SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TFP-241


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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 the discharge of a firearm by the police at a 56-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On August 1, 2021, at 8:49 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) reported the following.

At 6:12 p.m., members of the TPS and Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) attended the rear yard of an address on Thirtieth Street, Toronto, for a man in crisis and threatening suicide. The Complainant was armed with a bucksaw. MCIT members were on location and interacted with the man. At one point, the Complainant put a bucksaw to his neck and indicated that he wanted to hurt himself. At that point, one of the attending officers discharged a less than lethal shotgun (sock gun). Three rounds were discharged and the rounds struck the Complainant, who was apprehended after the discharge and taken to St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH) for assessment under the Mental Health Act.

The Complainant had sustained minor injuries.

The incident was reportedly captured on body-worn cameras (BWC) worn by the attending TPS officers.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 08/01/2021 at 9:03 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 08/04/2021 at 1:21 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

56-year-old male interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on August 4, 2021.

Subject Official (SO)

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

Witness Officials (WO)

WO #1 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed


The Scene

The scene was the backyard of a residence on Thirtieth Street, Toronto.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

BWC Footage

BWC footage from six TPS officers was received from the TPS on August 5, 2021, including that of the SO. The TPS officers were clustered together. What follows is a summary of the BWC footage of the SO.

At 5:56 p.m., the BWC video began. The SO moved towards a residence. A less than lethal shotgun was in view. At 5:57 p.m., two male TPS officers were standing in the driveway, and MCIT officers were already present in the backyard. The Complainant was in the backyard pacing back and forth.

MCIT officers tried to communicate with the Complainant but he said if anyone came forward, he would do it. TPS officers with conducted energy weapons (CEWs) behind their backs could be seen.

At 5:58 p.m., the Complainant said he was done talking, but TPS officers still kept him engaged in communication. They tried giving him cigarettes and said they were calling his brother.

At 5:59 p.m., the Complainant was holding a bucksaw against the right side of his neck. The Complainant told the police officers not to approach him or it would end tragically because he was ready to do it.

At 6:02 p.m., the Complainant was seen with the bucksaw in his left hand and the blade was against the left side of his neck. He said, “We are going to make the news tonight, I know you don’t want to.”

At 6:04 p.m., the Complainant told the TPS officers that he had already died once, and there was no need for an ambulance. Sirens were heard in the background.

At 6:09 p.m., TPS officers discussed deploying a CEW. WO #1 felt they were too far away to use CEWs and asked the SO if she was comfortable taking a shot from that distance.

At 6:10 p.m., the less than lethal shotgun was raised into the view of the BWC and pointed at the Complainant. WO #2 was heard saying, “Don’t do that, stop, come on man.”

At 6:11 p.m., the SO discharged the less than lethal shotgun and TPS officers rushed the Complainant. The Complainant complied, and the bucksaw was seen on the ground. The Complainant was told that the TPS officers did not want to hurt him, and he responded, “I know you don’t.”

At 6:12 p.m., paramedics attended to the Complainant, who said that the “police did okay”. A paramedic asked the SO how many times she shot, and she said two or three times. The Complainant said three times.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from TPS between August 4 and 5, 2021:
• General Occurrence;
• Intergraph Computer-assisted Dispatch Event Details Report;
• Notes – WO #2;
• Notes – WO #1;
• Notes – WO #3; and
BWC footage.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU received the following records from other sources:

• Medical Records – SMH.

Incident Narrative

The events in question are clear thanks to police BWC footage that captured the incident, and may be briefly summarized.

In the late afternoon of August 1, 2021, TPS officers were dispatched to a home on Thirtieth Street, Toronto. The homeowner’s girlfriend had called to report that her boyfriend’s father – the Complainant - was in the backyard with a saw in his hand and threatening to harm himself.

The first officer to arrive at the scene was WO #3, a member of the TPS MCIT. With her was a registered nurse. They encountered the Complainant seated on a chair in the backyard of the property, holding a bucksaw in his hand. The Complainant rose to his feet, put the saw to his neck, and warned them that he would kill himself if they approached any closer. Other officers began to arrive at the address, including other MCIT members.

WO #3 attempted to de-escalate the situation from a distance. Others did the same. They told the Complainant that they were there to help, assured him that they would not get any closer, and offered him a package of cigarettes. The Complainant maintained that he was intent on ending his life.
After a period of back and forth, a sergeant at the scene – WO #1 – consulted with the SO about the prospect of deploying her less lethal shotgun, asking if she thought it was a viable option. The sergeant had already considered and discounted the use of a CEW given the distance between the officers and the Complainant.

The SO took aim with her weapon and fired three times at the Complainant. The Complainant was struck in the shoulder, chest, and leg. He let go of the saw and was quickly approached by officers, who took him into custody without incident. The time was about 6:11 p.m.

Following his apprehension, the Complainant was taken to hospital where he was treated with stitches for a wound to his chest and received psychiatric care.

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.

Section 17, Mental Health Act -- Action by police officer

17 Where a police officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a person is acting or has acted in a disorderly manner and has reasonable cause to believe that the person,

(a) has threatened or attempted or is threatening or attempting to cause bodily harm to himself or herself;
(b) has behaved or is behaving violently towards another person or has caused or is causing another person to fear bodily harm from him or her; or
(c) has shown or is showing a lack of competence to care for himself or herself,
and in addition the police officer is of the opinion that the person is apparently suffering from mental disorder of a nature or quality that likely will result in,
(d) serious bodily harm to the person;
(e) serious bodily harm to another person; or
(f) serious physical impairment of the person,

and that it would be dangerous to proceed under section 16, the police officer may take the person in custody to an appropriate place for examination by a physician.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On August 1, 2021, the Complainant was struck by rounds discharged from a less lethal shotgun in the possession of a TPS officer. The officer – the SO – was identified as the subject official for purposes of the ensuing 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 shooting.

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. The Complainant was significantly inebriated and of unsound mind at the time of the incident, clearly threatening to do himself harm. He was, in my view, subject to apprehension under section 17 of the Mental Health Act.

I am also of the view that the force used by the SO, namely, the discharge of less lethal “bean bag” rounds from her shotgun, was reasonably necessary to take the Complainant into custody. The Complainant was in possession of a bucksaw, with which he had threatened to harm himself if police got any closer to him than the rear of the house. The officers had every reason to take the Complainant at his word, as they did to be concerned about their own safety vis-à-vis the saw were they to close the distance with him. Having given de-escalation efforts a fair chance at resolving the situation peacefully, and fearing the Complainant was on the cusp of hurting himself, the use of the less lethal shotgun was a reasonable option as it promised to dispossess the Complainant of the saw from a safe distance. In fact, that is precisely what occurred.

For the foregoing reasons, as I am satisfied that the SO used no more than legally justified force in aid of a lawful apprehension, there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: November 22, 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.