SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TCI-268


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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 a serious injury sustained by a 27-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On August 21, 2021, at 3:15 a.m., the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) reported the following.

On August 20, 2021, at 11:00 p.m., the HPS received a call for a single motor vehicle collision in Stoney Creek. A vehicle driven by the Complainant had crashed into a tree.

A Toronto Police Service (TPS) officer came out of his house to assist the Complainant. When the TPS officer smelled alcohol on the Complainant’s breath, he attempted to flee. The officer identified himself and tried to subdue the Complainant. The officer’s wife retrieved handcuffs from the house and the Complainant was handcuffed.

The Complainant was taken to the Hamilton General Hospital (HGH) and diagnosed with a fracture to his hand. He was released back into police custody and charged with assault and impaired driving.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 08/21/2021 at 3:59 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 08/21/2021 at 5:16 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 5

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

27-year-old male declined interview; medical records obtained and reviewed

Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed

The civilian witnesses were interviewed on August 21, 2021.

Subject Officials

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

The subject official declined an interview on September 15, 2021.

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed between September 27, 2021 and October 1, 2021.


The Scene

The collision occurred in Stoney Creek. [1]

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [2]

On August 26, 2021, the SIU received the HPS SOCO (Scenes of Crime Officer) photos.

On September 16, 2021, the HPS provided the SIU with five recordings of radio transmissions and 911 calls. There were no time marks for the calls or radio transmissions. The following is a summary of the recordings:

Police Division 2 Dispatch Audio (1 hour 32 minutes and 32 seconds)

A dispatcher contacted police officers to advise of a motor vehicle crash in Stoney Creek: “It’s for a vehicle into a tree. Someone has pinned down the driver. He is attempting to flee. They think the driver is intoxicated. A passerby has him on the ground. He is a male white in his mid-thirties.”

A dispatcher reported a second phone call received regarding an off-duty police officer: “We are getting a second call now for an off-duty officer fighting with an intoxicated person. Looks like it’s going to be in relation to this PI. [3] There is going to be a crowd there and one party under arrest. It’s going to be an off-duty Toronto Officer. Neighbours are with him.”

Police officer #1 arrived on site, and information was broadcast that a person was in custody.

Police officer #2 asked for a check of the licence plate of the vehicle involved in the crash. The dispatcher responded: “Coming back to a 2005 Chevy Silverado, registered to the Complainant. He is flagged ‘V’, [4] prohibited firearms.”

Police officer #3 requested a breathalyzer technician and said WO #2 would ride in the ambulance with the Complainant.

911 Audio Call #1 (7 minutes 59 seconds)

Caller, “There has been a car accident.”
911 Operator, “Has anyone been injured?”
Caller, “I am not sure. Somebody slammed into a tree on our street. In a truck.”
911 Operator, “I will put you over to ambulance and police.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Ambulance what is your emergency?”
Caller, “Um, somebody slammed into a tree in a truck on our street.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Can you tell if everyone is awake?”
Caller, “Hold on. I am going to go. He is conscious. Oh, he’s volatile. He’s fighting.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Fighting who or what?”
Caller, “Somebody. They are putting him down.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “So, the occupant of the vehicle is fighting the driver?”
Caller, “The driver wanted to get out. He wanted to run. Somebody stopped him. Somebody has pinned him down.”
Police Call-taker, “So he is trying to run away, the driver, and a bystander has pinned him down?”
Caller, “Yes.”
Police Call-taker, “In case he runs, what does he look like? What colour is his skin?”
Caller, “I can’t see. He’s a white male probably mid-thirties.”
Police Call-taker, “Mid-thirties?”
Caller, “I am across the street I don’t want to get near him.”
Police Call-taker, “Yeah, no problem. Is he struggling with them?”
Caller, “He’s struggling, they are keeping him down.”
Police Call-taker, “Is he by himself?”
Caller, “Yes, he is by himself.”
Police Call-taker, “OK. Is he intoxicated is that why he is trying to run?”
Caller, “I’m not sure.”
Police Call-taker, “Do you have the licence plate of the vehicle there?”
Caller, “People are yelling, I can’t really get near.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Ma’am, is there anybody trapped or ejected from the vehicle?”
Caller, “No, he just slammed into the vehicle and I think he tried to run and there are people that are pinning him down. Oh, there is an off-duty police officer with him.”
Police Call-taker, “So you said there is an officer there?”
Caller, “Apparently there is an off-duty police officer with him now. Telling him to stay down.”
Police Call-taker, “OK, and they are helping?”
Caller, “Yeah. Yup.”
Police Call-taker, “How do you know he is an off-duty officer?”
Caller, “Somebody said. I think he said he was an off-duty officer.”
Police Call-taker, “OK. Is he fighting with the guy?”
Caller, “No. He’s still down though. Somebody needs to keep him down. He still wants to get up, I think. It’s a really big thing.”
Police Call-taker, ‘What’s going on right now?”
Caller, “Um, right now there are just lots of people gathered. There’s one person with him. Kind of just trying to make sure that he is safe and laying down to stay calm. Telling him to stay calm. Yeah there are people upset.”
Police Call-taker, “OK, we are just driving over there.”
Caller, “Okay, that’s not helpful.”
Police Call-taker, “What’s going on?”
Caller, “There is a man who is very upset with him. Because he was driving very erratically down the street.”
Police Call-taker, “So the off-duty officer is still, like does he have him pinned down on the ground?”
Caller, “Yes. Yea they are arguing… Somebody is sat down with him. Truthfully, I don’t want to get too close. There are lots of people around. I think he is an off-duty officer that’s what I heard somebody say. But I am not sure. He’s not being combative right now. I am not sure. I think they are trying to make sure he is OK.”
Police Call-taker, “Does he look injured at all?”
Caller, “It’s hard to say. To be honest, we need to get a bit closer. Um, no, no he doesn’t look that hurt.”
Police Call-taker, He’s OK?”
Caller, “I think so. I don’t know if he can walk but I think he’s OK… like I don’t know if he can get up, he can, like, he’s mobile, like he’s not that hurt.”
Police Call-taker, “Is the guy still on the ground?”
Caller, “Yes, he is still on the ground.”

911 Audio Call #2 (3 minutes 24 seconds)

911 Operator, “Police, fire or ambulance?”
Caller, “I think we will need both.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Ambulance, what is your emergency?”
Caller, “Hi, we have had a vehicle hit I think a tree.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “How many people are involved in the accident?”
Caller, “I can see two.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Two people, are they both awake?”
Caller, “One is awake. I can’t see the other. Wait a minute. Nope. Maybe it’s only one. I don’t think there is anybody in the back.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Was this the driver who was ejected?”
Caller, “Might have been. There is a dog in the back. That’s what I saw. The person is on the ground, they are trying to keep him down. He’s trying to move around.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “OK, is he awake right now then?”
Caller, “He is awake.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Is he breathing normally?”
Caller, “He’s breathing, I can’t tell if it is normally, somebody is holding him down.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Alright, so tell me what happened.”
Caller, “No, I can’t, my daughter heard him, and we walked down and seen a car up against a tree. It’s gone head-on into the tree and done some half decent damage to the front of the vehicle.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “OK, and he was ejected from his vehicle?”
Caller, “I don’t know. All I know, he is out of the vehicle and someone is holding him down.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Do you see any injuries? Is he bleeding from anywhere?
Caller, “Not that I can tell. He’s on the grass.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “And it was just one vehicle, right?”
Caller, “It’s a single vehicle and he’s in a tree.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Is anyone else injured?”
Caller, “No. Not that I can tell. Someone is holding him down because I think he is trying to get up and leave or something, that’s why someone needs to get here soon.”

911 Audio Call #3 (3 minutes 29 seconds)

911 Operator, “Hello, your phone just dialed 911, do you have an emergency.”
Caller, “Yeah, there is some jack-ass that drove his truck into a tree. He’s injured, and he needs an ambulance.”
911 Operator, “OK, let me put you through to ambulance OK?”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Hello ambulance what is your emergency?”
Caller, “There is a guy that crashed his car into a tree [provides location].”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Do you know if everyone is awake?”
[There is background noise and a man is heard to yell, “Get down.”]
Caller, “He is in pain and someone is trying to hold him down, if he is in drug pain or whatever, I don’t know what he has been on to drive like this. He drove like a complete idiot into a tree.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Does it look like he is breathing normal?”
Caller, “Is he breathing? He’s in big pain. He needs an ambulance. Can you get someone here please?”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Yeah so we have got like four or five calls about this already.”
Caller, “He’s a drunken fucking drug addict. We are pissed off at this because this is ridiculous.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “OK. So, you think he has been using drugs?”
Caller, “Nobody drives like this. Nobody.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “OK. So, was he the only one inside?”
Caller, “I don’t know. Is there anybody else injured? Just one. One person. We just need an ambulance sir.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Was he going 50 kms per hour or more?”
Caller, “He was swerving and almost hitting cars all the way down the road.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “OK. Is he trapped inside?”
Caller, “No he is on the ground. People are holding him down. He hit a tree, that is damaged. His car is wrecked. Doesn’t look like he hit anything else. Just one driver.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Does he appear to be injured obviously anywhere?”
Caller, “Yeah he seems to be injured. He’s in pain. But I am not going near him. I got my dog with me and he just got sprayed by a skunk so…before this happened. Having a great night.”

911 Audio Call #4 (6 minutes 28 seconds)

911 Operator, “911 do you need police, fire or ambulance?”
The SO, “Police and ambulance. Gonna need a police officer here.”
The Complainant (moaning), “Help me.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “Ambulance what is your emergency? Where do you need the ambulance?”
The SO, “[Provides location]. I am an off-duty police officer, I have one under arrest for impaired. And I have a crowd growing, please.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “And, I am sorry, did you say you were a police officer?
The SO, “Yes. I am an off-duty police officer.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “OK, is there any injuries with yourself or that individual?”
The SO, “No, just the driver, but he is fighting me right now.”
Ambulance Call-taker, “He’s fighting you right now OK. We have got help coming alright. And I will update your dispatch as well. Okay. We are coming lights and sirens, OK.”
The SO, “OK, thank you. Stay down.”
Police Call-taker, “Stay on the line.”
The SO, “Stay down.”
The Complainant (moaning), “What the fuck.”
Police Call-taker, “Sir, are you still there?”
The SO, “Yeah, I am still here.”
Police Call-taker, “It’s police dispatch here. I’ve got a high priority call on the board here for ya. Do you have him under arrest?”
The SO, “Yes, I do right now.”
The SO, “He was fighting so. Stay down.”
The Complainant, “I don’t give a fuck man.”
The SO, “Can you go check my duty belt to get cuffs? (unintelligible).”
Police Call-taker, “What service are you with?”
The SO, “Toronto.”
Police Call-taker, “And, you are there by yourself?”
The SO, “Well, no I have neighbours here.”
Police Call-taker, “OK, neighbours are helping now?”
The SO, “Yeah, I am not giving you that chance anymore.”
Police Call-taker, “Was this guy driving or what was he doing?”
The SO, “Yeah, he was driving the pickup truck that hit the tree.”
The Complainant, “Can you put that in my pocket man?”
Police Call-taker, “Lots of help on the way.”
The SO, “I hear them coming.”
The Complainant, “I am not trying to run.”
The SO, “Are you able to hear him? For evidentiary purposes.”
Police Call-taker, “The whole call is being taped and we have had numerous calls on this.”
The SO, “Just want to make sure that you can hear him, that’s all.”
The Complainant, “Yo, yo, listen do you know (unintelligible). That’s my dad man. ‘Cause I’m his little son man. Are you hearing me?”
Unknown male voice, “Why are you driving like that? Do you want me to go get your uncle right now?
The Complainant, “Please man.”
Unknown male voice, “Do you want me to go get your uncle? Because the cops are coming right now.”
The Complainant, “Fuck off. Yo, listen man. Yo, that’s my dad dude.”
The SO, “Put your hands behind your back.”
The Complainant, “What the fuck, dude.”
The SO, “Put your hands behind your back.”
The Complainant, “I’m not trying to be an asshole dude. I’m, that’s my fucking dad. You don’t like that. Are you fucking kidding me man? What do you mean? What the fuck.”

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the HPS:
• General Report;
• Event Chronology;
• Communication recordings;
• Motor Vehicle Collision Report;
• Intoxilyzer Results;
• Photograph of Driver’s Licence; and
• Will State (HPS)-WO #2.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
• Ambulance Call Report-Hamilton Paramedic Services; and
• Medical Record-Hamilton General Hospital.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with several civilian eyewitnesses. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

At about 10:45 p.m. of August 20, 2021, an inebriated Complainant was operating a pickup truck recklessly in Stoney Creek. As he approached an intersection, the Complainant’s vehicle climbed a curb and crashed into a tree, coming to a stop on the northeast corner of the intersection. Shortly after the collision, the Complainant pushed open the driver’s door and exited the vehicle. He was soon approached by residents in the area.

Among the persons who arrived at the crash site was the SO, an off-duty TPS officer who resided nearby. The Complainant became argumentative and attempted to leave the scene. He was prevented from doing so by the officer, and possibly others who had responded from their homes. The SO had smelled alcohol on the Complainant’s breath and placed him under arrest for drunk driving.

The Complainant was taken to the ground and held there by the SO. The officer kept him pinned to the ground as the Complainant objected to being arrested and offered a degree of resistance. The SO contacted the HPS and asked for the attendance of officers.

WO #2 was the first HPS officer to arrive. By that time, the SO had managed to handcuff the Complainant’s left hand, but not his right. WO #1 retrieved his own handcuffs, took control of the Complainant’s right arm and, replacing the SO’s restraints with his own, handcuffed the Complainant’s arms behind his back.

Following his arrest, paramedics arrived at the scene and transported the Complainant to hospital, where 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

On August 20, 2021, while in the custody of the HPS, the Complainant was diagnosed with a serious injury. The SO, an off-duty TPS officer at the time, was identified as the 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 authorized or required to do by law. I am satisfied that the SO had lawful grounds to seek the Complainant’s arrest – the Complainant had given every indication that he was intoxicated by alcohol when he crashed his vehicle into a tree - he slurred his words, smelled of alcohol, and spoke nonsensically.

There is also no indication in the record that the SO used excessive force in the course of his dealings with the Complainant. For example, there is no evidence that the Complainant was taken to the ground with undue force or that the SO struck him at any time. At most, the officer used his weight and manpower to keep the Complainant pinned to the ground while waiting for HPS officers to arrive – a measured and moderate use of force given the Complainant’s struggle and demonstrated intention to leave the scene. Finally, with respect to the Complainant’s broken hand, it should be noted that the injury most likely occurred in the collision, and not in the course of the arrest.

For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO comported himself other than lawfully in his engagement with the Complainant. Accordingly, there are no grounds to proceed with criminal charges against the officer, and the file is closed.

Date: November 22, 2021

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) The precise location is not being released to protect the identity of involved parties. [Back to text]
  • 2) 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]
  • 3) Personal injury. [Back to text]
  • 4) Violent. [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.