SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCD-204
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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 22-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn July 1, 2021, at 6:11 p.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
At 4:10 p.m., PRP police officers responded to a 911 call initiated by the Complainant’s mother, Civilian Witness (CW) #1, for a report of shots fired. Upon their arrival in the front lobby, Witness Officer (WO) #4, WO #1 and WO #2 saw the Complainant and confronted him. The Complainant went vital signs absent (VSA) during their contact. No physical restraint was apparently used. When WO #3 and WO #5 arrived on scene, they commenced cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a pulse was obtained. The Complainant was transported to Brampton Civic Hospital (BCH), where he was admitted and in stable condition from a possible overdose.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 07/01/2021 at 7:39 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 07/01/2021 at 8:48 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
A canvass for closed-circuit television (CCTV) data at the apartment complex was completed and footage obtained.
The SIU photographed and examined the relevant areas within the apartment complex.
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):22-year-old male, deceased
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed on July 5, 2021, and July 8, 2021.
Subject OfficialsSO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The subject official was interviewed on August 26, 2021.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between July 2, 2021 and July 7, 2021.
The Scene On July 1, 2021, at 8:48 p.m., SIU investigators arrived on scene.
The scene was located in a high-rise apartment building in the area of Steeles Avenue West and Hurontario Street, Brampton. Several police vehicles were parked at the front and side of the building. The main entrance was secured with police banner, and three external CCTV cameras were affixed near the entrance.
The main entrance contained two sets of doors, the inner door requiring remote access. The lower glass panel of the inner door, which was shattered, had been forced out of the frame and small shards of glass were scattered on the floor inside the door. Once inside the inner door, there was another CCTV camera overlooking the lobby. There were no signs of violence or disturbance in the lobby other than the broken glass door panel.
The following three scenes were held by members of the PRP: a) the west hallway where the Complainant was located; b) the west stairwell between the second and fifth floors where various items were located; and, c) outside a unit where CW #1 had initiated the 911 call.
Outside the lobby in the west hallway, there was a police evidence bag containing medical debris, a debit card with no name, and a transit transfer pass. On the second floor landing, a take-out meal of pasta had been dropped on the ground. In between the second and third floor landing, there was a circular hole in the drywall, akin to someone kicking at the wall. There was fresh dust on the ground beneath the hole. Between the fifth and sixth floor, there was a blue pen that had been taken apart and pieces scattered. The shaft of the pen created a tube that could be used to snort narcotics. A piece of plastic wrap that might have contained narcotics was located on the floor next to a broken cell phone. The above items were photographed but not obtained by the SIU as there was no nexus between these items and the Complainant at the time.
Physical Evidence On July 5, 2021, an SIU forensic investigator attended PRP 22 Division to obtain the Complainant’s effects that had been seized by PRP forensic investigative services at BCH. The items were:
• An analog watch with blue band. There was a small quantity of blood on the watch that was smeared;
• Blue jeans with cuts on both pant legs - no signs of bloodstains;
• Red BIC lighter located in the right pocket of the jeans;
• Black muscle shirt with gold design on the front. The shoulder and front straps had been cut;
• Black gym shorts with gold accents; and
• Green, pink and white hoody, with the sleeves and front cut.
Video/Audio/Photographic EvidenceOn July 7, 2021, the SIU received relevant communication recordings from the PRP. A summary of the material information therein follows.
PRP Phone Communications
At 4:10:38 p.m., a woman [now known to be CW #1] called 911 to report possible shots fired in the stairwell next to her unit. She then heard a man screaming and moaning, akin to someone injured, and then heard three loud consecutive bangs. CW #1 heard someone run up or down the stairs, and she returned to her unit and locked herself in the bathroom.
CW #1 told the 911 call-taker she was scared because her son [now known to be the Complainant], who suffered from mental illness, was “in and out” of the unit and frequented the stairs. She last saw the Complainant approximately 30 minutes before she heard the loud bangs.
At 4:12:14 p.m., EMS was requested to stage at a nearby business for reports of gunshots in the stairwell.
At 4:14:43 p.m., the tactical unit was requested.
At 4:18:36 p.m., a communications supervisor advised the detective inspector that a sergeant had tased someone in the stairwell.
At 4:21:12 p.m., a communications supervisor updated the detective inspector that the Complainant was unresponsive but breathing. The Complainant had prior knife wounds, and a rush on EMS was requested for a possible seizure.
PRP Radio CommunicationsAt 4:11:31 p.m., WO #2 and WO #1 were dispatched to a weapons dangerous occurrence for reports of shots fired in the stairwell.
At 4:13:05 p.m., the dispatcher provided the unit number of the 911 caller [now known to be CW #1]. CW #1 had reported hearing two gunshots and then someone screaming. EMS was en route and was to stage at a nearby business. WO #1 arrived on scene. WO #4 directed responding units to proceed to the scene for public safety, and requested that additional units set up a perimeter.
At 4:14:19 p.m., WO #4 was on scene with two other units [now known to be WO #1 and WO #2]. He requested that the tactical unit attend.
At 4:16:04 p.m., WO #4 advised the door was to be breached for public safety. He saw a man [now known to be the Complainant] walk past police. WO #4 requested a hold on radio transmissions.
At 4:17:07 p.m., a male officer yelled, “Hands up! Hands up!” WO #4 requested a rush for paramedics for a person experiencing a seizure.
At 4:18:35 p.m., WO #4 requested that the hold on radio transmissions remain and again requested a rush on EMS. Other police officers began to search the building.
At 4:19:17 p.m., WO #4 again requested a rush on EMS to attend the front doors of the apartment building for a person in a seizure. Police officers continued to clear the stairwell.
At 4:20:32 p.m., WO #4 advised the Complainant had superficial knife wounds and did not know if he had sustained any gunshot wounds. The Complainant was unresponsive and had a pulse.
At 4:22:14 p.m., EMS was in the area. After the west stairwell was cleared, WO #2 advised he had located a crack pipe, flip flops and cellphone on the fifth floor.
At 4:25:59 p.m., WO #4 directed WO #1 to hold his location.
At 4:28:31 p.m., two police constables advised they had cleared the east stairwell. No victims were located.
At 4:36:07 p.m., a detective inspector arrived on scene. WO #4 advised that the Complainant went VSA and directed police officers to hold the fifth-floor west stairwell and a secondary scene where the Complainant was found.
At 4:37:26 p.m., WO #1 found empty baggies on the fifth floor.
At 4:45:42 p.m., the detective inspector requested that an additional sergeant attend.
At 4:49:24 p.m., a second detective inspector requested to be placed on the call.
At 4:54:03 p.m., a police constable was on board the ambulance with the Complainant for transport to BCH.
At 1706:42 p.m., the second detective inspector requested that a full ranking sergeant from another division attend.
Body Worn Camera—WO #1On July 2, 2021, the SIU received a copy of WO #1’s body worn camera footage. The video was time and date stamped, in colour, and contained audio. A summary of the material information therein follows.
At 4:15 p.m., WO #1 walked towards the main entrance of the apartment building. The camera view was obstructed by a shield he was carrying. WO #1 attempted to rattle the locked lobby doors and banged on the glass door to garner the attention of anyone inside. A police officer was yelling at someone inside the building.
Following more banging on the door, the glass broke, and the police officers entered the apartment complex lobby. Police officers immediately started yelling, “Put your hands up! Put your hands up! Put your hands up!” followed by “Spread your arms out, spread your arms out to the side. Do it now!” A police officer yelled, “Hands right now!”
At 4:16 p.m., an officer yelled, “Hands up! Lie on your stomach and put your hands to your sides right now!” One police officer asked, “Do you have your taser ready?” followed by more commands to, “Put your hands to your side!”
At 4:17 p.m., a police officer requested an ambulance for a person with a seizure. WO #1 advised that he and WO #2 would check the stairwell and move down the hall. The camera captured both police officers walking up the stairs with shields to the top floor and back down.
CCTV from the Apartment BuildingOn July 2, 2021, SIU investigators attended the apartment building to canvass the apartment complex for CCTV footage. There were two cameras on the front entrance overhang, one camera in the front entrance, and a camera facing towards the front entrance. There were cameras in all three elevators and inside the west stairwell, capturing the stairs but not the hallway. The surveillance footage was downloaded and a copy provided to investigators on a USB. The cameras were date and time stamped, in colour and contained no audio. The following is a summary of the material information.
At 4:09 p.m., a PRP police vehicle [now known to be operated by WO #1] arrived first on scene. The officer drove past the main entrance doors, exited his police vehicle, and retrieved a large armoured vest, helmet, shield, and C8 rifle from his trunk.
At 4:10 p.m., a second PRP police vehicle [now known to be operated by WO #2] arrived on scene. The officer parked in the driveway before the main entrance, exited his police vehicle and walked towards WO #1, who provided him the ballistic shield. WO #1 and WO #2 then entered the front entrance of the apartment complex.
At 4:11 p.m., a third PRP police vehicle [now known to be operated by WO #4] arrived on scene. WO #4 encountered WO #1 and WO #2 inside the building vestibule attempting to garner the attention of anyone passing by. While WO #1 banged and kicked on the glass door, a male [now known to be the Complainant] walked past the elevators in an east to west direction. He did not look in the direction of the police officers, who were attempting to gain entry into the building and out of camera view. The Complainant was wearing a red, white, and green jacket and dark pants. He was shoeless.
WO #1 used his baton to strike the glass and, after the glass was shattered, he entered the lobby followed by WO #2 and WO #4. The police officers walked towards the elevators and saw the Complainant in the west hallway. The Complainant’s position was not seen as it was outside of camera view.
At 4:13 p.m., two additional police officers [now known to be WO #3 and WO #5] arrived on scene, entered the front entrance, and encountered WO #1, WO #2 and WO #4. WO #4 was positioned in the east hallway, while WO #1 and WO #2 went to the west stairwell and up the stairs.
At 4:26 p.m., two Peel EMS vehicles arrived at the front of the building and several paramedics entered the building with a stretcher. Several paramedics rendered aid to the Complainant and transferred him to a stretcher.
At 4:39 p.m., the Complainant was transported out via the front entrance and loaded into the back of an ambulance.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the PRP:
• Body Worn Camera Records;
• Communications Recordings;
• Computer-Assisted Dispatch Incident History;
• Notes of the WOs and SO;
• Occurrence Report;
• Officer Involvement list;
• Person Details Report;
• PRP Directive - Incident Response;
• PRP Directive - Prisoner Care and Control;
• PRP Directive - First Aid;
• PRP Directive - Active Shooter Attacker - Immediate Rapid Deployment;
• PRP Directive - Naloxone Nasal Spray;
• PRP Occurrence;
• Training Records for Six Involved Officers;
• Training-Appendix A- Highly Toxic Substances Handling Pocket Guide;
• Training-Direct Threat Care - Lesson Plan;
• Training-Indirect Threat Care - Lesson Plan;
• Training-Naloxone Nasal Spray Administration; and
• Training-Rescue Breathing and Automated External Defibrillator.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
• CCTV footage from apartment building; and
• Ambulance Call Report-Peel EMS.
In the afternoon of July 1, 2021, CW #1 called police to report what she believed were possible gunshots that had been fired in the fifth-floor stairwell of her apartment building Brampton. CW #1 was the Complainant’s mother. Officers were dispatched to the scene.
WO #1 and WO #2, followed shortly by WO #4, were the first officers to arrive at the building. Trying and failing to draw the attention of any of the building’s residents to unlock and open the interior glass entry/exit door, WO #1 used his baton to break the glass and gain entry. The officer was armed with a C8 rifle; his partner had a ballistic shield in hand.
Just before the forced entry, the Complainant had walked past the entry/exit door in an east-west direction towards the west corridor, seemingly oblivious to the banging on the door by the officers. Whether because of a physical condition, mental illness or the ingestion of drugs, or some combination of the three, the Complainant was not of sound mind. After travelling a distance west in the corridor, he stopped as the officers shouted at him from behind to get on the floor and show his hands. The Complainant’s physical movements became erratic and unstable. He eventually sat himself down on the hallway floor and then lay on his back, his head in the direction of the officers east of his position.
WO #3 and WO #5 were the next on scene, arriving in the hallway around the time the Complainant was laying himself flat on the floor. They joined WO #1 and WO #2 as they made their way toward the Complainant, who was by then frothing at the mouth and convulsing. WO #3 and WO #5 handcuffed the Complainant’s arms to the front of his body. WO #1 and WO #2 pushed forward down the hallway and entered the stairwell. As far as the officers knew at the time, there was possibly an armed individual in the building.
Some five minutes after the Complainant had been handcuffed, the SO arrived at the building at about 4:20 p.m. WO #3 had been tending to the Complainant, who appeared to be experiencing seizures. The officer told the SO that the Complainant was conscious and breathing, but that he was not responding to questions. He was further advised that WO #3 had located a clear plastic bag on the Complainant’s person with what was believed to contain cocaine.
Paramedics were summoned, arrived at the building at about 4:33 p.m., and took charge of the Complainant’s care. By that time, the Complainant was in obvious respiratory distress. The Complainant was placed on a stretcher for transport to the ambulance, and lost his vital signs. The paramedics commenced CPR.
The Complainant regained a pulse at hospital. He died the following day.
Cause of DeathAt autopsy, the pathologist found evidence of subendocardial hemorrhage. Other than signs of resuscitation, she did not find any traumatic injuries.
The Complainant’s cause of death remains unascertained at this time, pending the results of toxicological analysis.
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 220, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm220 Every person who by criminal negligence causes death to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(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.
Section 215, Criminal Code - Failure to Provide Necessaries
(c) to provide necessaries of life to a person under his charge if that person
(i) is unable, by reason of detention, age, illness, mental disorder or other cause, to withdraw himself from that charge, and(ii) is unable to provide himself with necessaries of life.
(b) with respect to a duty imposed by paragraph (1)(c), the failure to perform the duty endangers the life of the person to whom the duty is owed or causes or is likely to cause the health of that person to be injured permanently.
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offences that arise for consideration are the failure to provide the necessaries of life and criminal negligence causing death contrary to sections 215 and 220 of the Criminal Code, respectively. The former is predicated, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. The latter is a more serious offence reserved for behaviour that demonstrates a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. It is not made out unless, inter alia, the death is attributable to neglect that constitutes a marked and substantial departure from a reasonable level of care. In the instant case, the issue is whether there was a want of care on the part of the SO that caused or contributed to the Complainant’s death and/or was sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.
The officers who responded to the building were lawfully placed throughout their dealings with the Complainant. They were there following a report of a possible shooter, and were duty bound to investigate the situation with dispatch and ensure public safety. In the circumstances – facing an individual in the area of the report of gunfire, ignoring police commands and, by his behaviour, potentially injured - I am satisfied the officers had a lawful basis to take the Complainant into custody until they could ascertain his role, if any, in the incident under investigation.
Once the Complainant was in their custody, the officers had a duty to ensure his health and safety, an obligation I am satisfied they discharged within the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. WO #3 and WO #5, having handcuffed the Complainant, quickly realized they were dealing with a medical emergency and placed him in a recovery position while multiple calls were made for a rush on an ambulance. As they waited, the SO and WO #3 considered the use of naloxone given the possibility that the Complainant had overdosed on illicit drugs, particularly in light of the bag retrieved from his person, but dismissed the idea as the Complainant was still breathing and conscious. In hindsight, it might have been better to administer naloxone – an opioid antagonist – out of an abundance of caution, especially as the Complainant’s breathing was not without difficulty and it was unclear what, if any, illicit substances he had taken. That said, both officers, in their interviews with the SIU, referred to training they had received in which they were taught that naloxone was not to be administered to a person who was still breathing. Indeed, the SIU obtained the online training given the officers, which provides that naloxone be administered when the overdose victim’s breathing is slow or uneven, or has stopped. While the training does not preclude the use of the drug in the absence of respiratory distress if other signs of overdose are present, the SO was not alone in taking away from the training that naloxone ought not be administered when the victim was breathing. For example, WO #5 was of the same view. It should also be noted that naloxone was not administered by the paramedics based on information that led at least one of them to conclude that the Complainant was suffering from an overdose of cocaine, a non-opioid, in which case naloxone would be of no assistance. On this record, if the officers, including the SO, fell short in not administering naloxone, their failure amounted to something less than a marked departure from a reasonable level of care.
In the result, while the cause of the Complainant’s tragic death remains unknown at this time, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the officers who dealt with him comported themselves unlawfully. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.
Date: October 29, 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.