SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCI-165
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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 injury a 42-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered during an interaction with police.
Notification of the SIUOn May 26, 2021, the London Police Service (LPS) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
LPS advised that on May 25, 2021, at 9:16 a.m., at High Street and Front Street, the Complainant was arrested for possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose by the Subject Official (SO). The SO had drawn his Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) but did not discharge it. There was a struggle and, when Witness Official (WO) #1 and WO #2 arrived, the Complainant had already been subdued. The Complainant was taken to London Health Sciences Centre, Victoria Hospital where he refused treatment but was formed under the Mental Health Act. The Complainant was released from police custody at the hospital on an Appearance Notice. On May 26, 2021, at 12:45 p.m., a message was left for police by the hospital indicating that the Complainant had suffered a fractured right hip.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 05/27/2021 at 7:31 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 05/27/2021 at 8:20 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):42-year-old male, declined to provide interview
Civilian Witness (CW)CW Interviewed
The civilian witness was interviewed on May 27, 2021.
Subject OfficialSO Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right. Notes received and reviewed.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on June 2, 2021.
The Scene This incident occurred in the area of the northwest corner of the intersection of Grand Avenue and High Street, London. There was no scene examination carried out.
911 Call to the LPSA man [now known to have been the CW] called 911 requesting the police. He advised the operator that there was a man [now known to have been the Complainant] sitting on a concrete block at the corner of Front Street and High Street. The Complainant appeared to be in his fifties with no shirt on and was waving a steak knife in the air. The 911 operator advised that if something should change to call back.
LPS Radio Communications (not date or time stamped)A caller had contacted the 911 centre and advised the operator that there was a man [now known to be the Complainant] sitting on a cement barrier at the intersection of Front Street and High Street waving a steak knife in the air and laughing. The man was in his fifties and not wearing a shirt.
Dispatch went over the air to all cars in 1 Sector, gave a description of the Complainant, and advised of his location and that he was waving a steak knife in the air laughing at himself.
The SO advised that the Complainant was south of Thomas James Drive and High Street and had his shirt on. He then advised the man he saw was not the Complainant and that the Complainant was further north on High Street.
WO #1 advised that the Complainant was at High Street and Grand Avenue on the north side. A passerby advised that he knew the Complainant.
The SO advised that he took the Complainant down to the ground and requested emergency medical services (EMS) for a sore ankle. The Complainant was heard in the background saying, “Did nothing man.”
The EMS arrived on scene 9:32 a.m.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from LPS between May 28, 2021 and June 8, 2021:
• General Occurrence Report;• Communication Recordings;• Narrative-WO #2;• Memo Book Notes – WO #1;• Narrative-WO #1;• Memo Book Notes – WO #2;• Memo Book Notes – the SO;• Narrative-the SO;• Photograph of Knife;• Procedure-Arrest; and• Procedure-Use of Force.
In the morning of May 25, 2021, a concerned citizen contacted police to report a man behaving strangely and waving a steak knife in the air. The man was the Complainant. He was in the area of High Street and Front Street at the time. Police officers were dispatched to investigate.
Shortly after 9:00 a.m., the SO located the Complainant at the northwest corner of High Street and Grand Avenue. The officer parked his cruiser across the sidewalk in front of a convenience store, exited and confronted the Complainant. The Complainant, his right hand in a right pant pocket, refused to show his hands when directed by the SO. He ignored the officer and walked towards High Street.
The SO followed the Complainant from behind and told him to stop as he was under arrest. When he did not do so, the officer considered using his CEW but decided against its deployment fearing it could cause injury given the knife he suspected was in the Complainant’s pocket. Instead, the SO closed the distance to the Complainant and kicked out his right leg from under him. The Complainant was felled from the kick and landed on High Street, a short distance north of Grand Avenue.
Shortly after the takedown, the Complainant was handcuffed with the assistance of WO #2 and WO #1, who were on scene at the time. The Complainant immediately complained of pain to his right hip, and an ambulance was called.
The Complainant was taken from the scene to hospital where he was held for a mental health assessment and diagnosed with a fractured right hip.
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 immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided such force was reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they were authorized or required to do by law. I am satisfied that the SO was proceeding lawfully to arrest the Complainant for being in possession of a weapon dangerous to the public. Moments earlier, he had been seen waving a knife in the air and acting oddly, and he had failed to show his hands when directed by the officer.
I am further satisfied that the force used by the SO was reasonably necessary in aid of the Complainant’s arrest. The officer had reason to fear that the Complainant still had a knife in his possession, and he was refusing to remove his hands from his pockets. In the circumstances, the officer acted sensibly in moving to take the Complainant to the ground as quickly as possible without having to engage him in a wrestling match first, which would have increased the risk of injury in the event the Complainant did have a knife. The kick delivered by the officer accomplished that objective in a fashion that was proportionate to the situation at hand. As it turned out, the Complainant did, in fact, have a knife in his right pocket, which was seized by the officers in a search following his arrest.
In the result, while it is unfortunate that the Complainant’s right hip was broken in the takedown performed by the SO, I am satisfied that the force used by the officer was legally justified. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the SO, and the file is closed.
Date: September 22, 2021
Electronically approved 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.