SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TCD-208
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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 37-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn July 5, 2021, at 1:32 a.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s death. According to the TPS, on July 4, 2021, at 10:04 p.m., the TPS received a ‘domestic’ call at the Complainant’s residence from a woman. At 11:38 p.m., TPS officers were dispatched to the call and arrived at the door to the Complainant’s residence at 11:53 p.m.
While Subject Official (SO) #1 and SO #2 were speaking with Civilian Witness (CW #1) at the door, a man [now known to be the Complainant] was seen in the background inside the apartment unit. When SO #1 and SO #2 checked the apartment, they were unable to locate the Complainant.
Another call was received by the TPS regarding a man found on the ground. The man was pronounced deceased at 12:34 a.m. on July 5, 2021.
CW #1 had been taken to TPS 51 Division and, at the time of notification, had not been interviewed or informed of the death.
Date and time team dispatched: 07/05/2021 at 2:58 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 07/05/2021 at 4:05 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
SIU investigators interviewed civilian and police witnesses, and canvassed for closed-circuit television (CCTV) data and civilian witnesses.
SIU forensic investigators made a digital photographic record and drawing of the scene, and collected exhibits relevant to the incident.
Witness Official (WO) #3, WO #4, WO #5, WO #6, WO #8 and WO #10 were not interviewed. A review of their notes indicated that they did not have any new information to advance the investigation of the Complainant’s death that was not already known from interviews of civilian witnesses, interviews of the subject and remaining witness officials, and from police and other data obtained during the investigation.
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):
37-year-old male, deceased
CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between July 5, 2021 and July 13, 2021.
SO #1 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
SO #2 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The subject officials were interviewed on August 31, 2021.
WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #4 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #6 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #7 Interviewed
WO #8 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #9 Interviewed
WO #10 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on July 30, 2021.
The Scene There were two areas of interest in the multi-storied condominium building where the incident occurred.
The deceased, the Complainant, was found in an open-air terrace/patio area of the building that was situated on a lower level. Immediately to the north of the deceased was a continuation of the floor that was covered with a roof structure.
The Complainant was wearing grey sweatpants, black socks, and a grey, long-sleeved Puma T-shirt. He was lying on his back and was covered with a sheet. Items of a medical nature were attached to the chest and mouth of the body. His left arm was across his chest and his right was out to the right, bent at the elbow with his hand resting by his head. Both legs were straight down from the body. It was evident that both legs had sustained severe compound fractures. There was a single ‘ear bud’ to the south of the deceased and a Nike Air Pod located in a garden area just west of the deceased. Small, minor areas of red staining were noted just to the north and south of the body.
The door to a condominium unit, from which CW #1’s 911 call had originated, was shut but unlocked. The unit was a bachelor/studio-sized unit. A long hallway led east toward a bed/sitting room area. A queen-size bed with no sheets took up most of this space. On the north side of the hallway from the entrance door to the bed/sitting room was a coat closet, a washer/dryer closet, and a four-piece bathroom. A computer table and suitcase were just inside the entrance door. Along the south wall of the bed/sitting room was a small refrigerator, stove cooktop, oven and sink. A sliding door to a small balcony was located along a wall of the unit.
The condition of the unit was unorganized and messy. Broken glass from a full-length mirror was on the floor of the hallway, and garbage and other debris were strewn throughout the living space. A small folding chair was tipped over. A coffee table was located on the east side of the bed between the bed and patio doors. It was covered with food containers, a green leafy substance, several pink/white pills and papers.
The small 1.73 metre by 2.098 metre balcony was accessed through the open glass and screen doors. It contained two tall chairs and a small table. The balcony was one of three adjoining balconies. The involved balcony was the smallest, followed by the middle balcony of the neighbouring unit. The middle balcony was 1.73 metres by 6.147 metres, followed by the furthest balcony which was 1.73 metres by 4.641 metres. Each unit balcony was separated from the next by a 1.76 metre-wide by 2.1 metre-tall opaque, glass panel. The height of the balcony railing was 1.250 metres. The distance from the balcony to the terrace was 50.184 metres.
It was evident the Complainant had fallen from the balcony of the furthest unit. On this balcony, a chair was tipped over and a thin string of decorative lighting was hanging over the railing. The end of the string of lights was several floors down and broken, suggesting that on his descent he may have tried to clutch on to it or had perhaps attempted to rappel his way down.
Personnel from a funeral home attended, and the Complainant was removed to the Ontario Forensic Pathology Services building.
At 6:50 a.m., SIU investigators were in the unit to view the scene and elevation. At this time, an SIU investigator noticed a shoe on the roof, north of the position where the deceased had been laying on the terrace/patio. The shoe was photographed and collected. The shoe was a similar black Puma size 11 running shoe found inside the unit by the coffee table. It was 8.048 metres north of the roof edge.
As the shoe was being collected from the roof, an unusual artifact was observed on the south edge of the roof embedded in the aluminum along the roof’s edge. Upon closer inspection it appeared to be a section of bone; more specifically, by its obvious calibre, a section of a human femur. It was 0.553 metres north of the roof edge, and collected by the SIU.
Along the aluminum flashing of the roof east of the bone fragment, a set of keys were collected and later determined to be keys to from the condominium unit.
Physical Evidence The shoe collected near the Complainant correlated with its opposite shoe found in the unit. The keys collected near the Complainant were for the unit which he occupied with CW #1 before his descent and death.
Forensic Evidence One piece of human bone was collected from the roof above and proximate to where the Complainant had landed. The piece of bone was given to the Ontario Forensic Pathology Services for its inclusion in the post-mortem examination and autopsy report.
No submissions to the Centre of Forensic Sciences were made directly by the SIU.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence CCTV data obtained from the building of the involved area, and the lobby and elevator, did not advance the SIU’s investigation of the incident.
TPS Body Worn Camera (BWC) and Communications Audio RecordingsWO #7, WO #8 and WO #10 were equipped with BWCs that captured footage. SO #1 and SO #2 were not equipped with BWC equipment.
WO #7’s camera recorded her arrival and the arrival of Toronto Fire Department (TFD) personnel at the terrace. A police officer [now known to be SO #1] was captured performing chest compressions. A police officer [now known to be WO #1] lay on the ground stabilizing the Complainant’s neck and head. A police officer [now known to be WO #2] was seen standing nearby.
BWC data depicted life-saving measures being performed by the TFD and, eventually, in collaboration with the Toronto Paramedic Services. WO #8 and WO #10 arrived as the TFD personnel were administering CPR.
TPS communications audio recording data did not advance the SIU’s investigation of what transpired at the Complainant’s unit and its adjoining balcony areas before the Complainant was discovered below on the terrace/patio.
Materials Obtained from Police Service
The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the TPS:
• Computer-aided Dispatch Event Details Reports;
• Body-Worn Camera data;
• Communications audio recordings;
• General Occurrence;
• Notes of all involved officers;
• Scene photographs;
• TPS Involved Officers List;
• TPS Policy-Emotionally Disturbed Persons and Appendices;
• TPS Policy-Emergency Task Force; and
• TPS Training Records.
At about 10:00 p.m. of July 4, 2021, CW #1 contacted police to report that she and her husband, the Complainant, were involved in an altercation and throwing items at each other.
Because of other priority calls, it was not until about 11:40 p.m. that SO #1 and SO #2 were dispatched to the address – a condominium on Sumach Street. The officers made their way to the unit, knocked on the door, and were let inside by CW #1. As SO #1 walked down the hallway from the front door towards an open living space, he briefly observed the Complainant before he quickly disappeared out of sight.
Unknown to the officers at the time, the Complainant had fled through a sliding door onto the unit’s balcony, after which he made his way northward across two adjacent balconies. Arriving at the second such balcony, the Complainant appears to have remained there for a period before falling onto a terrace located on top of a lower floor of the building.
Arriving in the area of the living space, SO #1 and SO #2 set about searching for the Complainant. They checked the balcony and the interior of the unit with negative results. SO #2 even looked over the balcony railing to see if the Complainant had fallen, but saw nothing on the terrace to suggest as much. SO #1 contacted a sergeant to apprise him of the situation. The concern had turned to the Complainant’s well-being. The sergeant arranged for the dispatch of additional officers to assist with the search.
At about 12:15 a.m., as SO #1 was knocking on the front doors of adjacent units to continue his investigation, SO #2 approached to tell him that he had heard a loud sound, following which, after looking over the balcony railing again, he had seen the Complainant down below. SO #1 left the unit to head down to where the Complainant had fallen.
After some time spent searching for the entry onto the terrace, SO #1, in the company of WO #1 and WO #2, arrived beside the Complainant. The time was about 12:30 a.m. The Complainant had suffered catastrophic injuries and appeared deceased. SO #1 broadcast that the Complainant had been found and requested emergency medical services to the location. He and the other officers administered CPR while waiting for the paramedics and firefighters to attend.
At about 12:39 a.m., the Complainant was declared deceased.
Cause of DeathThe pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to multiple blunt force trauma.
Section 219 and 220, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
(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.
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing death contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code. The offence is reserved for serious cases of neglect that demonstrate a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. It is not made out unless, inter alia, 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 in the conduct of either, or both, of the subject officials that caused or contributed to the Complainant’s death and was sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.
SO #1 and SO #2 were in the execution of their lawful duties as they attended at CW #1’s condominium unit to investigate her 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance involving the Complainant. As police officers obliged to protect and preserve life, and investigate crime, the officers were duty-bound to do what they could to resolve the reported dispute peacefully. There is also no suggestion that the officers were unlawfully in the unit, having been invited inside by CW #1.
Thereafter, I am satisfied that the officers comported themselves with due care and regard for the well-being of the Complainant. Given the speed with which he acted, it is clear on the evidence that the officers had little to no opportunity to intervene to thwart the Complainant’s ill-advised decision to escape police apprehension via the building’s balconies. Once through the unit’s doors, the balcony, adjacent balcony and ground below were quickly checked and found to be clear. As it quickly became apparent that the Complainant had fled the unit via the balcony, the focus of the police response quickly, and wisely, shifted to a concern for his well-being. Additional officers were requested to assist in a search of the building, and SO #1 approached neighbouring residents to inquire about the Complainant’s possible whereabouts. Regrettably, before either SO #1 or SO #2 was able to ascertain that he had made his way two balconies to the north, the Complainant had fallen from that balcony onto a terrace located on a lower floor. In the time that followed, SO #1 did what he could, together with other officers, to resuscitate the Complainant, but his injuries were far too severe.
It remains unclear whether the Complainant fell trying to rappel down the balcony using a string of decorative lights, or otherwise lost his footing as he fled from the police. Be that as it may, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officials transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in the few minutes that they were present at the scene prior to the Complainant’s fall. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.
Date: November 2, 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.