SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-PCI-206


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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving an official where there has been death, serious injury, the discharge of a firearm at a person or an allegation of sexual assault. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 (SIU Act), officials are defined as police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act. The SIU’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

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.

Information Restrictions

Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019

Pursuant 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 Act

Pursuant 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, 2004

Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information 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.

Mandate Engaged

Pursuant to section 15 of the SIU Act, the SIU may investigate the conduct of officials, be they police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission or peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act, that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

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 serious injuries sustained by a 53-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On July 2, 2021, at 1:09 p.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.

The OPP advised that the Complainant was arrested by two OPP police officers on July 1, 2021, at 12:50 p.m., for Breach of Recognizance, Assault and Unlawful Confinement. Minimal force was used. En route to the Dufferin OPP Detachment, the Complainant complained of a sore hand and shoulder. He was taken to the Headwater Health Care Centre (HHCC) and diagnosed with a fractured hand. He alleged that the injury occurred when he was arrested by OPP police officers on June 13, 2021, at 9:46 p.m., at an apartment in the area of John Street and Townline, Orangeville. The Complainant had been remanded to the Maplehurst Correctional Centre regarding his June 13, 3021 arrest and, once there, complained of chest pains and was returned to hospital.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 07/02/2021 at 1:48 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 07/03/2021 at 11:01 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3

The Complainant and four witness officials were interviewed. The subject official declined an interview.

Medical records were obtained for the June 13, 2021 and the July 1, 2021 incidents.

The ambulance call report was obtained for the July 1, 2021 incident. The June 13, 2021 incident was not investigated as the medical records indicated the injury was an old degenerative injury and did not meet the SIU mandate.

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

53-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on July 3, 2021.

Subject Officials

SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on July 12, 2021.


The Scene

The injury is reported to have occurred in an OPP cruiser while it was in transit from a location on Robb Boulevard, Orangeville, to the Dufferin OPP Detachment at 506312 Ontario-89, Shelburne.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

OPP – Communication - July 1, 2021

At 11:55 a.m., WO #1 advised the Communication Centre that she had been flagged down by the Complainant and a woman looking for emergency shelter. WO #1 went to the detachment to check out the Complainant.

At 12:47 p.m., WO #1 telephoned the Communication Centre and advised that the Complainant was wanted.

A 12:55 p.m., WO #2 advised that they had the Complainant in custody and were transporting him to the Primrose Detachment.

At 1:06 p.m., WO #2 asked for an ambulance to attend the detachment as the Complainant had complained that his fingers and shoulder were popping out of their joints. The SO advised that he was at the detachment and that there was an ambulance on scene. The sergeant advised that the Complainant had an injured shoulder from before. The SO said, “We didn’t get silly, you heard it here first, nothing I did.”

WO #2 went to HHCC with the ambulance and the Complainant.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the OPP Dufferin Detachment:
• Computer-Assisted Dispatch Event Details;
• Communications Recordings;
• Notes of WOs; and
OPP Incident Reports.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained the following records form non-police sources:
• The Complainant’s medical records from Headwaters Healthcare; and
• Ambulance Call Reports.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with the Complainant and several officers who were present at the time of the Complainant’s arrest. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

In the early afternoon of July 1, 2021, the Complainant was arrested on Robb Boulevard, Orangeville. Officers – the SO, and WO #1, WO #2 and WO #3 – attended the area to place the Complainant in custody in relation to an alleged assault he had perpetrated days earlier.

The SO secured the Complainant in handcuffs behind his back. The Complainant asked that his arms be handcuffed to the front as his shoulder was sore. The officer refused to do so, but did loosen the handcuffs when the Complainant complained they were too tight.

Following his arrest, the Complainant was placed in the rear seat of WO #3 and WO #2’s cruiser and taken to the Dufferin Detachment to be processed. En route to the detachment, the Complainant reported that his shoulder and left hand were “popping”. He repeatedly asked to have the handcuffs removed. WO #2 called the detachment and asked that arrangements be made to have paramedics present on their arrival so that the Complainant could be examined.

The Complainant was transported from the detachment to hospital in an ambulance. He was diagnosed with a fracture of the left hand.

Relevant Legislation

Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority

25 (1) Every one who is required or authorized by law to do anything in the administration or enforcement of the law
(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,
is, if he acts on reasonable grounds, justified in doing what he is required or authorized to do and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose.

Analysis and Director's Decision

The Complainant was diagnosed with a serious injury following his arrest by OPP officers in Orangeville on July 1, 2021. One of the arresting officers – the SO – was identified as a subject official for purposes of the SIU investigation. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s arrest and injury.

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 required or authorized to do by law. There are no questions raised in the evidence regarding the lawfulness of the Complainant’s arrest. He had allegedly assaulted a female in Orangeville on June 27, 2021, and was taken into custody for that incident.

Nor is there any suggestion in the evidence of undue force used by the SO or any of the other officers involved in the Complainant’s arrest. It is clear that the Complainant was compliant at all times and no force, aside from the contact necessary to apply the handcuffs, was brought to bear by the officers.

It seems the real issue is a suggestion that the Complainant’s injury was the result of the handcuffs being too tight and/or his arms having been restrained behind his back. Here too, however, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the SO fell short in his duty of care toward the Complainant. The Complainant was being arrested for a violent offence and the officers were within their rights, in my view, in securing him in handcuffs behind his back for the trip back to the detachment. Moreover, it appears that some accommodation was made when the Complainant reported that the handcuffs were too tight; the SO loosened them before placing the Complainant in the cruiser. Finally, when the Complainant complained in the cruiser that his shoulder and left hand were sore, arrangements were made to secure prompt medical attention.

On the aforementioned-record, whether and to what extent the Complainant’s broken left hand is attributable to the conduct of the SO, [2] I am not satisfied that the officer transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law, or used excessive force, at any point throughout their engagement. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.

Date: October 28, 2021

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
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]
  • 2) The evidence gives rise to the possibility that the Complainant’s fracture – described as a boxer’s fracture – was incurred prior to his dealings with the police. [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.