SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TFP-167
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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 discharge of a firearm by the police at a 27-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn May 28, 2021, at 10:07 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of a police firearm discharge at the Complainant.
TPS advised that TPS officers responded to a neighbour dispute involving the Complainant and someone in an apartment at an apartment complex on May 28, 2021, at 8:00 p.m. TPS officers arrived and found the Complainant armed with a knife in the stairwell between the 7th and 8th floor. The Complainant fled into his apartment where police officers heard a woman screaming and entered to ensure everyone’s safety. The Complainant would not drop the weapon and one of the officers discharged a less than lethal shotgun. The Complainant was transported to hospital to be assessed, and there had been no serious injury diagnosed. The Complainant was to be returned to TPS custody, and face a bail hearing the following day.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 05/29/2021 at 6:48 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 05/29/2021 at 7:45 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 5
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):27-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on June 1, 2021.
Civilian Witnesses (CW)CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed on May 29, 2021.
Subject Official (SO)SO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The subject official was interviewed on June 14, 2021.
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #5 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #6 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
The witness officials were interviewed between June 2 and 4, 2021.
The Scene The incident occurred inside an apartment at 91 Cosburn Avenue. There was a shot shell on the floor right of the front door and a knife on top of a television. The furniture in the apartment had been knocked over. In the kitchen, there was a sock round on the floor, under a pizza bag near the fridge.
Police Communication RecordingsOn June 10, 2021, the SIU received relevant communication recordings from the TPS, a summary of which follows.
On May 28, 2021, at 8:01:57 p.m., CW #2 called the TPS to report a disturbance with a neighbour, the Complainant. He was kicking at her apartment door and attempting to turn the knob. The Complainant yelled in the background, “Open the fucking door!” On May 7, 2021, the Complainant had set her apartment door on fire. She opined he suffered from mental health concerns.
At 8:04:21 p.m., Officer #1 and Officer #2  were dispatched to an unknown trouble call in an apartment at 91 Cosburn Avenue where a neighbour was at the caller’s door kicking it.
At 8:13:28 p.m. - 8:14:45 p.m., Officer #2 saw the Complainant in possession of a knife and his whereabouts were unknown after he went into the stairwell. The Complainant had returned to his apartment, with a “large buck metal knife”.
At 8:15:02 p.m., Officer #2 requested that an officer with a less lethal shotgun attend while they attempted to speak to the Complainant through the door.
At 8:15:10 p.m., the SO was dispatched with a less lethal shotgun.
At 8:15:52 p.m., Officer #2 heard CW #1 crying within the Complainant’s apartment.
At 8:17:04 p.m. - 8:17:39 p.m., Officer #1 heard the Complainant threaten to stab or kill police, if the door was opened. The entry into the apartment was difficult.
At 8:18:57 p.m., police officers were unable to make verbal contact with CW #1.
At 8:21:11 p.m., WO #3 and WO #2 arrived.
At 8:22:00 p.m., Officer #1 reported the Complainant was first located in the stairwell, returning from CW #2’s apartment with a six to seven-inch buck knife. The Complainant retreated to his apartment when he saw the police. The apartment was quiet, and the Complainant remained non-compliant with police demands.
At 8:23:10 p.m., Officer #1 requested a ram, as police officers were unable to enter the apartment. CW #1 was heard yelling, “Leave me alone!”
At 8:24:07 p.m. - 8:24:26 p.m., Officer #1 indicated a less lethal shotgun had been deployed inside the apartment. One person was in custody.
Police Body Worn Camera (BWC) FootageOn June 1, 2021, the SIU received two DVDs containing BWC footage from the TPS. The video was date and time stamped, in colour, and with audio. The following is a summary of the footage.
WO #2’s BWC
At 8:22:51 p.m., WO #2 activated his BWC. The SO was armed with a less lethal shotgun. The SO, and WO #1, WO #3 and WO #2, approached the apartment.
At 8:23:12 p.m. - 8:23:19 p.m., Officer #1 and Officer #2 were at the door. Officer #1 began to kick the door in.
At 8:23:25 p.m., the door gave way after Officer #1 applied approximately five kicks. Several police officers yelled, “Drop it! He’s got it! Drop the knife right now!”
At 8:23:30 p.m. - 8:23:36 p.m., as she readied her shotgun, the SO said, “I got it right here. Get out of the fucking way!” The SO was in a low-ready position just outside the threshold of the door. A police officer yelled, “What’s your name?”
At 8:23:42 p.m., the sound of a shotgun racking was heard, and a round ejected.
At 8:23:46 p.m., WO #3 called out for CW #1 to, “Come to the front door, with nothing in your hands.” The SO stood near the stairwell door nearby, appearing to manipulate her shotgun. WO #3 told the police officers, “Create a hole for her.”
At 8:23:56 p.m., the SO entered the apartment after CW #1 exited and went towards WO #2 in the hallway.
At 8:24:01 p.m. - 8:26:13 p.m., WO #2 asked CW #1 if she was okay. WO #2, WO #3 and CW #1 entered the elevator. While in the elevator, WO #2 told CW #1 the door was kicked in because she was screaming.
At 8:27:43 p.m. - 8:28:30 p.m., WO #2 escorted CW #1 to their marked police vehicle. WO #2 informed her she was free to leave at any time and she was not detained.
At 8:29:59 p.m. - 8:51:32 p.m., WO #2 began to interview CW #1.
WO #3’s BWC
At 8:22:53 p.m. - 8:23:09 p.m., WO #3 activated his BWC. He rounded the hallway and encountered several police officers huddled around the Complainant’s apartment.
At 8:23:23 p.m., WO #3 activated the BWC microphone. Officer #1 breached the door by kicking it in. The SO, who was armed with a less lethal shotgun, stood behind in a low ready position. Several police officers yelled, “Drop the knife right now!”
At 8:23:31 p.m. - 8:23:35 p.m., after Officer #1 moved from his position, there was a person standing near the balcony door. Officer #2 yelled, “What’s your name?” as the SO stood in the threshold of the apartment.
At 8:23:42 p.m., a police officer positioned in the threshold of the stairwell door caught an ejected round.
At 8:23:46 p.m. - 8:23:56 p.m., the SO moved to the hallway and out of camera view. WO #3 called CW #1 to come to the front door. She exited apartment.
At 8:24:02 p.m., the SO entered the apartment and indicated she was going to shoot prior to discharging at least one round.
At 8:24:08 p.m., several police officers yelled, “Drop the knife!” Several red dots were visible on the Complainant.
At 8:24:13 p.m., the Complainant went prone on the floor, with his face down. A police officer directed the Complainant to put his hands behind his back.
At 8:24:28 p.m., the Complainant was in custody.
At 8:25:44 p.m., the SO was identified as the officer who deployed her less lethal shotgun.
At 8:26:14 p.m. - 8:26:51 p.m., WO #3 and WO #2 entered the elevator with CW #1. WO #2 explained to CW #1 that, “The door was kicked in because you were screaming. And we gotta make sure you were okay.”
At 8:28:30 p.m. - 8:30:44 p.m., WO #2 verbally engaged CW #1 as she sat in the rear seat of their police vehicle. WO #3 deactivated his BWC.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from TPS between May 31, 2021 and June 10, 2021:
• Form 11 Release Order;
• General Occurrence;
• Communication Recordings;
• BWC Footage;
• Scene Photographs;
• Notes-WO #6;
• Notes-WO #3;
• Notes-the SO;
• Notes-WO #2;
• Notes-WO #5;
• Notes-WO #1;
• Notes-WO #4;
• TPS Policy-Less Lethal Shotguns;
• TPS Policy-Use of Force; and
• TPS Training-Less Lethal Shotgun Training-the SO.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU received the following records from other sources:
• Ambulance Call Record - Toronto Paramedic Services;
• Incident Summary - Toronto Paramedic Services; and
• Medical Record - Michael Garron Hospital.
In the evening of May 28, 2021, the TPS received a 911 call from CW #2. CW #2, a resident of an apartment at 91 Cosburn Avenue, reported that a male – the Complainant – was kicking at her door attempting to force his way in. Police officers were dispatched to investigate.
The first police officers arrived at the scene at about 8:15 p.m. They reported seeing the Complainant in the possession of a knife and returning to his apartment. Officer #1 and Officer #2 gathered outside the door of the apartment and made a request that an officer with a less lethal shotgun attend the scene.
The Complainant was in his apartment with an acquaintance – CW #1. He refused to drop the knife and open the door, as directed by the officers outside his door, and threatened to stab police officers who entered his apartment. CW #1 sought to leave the apartment a few times, but was prevented from doing so by the Complainant. She hid behind a piece of furniture and began to cry.
Concerned for CW #1’s safety, Officer #1 kicked in the door. In and around the threshold of the open doorway, the officers yelled at the Complainant to drop the knife he had in his hands and lower himself to the floor. The Complainant refused to do either. At the direction of WO #3, CW #1 fled the unit into the hallway and was escorted away from the scene by officers.
The SO was in the possession of a less lethal shotgun, had heard the call for the weapon, and was in the hallway outside the Complainant’s apartment door when it was breached. From the threshold of the doorway, the SO had taken aim at the Complainant and pulled the trigger of her weapon, but it misfired. She was in the hallway ejecting the cartridge that did not fire and chambering another round when CW #1 exited the apartment. Moments later, the SO entered the apartment, took aim at the Complainant’s torso, and fired again. This time, the “bean bag” round struck the Complainant in the torso.
The Complainant, who was standing in the kitchen at the time, felt the impact of the round but was not immediately incapacitated. Instead, he took a few steps, after which he dropped the knife and went to the floor.
With the knife no longer in the Complainant’s possession, officers approached his location on the floor and secured him in handcuffs.
The Complainant was taken from the scene to hospital where he was examined. Aside from bruising to his left upper chest, he had not suffered any serious injury.
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. Given the information provided to the officers at dispatch, and what they gathered directly at the scene in speaking with CW #2 and seeing the Complainant return to his apartment with a knife, the Complainant was clearly subject to arrest. Moreover, the officers were within their rights in forcing open the Complainant’s door and arresting him inside his residence. Given the circumstances that prevailed, including the presence of CW #1 in the apartment who had been heard crying, there were exigent circumstances at play justifying the officers’ entry.
I am also satisfied that the force used by the SO was not excessive. By the time she discharged her less lethal shotgun, the Complainant had been given repeated opportunity to dispossess himself of the knife and surrender to police. The knife constituted a dangerous weapon capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm and death, and the Complainant had shown a willingness to use it in the course of his confrontation with CW #2 (he had stabbed at the door with the knife) and in his threats to harm the officers with it should they enter the apartment. On this record, it was reasonable to seek to neutralize the potential lethal risk presented by the Complainant from a distance via a less lethal use of force. While the effects of the shotgun discharge were not immediate, they do appear to have been successful in persuading the Complainant to drop the knife and surrender himself on the floor. No further force was brought to bear by the officers.
For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO comported herself other than lawfully throughout her engagement with the Complainant. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the officer, and the file is closed.
Date: September 24, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) Officer #1 and Officer #2 were not interviewed by the SIU. [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.