SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCI-187
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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 serious injuries a 55-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn June 20, 2021, at 10:27 p.m., the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s injury.
The OPS advised that on June 20, 2021, at around 6:03 p.m., OPS police officers were dispatched to a 3rd floor apartment on Cooper Street regarding a domestic-type incident. The Complainant was reportedly harassing a family in the apartment. A civilian witness confined to a wheelchair went out into the hallway to see what was going on and the Complainant went into her apartment and locked the door. The Complainant was alone in the apartment with a 12-year-old girl, who had jumped from the 3rd floor balcony to get away from the Complainant. The police arrived and found that the Complainant had also jumped from the 3rd floor balcony prior to their arrival. It appeared the Complainant had suffered an injury to his spine. He was subsequently transported to hospital.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 06/21/2021 at 10:25 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 06/21/2021 at 11:42 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):55-year-old male interviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on July 12, 2021.
Civilian Witnesses (CW)CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between June 25 and 29, 2021.
Subject Officials (SO)SO #1 Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right.
SO #2 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
SO #1 was interviewed on July 27, 2021.
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between June 28, 2021 and July 27, 2021.
The Scene The scene was located at an apartment building on Cooper Street in Ottawa.
SIU Forensic Investigators did not attend the location and therefore no scene examination was conducted, and no diagram was produced.
911 CallsThe first call was made at 6:08:31 p.m., by the Complainant. The Complainant requested police attend an address on Cooper Street. The Complainant stated there were people after him, trying to kill him. The Complainant was at a woman’s residence on Cooper Street and she was going to shoot him. According to the Complainant, this woman was his girlfriend. The Complainant was heard speaking to a woman. The woman was pleading with the Complainant to let her into her apartment. The woman was heard yelling in the background calling for help. The Complainant walked away from the phone and was not responding to the dispatcher.
The second call was made at 6:17:17 p.m. The caller lived in a unit at the apartment building on Cooper Street. She said a man [now determined to be the Complainant] had broken into a 3rd floor apartment and abducted a child. She told police the Complainant was in the 3rd floor apartment with the child.
The third call was at 6:17:44 p.m. The unidentified caller requested that police attend a 3rd floor apartment on Cooper Street and provided the name of a girl inside the apartment.
The fourth call was made at 6:17:45 p.m. An unknown woman was heard screaming on the call. An unknown man’s voice [now believed to be that of SO #1] asked the woman to be quiet and go outside. The caller ended the phone call.
The fifth call was made at 6:18:59 p.m. The call was made by the Complainant. The Complainant requested police at the rear of the apartment building on Cooper Street. The Complainant told the call-taker he had jumped off the 3rd floor balcony. The Complainant said he thought he broke his back and was unable to walk. The Complainant requested an ambulance and then ended the call.
OPS Communications RecordingsThe recordings were made on June 20, 2021, and began at 6:08:07 p.m.
At 6:08:17 p.m., the dispatcher advised police units of a Mental Health Act (MHA) and suspicious persons call at an address on Cooper Street. The caller [now determined to be the Complainant] was in the lobby saying people were out to kill him.
At 6:09:46 p.m., the dispatcher reported over the radio that the Complainant was banging on apartment doors saying people were going to shoot him.
At 6:10:30 p.m., the dispatcher reported that it appeared the Complainant was going from floor to floor of the apartment building. According to the dispatcher, the Complainant was presently on the 3rd floor.
At 6:13:05 p.m., the dispatcher reported the Complainant was still on the 3rd floor in an apartment unit.
At 6:15:50 p.m., the dispatcher reported OPS had received a 911 call, and that the Complainant had apparently broken into a 3rd floor apartment.
At 6:16:24 p.m., the dispatcher asked police units if they copied the last transmission.
At 6:16:27 p.m., SO #1 or SO #2 reported they were on scene and there were no signs the apartment unit had been broken into.
At 6:17:06 p.m., the dispatcher reported that the Complainant had apparently jumped off the 3rd floor balcony and could be located at the back of the apartment building.
At 6:17:34 p.m., either SO #1 or SO #2 reported over the police radio that a 12-year-old girl was in the 3rd floor apartment and apparently there was an unknown male (the Complainant) inside with her, who had broken into the unit.
At 6:17:54 p.m., either SO #1 or SO #2 requested building management to their location.
At 6:18:24 p.m., either SO #1 or SO #2 reported over the police radio that the girl was likely in a hostage situation with the Complainant and that the police officers were going to breach the door to the 3rd floor unit.
At 6:18:58 p.m., WO #4 asked to be placed on the call.
At 6:19:02 p.m., either SO #1 or SO #2 reported that the 3rd floor apartment door had a steel frame and the police officers were having difficulty kicking-in the door. They asked for the status of the building management request.
At 6:19:17 p.m., either SO #1 or SO #2 remarked to get building management headed their way.
At 6:20:01 p.m., either SO #1 or SO #2 asked that responding police officers attend at the back of the building and keep an eye on the balcony.
At 6:20:10 p.m., the dispatcher reported receiving another call advising the Complainant had jumped off the balcony.
At 6:20:19 p.m., an unknown police unit asked if it was confirmed that there was a hostage situation. The dispatcher responded advising it could not be confirmed if there was a hostage situation, and that no police were yet inside the 3rd floor apartment.
At 6:20:55 p.m., either SO #1 or SO #2 reported breaching the door to the 3rd floor apartment. It was reported that the Complainant might have escaped out the north end of the building.
At 6:21:15 p.m., either SO #1 or SO #2 reported they were not in the apartment, yet they were kicking the door.
At 6:22:28 p.m., WO #1 reported over the police radio police officers had the Complainant at gunpoint at the north end of the apartment building.
At 6:23:25 p.m., either SO #1 or SO #2 reported they were in the 3rd floor apartment and it was empty - no one was inside the unit.
At 6:24:12 p.m., an unknown police officer reported police were in the 3rd floor apartment. The apartment was cleared. The Complainant was in custody outside of the apartment building. Everything was under control.
At 6:25:27 p.m., the dispatcher asked that a police officer go to another unit - apparently, there was a 12-year-old girl in that unit who had jumped from the balcony as well. The ambulance was on the way.
At 6:26:11 p.m., WO #2 or WO #1 requested an ambulance for the Complainant at the north end of the apartment building.
At 6:26:35 p.m., WO #2 or WO #1 reported that the Complainant told them he had a spinal injury.
At 6:30:03 p.m., SO #1 or SO #2 reported holding both the upstairs and downstairs scenes until further notice.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from the OPS between June 23, 2021 and September 22, 2021:
• 911 Calls;
• Communications Recordings;
• Notes and Investigative Report – WO #4;
• Notes and Investigative Report – WO #2;
• Notes and Investigative Report – WO #3;
• Notes and Investigative Report – WO #5;
• Notes and Investigative Report – WO #1;
• Investigative Report – SO #2;
• Notes – WO #6;
• Witness Statement – CW #3;
• Witness Statement – CW #2;
• Policy Mental Health Incidents;
• Policy Arrest;
• Policy Release of Persons;
• Policy Releasing Adults on Scene;
• Policy Hostage and Barricaded Persons; and
• Scene Photographs.
In the evening of June 20, 2021, the Complainant, in a state of drug and alcohol-induced paranoia, fell from the 3rd floor balcony of an apartment on Cooper Street, Ottawa. The impact with the ground resulted in a fracture of the Complainant’s back and broken foot. Within minutes of his fall, the Complainant was approached by several OPS officers and placed under arrest. He was subsequently taken to hospital where his injuries were diagnosed.
At the time of the Complainant’s fall, SO #1 and SO #2 were outside the locked door of the apartment attempting to get in. They had information that the Complainant had broken into the apartment and was holding a 12-year-old girl hostage. The officers had minutes before been dispatched to the address following a 911 call made by the Complainant indicating that people were chasing him within the apartment complex, attempting to kill him.
The Complainant was not of sound mind at the time. He had spent the past two days consuming alcohol and cocaine to excess with a female acquaintance who lived in the building. After leaving her apartment, the Complainant wandered the building from floor to floor, causing a disturbance, seeking help from assailants who were a figment of his imagination, and eventually entering an apartment on the 3rd floor with a 12-year-old girl inside. Afraid that the pounding on the door was from people intending to do him harm, the Complainant fled to the apartment balcony, where he scaled the railing, lost his grip and fell to the ground.
Concerned for the 12-year-old’s well-being, SO #1 and SO #2 decided to force open the door to the apartment. After several minutes of trying, they managed to breach the door and enter the apartment. No one was inside. The Complainant had already fallen. As had the girl. Panicked by the intruder in her home, the girl had also jumped from the balcony to get away from him prior to the Complainant’s fall. Though suffering a broken foot, the girl had been able to pick herself up and flee the area. The Complainant’s injuries prevented him from doing the same. Looking over the balcony railing, the officers saw the Complainant on the ground.
WO #2 and WO #1 had heard about the hostage situation and decided to make their way to the address. Arriving on scene, they learned that the suspect – the Complainant – had jumped from the balcony. The officers made their way to the rear of the building where they encountered the Complainant – he was lying beside a planter, and indicated he was unable to move because of his injuries. The officers approached a kneeling Complainant and were joined by WO #3. WO #2 and WO #3 took hold of the Complainant’s left and right arms, respectively, and laid him prone on the ground. When the Complainant refused to release his left arm from under his torso, WO #2 punched him three times on the left side, after which his arms were handcuffed behind his back.
Section 219, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
Section 221, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm221 Every one who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing bodily harm contrary to section 221 of the Criminal Code. The offence is reserved for serious cases of neglect that demonstrate a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives and safety of other persons. It is not made out, inter alia, unless the impugned conduct amounts to a marked and substantial departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. In the instant case, the issue is whether there was a want of care, sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction, in the manner in which one or both of the subject officials comported themselves that contributed to the Complainant’s injuries. In my view, there was not.
SO #1 and SO #2 were lawfully placed throughout their dealings with the Complainant, and conducted themselves with due care and regard for his well-being. The officers had been dispatched to the scene following calls about a disturbance at the address and subsequently came to learn that a 12-year-old girl was potentially being held hostage by the Complainant. In the circumstances, they had cause to forcibly enter the 3rd floor apartment based on the exigencies of the moment to do what they could to protect the girl. Accordingly, the officers cannot be blamed for their lawful and reasonable efforts to enter the apartment, even though their efforts appear to have been the catalyst for the Complainant’s decision to jump.
Though not the focus of the SIU investigation, I would add that the force used by WO #2 in arresting the Complainant, namely, three punches to the left side, appears to have been legally justified. The Complainant was clearly subject to arrest at the time as the individual who had reportedly broken into a 3rd floor apartment and held a young girl hostage. The officer would have had reason to believe that he was dealing with a potentially violent individual who had just committed a very serious offence. In the circumstances, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the three punches he struck, successful in having the Complainant release his left arm from underneath his torso, were more than was reasonably necessary to overcome the Complainant’s resistance and take him into custody.
For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the involved officers transgressed the limits of care or used excessive force in their dealings with the Complainant. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.
Date: October 15, 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.