the Complainant had decided to take her life by jumping from the building. The Complainant had been at the same facility the day before also contemplating suicide. On that occasion, a responding police officer had managed to persuade her to accompany him to hospital where she was admitted for a 72-hour mental health assessment. Police officers were dispatched to investigate.
The SO was the first to arrive at the scene. He drove his cruiser up to the rooftop level of the parking structure and parked it facing northeast a distance from the northeast corner of the roof. The Complainant was standing on the cap of a pillar at the northeast corner of the building.
The SO exited his cruiser, slowly approached the Complainant, and tried to talk her to safety. The Complainant recognized the SO. She told the officer that she had “chickened out” the day before, but was adamant that she would follow through on this occasion. The SO offered the Complainant his right hand a couple of times, but she refused to take it. She implored the officer to look away so he would not have to see her jump.
About five minutes into their interaction, the Complainant, while facing the officer, proclaimed, “I’m going to jump,” after which she appeared to lose her balance off the cap and fell backwards from the building. She descended about 24 metres to ground level.
Paramedics and officers quickly attended to the Complainant on the ground. Despite their efforts, the Complainant was pronounced deceased at the scene at about 2:25 p.m.
Cause of DeathThe pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was most likely due to “blunt impact trauma”.
Sections 219 and 20, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
(a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing death contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code. The offence is reserved for conduct resulting in death that demonstrates a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of others. It is predicated, in part, on a lack of care that departs markedly and substantially from a reasonable standard of care in the circumstances. In the instant case, the issue is whether there was a want of care in the manner in which the SO interacted with the Complainant that caused or contributed to her death and was so egregious as to attract criminal liability. Clearly, in my view, there was not.
The SO was in the lawful discharge of his duties when he arrived at the rooftop and attempted to prevent the Complainant doing harm to herself. An officer’s foremost obligation is the protection and preservation of life. Given the information conveyed at dispatch about a woman at grave risk of falling from the building, the SO was duty bound to do his part to help the Complainant.
Once on the rooftop, I am satisfied that the SO comported himself with due care and regard for the Complainant’s health and well-being. The SO was a qualified mental health response officer and had previously worked with the DRPS Mobile Mental Health Support Unit. Though no longer with that team, the SO continued to be deployed to mental health calls dealing with persons in crisis. This was one of those calls. Indeed, the SO had put his skills to good use the day before when he encountered the Complainant in the stairwell of the parking garage and was able to prevail on her to attend hospital. There is no reason in the evidence to doubt that the SO brought those same skills to bear in dealing with the Complainant as she stood perilously at the building’s edge. He approached the Complainant slowly and maintained his distance when he had neared to within a few metres so as not to provoke or pressure the Complainant. From that position, he spoke to the Complainant with compassion and carefully extended his arm toward her, hoping she would reach for it. Regrettably, the Complainant could not be dissuaded. Whether she intentionally jumped or lost her balance on the cap of the pillar at the building’s edge is unclear. Be that as it may, there is no evidence to suggest that the SO could have done anything differently to avoid the Complainant’s tragic death. A more proactive posture, for example, was out of the question given the Complainant’s state of mind and her hazardous position.
In the result, as I am satisfied that the SO comported himself within the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: May 31, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The following records contain sensitive personal information and are not being released pursuant to section 34(2) of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019. The material portions of the records are summarized below. [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.