SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TCI-291


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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 serious injury a 42-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On September 5, 2021, at 6:25 a.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of injuries suffered by an individual during his arrest.

According to the TPS, shortly after midnight on September 5, 2021, police officers from TPS 51 Division attended Allan Gardens, a park located at Jarvis Street and Gerrard Street East in Toronto. The officers then responded to a female who advised them that she had been sexually assaulted and robbed by a male party. The male party was still in the park and attempted to flee on his bicycle. As he fled, he fell from his bicycle. The TPS officers were able to catch up to him and a struggle ensued. After being apprehended, the man complained of sore ribs. Paramedics were summoned and the man was transported to Toronto General Hospital, where he was diagnosed as having suffered two fractured left ribs.

The involved TPS officers were the Subject Official (SO) and Witness Official (WO) #1. The arrested person was identified as the Complainant, and the Civilian Witness (CW) was identified as the victim of the Complainant’s assault.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 09/05/2021 at 6:50 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 09/05/2021 at 7:50 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3

Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

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

The Complainant was interviewed on September 5, 2021.

Civilian Witness

CW Interviewed

The civilian witness was interviewed on September 7, 2021.

Subject Official

SO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed

The subject official was interviewed on November 1, 2021.

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
WO #3 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
WO #4 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary

The witness official was interviewed on September 27, 2021.


The Scene

Figure 1 – Google Maps aerial view of scene

Allan Gardens is a horticultural conservatory complex showcasing rare plants. It is located on the northeast corner of Jarvis Street and Gerrard Street East, and is surrounded by a small park, including a children’s playground area. At the south end of the park, immediately on the northeast corner of the intersection, is the Jarvis Street Baptist Church and the Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College.

At the time of this incident, there was temporary fencing installed along the east curb of Jarvis Street, due to ongoing construction along Jarvis Street.

Figure 2 - Bicycle in the laneway beside the church

The SIU located a Supercycle brand bicycle lying in the laneway between the church and seminary buildings. The handlebars were no longer centred [that is, while the tire was oriented straight ahead, the handlebars were turned somewhat to the side].

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence[1]

The area of the scene was canvassed for surveillance cameras, but none were identified.

TPS In-Car Camera System (ICCS)

The recording from the ICCS inside the vehicle operated by the SO recorded the efforts to stop the Complainant.

The video recording started at 12:20 a.m. with the police vehicle in motion at the rear of the greenhouses in Allan Gardens. The SO turned sharply to the left, mounted a curb, and travelled westbound across the grass in the park. The Complainant was riding his bicycle quickly in front of the police vehicle, westbound along the north side of the children’s playground. It was dark outside, and the ground was wet. There were rain drops on the windshield of the police vehicle.

The SO then drove through the park, north of the children’s playground.

The Complainant turned left onto a paved path on the west side of the children’s playground and travelled south. The SO followed, approximately 20 metres behind the Complainant.

The Complainant continued south on the grass towards the east sidewalk of Jarvis Street. The SO also continued southbound, travelling through the park on the grass and the paved pathways.

The Complainant reached the front of the Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College and cut across the front lawn. He briefly went out of the view of the ICCS.

The SO reached the sidewalk on the east side of Jarvis Street and travelled southbound along the sidewalk. The SO turned sharply left into the laneway between the church and the seminary. Approximately six seconds after the Complainant had disappeared from the ICCS image, the ICCS recorded the Complainant on the ground near the doors of the church. The Complainant was next to his bicycle, which was lying on the ground in the same general location it was later observed by SIU investigators.

No contact between the police vehicle and the Complainant’s bicycle was recorded by the ICCS. The images captured on the ICCS were consistent with the SO and WO #1 not having physically caused the Complainant to fall from his bicycle.

The Complainant rose to his feet as the SO stopped the police vehicle. The Complainant looked at the police vehicle and paused briefly, and then bent over and picked up his bicycle. WO #1 exited the police vehicle and ran to the Complainant, who was holding his bicycle upright.

WO #1 attempted to grasp the Complainant’s right arm but she was unable to hold on to him. WO #1 moved behind the Complainant and grasped the collar of his vest, and she forced the Complainant down to a squatting position. The Complainant continued to hold onto his bicycle. WO #1 placed one hand on the back of the Complainant’s head and she guided the Complainant toward the ground, and the Complainant let go of his bicycle.

Approximately eight seconds after WO #1 took hold of the Complainant, the SO approached the Complainant. Neither WO #1 nor the SO tackled the Complainant.

WO #1 and the SO knelt down on either side of the Complainant, who was outside of the image of the ICCS system while on the ground. The audio portion of the recording documented the SO issuing police commands to the Complainant.

The SO delivered a right-hand strike to what appeared to be the Complainant’s body. The SO then clearly commanded the Complainant to put his hands behind his back. The SO delivered a strike with his left knee, and he repeated his command that the Complainant put his hands behind his back. The SO delivered two more strikes with his right hand.

WO #1 and the SO appeared to roll the Complainant over and they all moved approximately one metre along the ground. The SO then took out his handcuffs and applied them to the Complainant.

WO #1 reported over the police radio that they had one person in custody. She then ran eastbound, likely looking for the CW. WO #1 walked back toward the police vehicle in the company of the CW and they then stood around the corner of the seminary, out of view of the Complainant and the ICCS. The CW explained to WO #1 what the Complainant had done to her.

TPS Booking Video

During the process to admit the Complainant into the custody area of the police station, there did not appear to be any discussion regarding the mechanism of the Complainant’s injury.

TPS Communications Recording

On September 5, 2021, at 12:21 a.m., WO #1 called the dispatcher on the police radio and said they had one person [the Complainant] in custody.

At 12:40 a.m., the SO requested an ambulance for the Complainant, who was complaining of “rib pain”.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from TPS between September 8, 2021 and October 16, 2021:
  • Communications recording;
  • ICCS recordings;
  • Video recordings from the custody area of the 51 Division police station;
  • A list of involved police officers;
  • General Occurrence Report;
  • Computer-aided Dispatch Event Details Report;
  • The notebook entries of all designated police officers;
  • Injury Report; and
  • Policy – Use of Force.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU received the following records from other sources on October 4, 2021:
  • Medical Records from the Toronto General Hospital.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with the Complainant, the SO, and the other arresting officer – WO #1. The investigation was also assisted by a video recording from the ICCS of the officers’ cruiser that captured the incident in parts.

Shortly after midnight of September 5, 2021, the SO and WO #1 were parked in their cruiser in the driveway of Allan Gardens, catching up on their notes, when they were approached by a woman. The woman – the CW – reported that she had just been assaulted by a male. In their cruiser, the SO and WO #1 chased after the male, who was fleeing the scene on bicycle.

The male was the Complainant. He cycled as fast as he could to get away from the police, eventually making it to Jarvis Street. He then travelled a short distance to an alleyway at the northeast corner of the Jarvis Street and Gerrard Street East intersection, where he lost control of his bicycle turning left and fell to the ground.

The SO and WO #1 arrived in the alleyway shortly after the Complainant’s fall. WO #1 was the first to exit their vehicle and approach the Complainant, who was on his feet at this time. The officer forced the Complainant to the ground. The SO arrived within seconds and delivered knee and hand strikes to the Complainant’s torso as he refused to surrender his arms to be handcuffed. At about the same time, positioned on the other side of the Complainant, WO #1 punched him two or three times in the upper right arm. Following the strikes, the officers took control of the Complainant’s arms and handcuffed them behind his back.

The Complainant complained of pain to his left side following his arrest. He was taken from the scene in ambulance to hospital, where he was diagnosed with fractured left ribs.

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 seriously injured in the course of his arrest by TPS officers on September 5, 2021. One of the arresting officers – 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 Complainant’s arrest and injuries.

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. In light of what they had observed of the CW (she was holding her face) and her complaint of assault at the hands of the Complainant, I am satisfied that the officers were proceeding lawfully to place the Complainant under arrest.

As for the force that was used by the officers, namely, multiple knee and hand strikes to the Complainant’s upper body, I am unable to reasonably conclude that it was excessive. The Complainant had led the SO and WO #1 on a spirited if brief chase, was fleeing from the scene of a freshly committed assault that he had seemingly perpetrated, and was physically resisting the officers’ efforts to take him into custody. On this record, it would appear the officers had good cause to want to arrest the Complainant as quickly as possible, if necessary with resort to reasonable strikes to assist in their cause. That, it would appear, is what occurred. No strikes of any kind were delivered after the Complainant had been handcuffed.

In the result, while I accept that the Complainant’s rib fractures were likely the result of the force used by the SO, I am not persuaded on reasonable grounds that the officer comported himself other than lawfully throughout their dealings. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.

Date: December 29, 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.