SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCD-228


This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.

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 the death of a 50-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On July 7, 2021, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) contacted the SIU to confirm whether the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) had reported two death cases to the SIU. The inquiry was related to the OIPRD’s Broken Trust investigation of the TBPS. One of the incidents had occurred on April 1, 2010, involving the Complainant. The second case had, in fact, been reported to, and investigated by, the SIU.

On July 19, 2021, at 10:43 a.m., the OIPRD was contacted by SIU. A representative of the OIPRD advised that he was meeting with the TBPS Chief of Police that afternoon, and would have them formally report the incident.

On July 20, 2021, at 8:28 a.m., the TBPS reported the death of the Complainant.

Reportedly, on April 1, 2010, at approximately 1:48 a.m., police officers arrived at the Royal Edward Arms building on May Street South, Thunder Bay, for an assault. It appeared the involved officers, Subject Official (SO) #1 and SO #2, removed the Complainant from the building and left him out front of the building. They then cleared the area.

At 2:18 a.m., a second cruiser was flagged down for a man on the ground in medical distress. The man - the Complainant - was taken to hospital via ambulance.

The Complainant was pronounced dead at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre at 2:59 a.m.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 07/20/2021 at 9:40 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 07/20/2021 at 12:00 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

50-year-old male, deceased

Civilian Witnesses

CW Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)

Subject Officials

SO #1 Declined interview and to provide 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

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on September 13, 2021.


The Scene

SIU was not notified initially about this incident. SIU forensic investigators did not attend the scene.

The scene was 114 May Street South, known as the Royal Edward Arms apartments. The Complainant had collapsed on the sidewalk in front of the building.

On September 12, 2021, SIU investigators attended the scene. The apartment building presented similar to the descriptions of 2010. The building was an eight-storey building with a commercial store front on the ground floor. The main entrance was situated at the northeast corner of May Street and George Street. No relevant evidence was gained from the observations.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

The SIU searched for audio, video and/or photographic records of relevance, and obtained a City of Thunder Bay street camera video recording in the custody of TBPS.

Eye on the Street Video Footage

On November 4, 2021, the SIU received a video file from the TBPS. The file contained footage from the TBPS ‘Eye on the Street’ camera in the Victoria Avenue East and May Street South area, recorded on April 1, 2010. The video was 46 minutes and 51 seconds in length, and appeared to have captured the period during which TBPS and other emergency services responded to the Complainant while in distress. The video did not contain time and date stamps. The video was not of the best quality – it was often pixelated when the camera was turning or zooming in and out.

At 27:41 minutes into the video, a TBPS cruiser southbound on May Street South was seen pulling over onto the northbound side of the road and stopping just south of the Royal Edward Arms apartments. There were a few pedestrians in the middle of the street right before the cruiser pulled to the side.

The camera continued to pan the area and a second TBPS cruiser was seen travelling southbound on May Street South at 28:15 minutes. At 28:27 minutes, that cruiser was stopped in the southbound lane, almost parallel to the first cruiser.

Two TBPS police officers exited the first cruiser and walked over to the sidewalk on the east side of May Street South where there appeared to be three pedestrians standing. There was a canopy in front of the Golden Wok (a commercial business on the ground floor of the Royal Edward Arms building) that partially obstructed the view. It appeared that all parties present were focused on something on the other side of the canopy.

The two police officers bent over and appeared to be talking to someone on the ground. One officer knelt and appeared to be trying to assist the person.

At 33:00 minutes, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrived on May Street South. EMS personnel attended to the person on the ground. A stretcher was brought out of the EMS vehicle.

At 34:46 minutes, the camera zoomed out and a fire truck was seen on the west side of May Street South just north of the EMS vehicle. The truck was stopped with its emergency lights on.

The second TBPS cruiser that had stopped earlier was no longer visible and it was unclear where it had gone. The camera then zoomed back in and showed EMS personnel preparing the stretcher.

At 35:20 minutes, at least two firefighters were seen approaching the area; they assisted EMS placing the person on the stretcher.

At 35:52 minutes, the stretcher was placed in the back of the EMS vehicle, and the police officers appeared to be taking statements from the witnesses at the scene.

At 43:17 minutes, a second EMS vehicle arrived on scene. The occupants exited and approached the passenger side door leading to rear of the first EMS vehicle before entering.

At 45:08 minutes, the two TBPS police officers finished speaking to a witness and walked over to the first EMS vehicle where they were seen speaking with EMS personnel. The video ended with all parties still on-scene.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the TBPS:

• Computer-assisted Dispatch (x2);
• Dispatch Documents (x2);
• Homicide Sudden Death Report;
• Occurrence Involvements;
• Occurrence Summary;
• Supplementary Occurrence Report (x7); and
• Video Footage.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:

• Pathology Report - Office of Chief Coroner – the Complainant.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges on the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with an officer who engaged with the Complainant on the date in question after he had lapsed into acute medical distress. Regrettably, owing to the passage of time, civilian witnesses who had originally been identified and interviewed by TBPS investigators could no longer be reached. The investigation was also assisted by video footage recorded by a camera in the area that captured the incident in parts. As was their legal right, SO #1 and SO #2 chose not to interview with the SIU.

In the early morning of April 1, 2010, SO #1 and SO #2 attended at the Royal Edward Arms building following a call to police by a woman. The woman told the officers she wanted the Complainant, who had been staying in her apartment, to leave. The officers entered her unit, spoke to the Complainant, and explained that he was an unwanted guest and had to leave. The Complainant, significantly inebriated at the time, dressed himself and accompanied the officers in the elevator down to the ground floor. SO #1 and SO #2 departed the scene, leaving the Complainant on the sidewalk outside the building. The time was about 2:10 a.m.

Minutes later, while urinating outside the Royal Edward Arms, the Complainant collapsed. Several persons in the area went to see what was wrong, and were asked by the Complainant to call an ambulance. At about the same time, WO #1, operating a cruiser southbound on May Street South, observed the Complainant on the ground in front of the Royal Edward Arms, and stopped to render assistance. The Complainant was rolling around on the ground. The officer spoke with the Complainant and, realizing he was having trouble breathing, called for paramedics.

Paramedics arrived at the scene and took over the Complainant’s care. He was pronounced deceased at the scene at about 3:00 a.m.

Cause of Death

The pathologist at autopsy attributed the Complainant’s death to ‘ischemic heart disease’ due to, or as the consequence of, ‘severe coronary atherosclerosis’.

Relevant Legislation

Section 219, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death

219 (1) Every one is criminally negligent who
(a) in doing anything, or
(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

(2) For the purposes of this section, duty means a duty imposed by law.

Section 220, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm

220 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

215 (1) Every one is under a legal duty

(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.

(2) Every person commits an offence who, being under a legal duty within the meaning of subsection (1), fails without lawful excuse to perform that duty, if
(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 Complainant died in Thunder Bay on April 1, 2010 following an interaction with TBPS officers. His death was investigated at the time by the TBPS, which found that the Complainant died of a medical condition unrelated to any conduct on the part of TBPS officers. The incident was recently reported to the SIU following the report by the OIPRD – Broken Trust – into concerns regarding the investigation of the deaths of Indigenous persons by the TBPS.

The SIU opened a file and commenced an investigation, identifying SO #1 and SO #2 as subject officials. The investigation has now concluded. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either subject official committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s death.

The offences that arise for consideration are 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 premised, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have observed in the circumstances. The latter is reserved for more serious cases of neglect that demonstrate a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. It is not made unless, inter alia, the impugned behaviour constitutes a marked and substantial departure from a reasonable level of care. In the instant case, the issue is whether there was any want of care on the part of either, or both, of the subject officials that caused or contributed to the Complainant’s death and/or was sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.

There was nothing in the evidence gathered by the SIU to suggest that SO #1 and/or SO #2 were unlawfully placed at any point in their dealings with the Complainant. The officers were acting in the course of their duties when, at the request of the apartment’s owner, they escorted the Complainant from the premises.

Nor is there evidence sufficient to reasonably establish that either officer failed in their duty of care towards the Complainant. They had no idea that the Complainant suffered from a heart condition that would soon result in cardiac arrest and, tragically, death, and therefore were without cause to believe that he required immediate medical attention. The officers were aware that the Complainant was very inebriated. However, his intoxication was not such that he was unable to take care of himself; he had gotten dressed when asked to do so by the officers, and was able to walk with the officers onto the sidewalk outside the Royal Edward Arms and ask for help when he collapsed onto the ground, by which time the officers had left the scene. On this record, I am unable to reasonably conclude that either of the subject officials failed to comport themselves with due care and regard for the Complainant’s health and well-being.

In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officials transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in their engagement with the Complainant, there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: November 17, 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]


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.