SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TCD-341
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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.
- 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 34-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn October 10, 2021, at 3:08 a.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of the death of the Complainant.
TPS advised that on October 9, 2021, at 11:28 p.m., TPS police officers from 51 Division attended an apartment on Church Street for a man, the Complainant, armed with a gun. Upon their arrival, the Complainant barricaded himself in the apartment. The initial attending police officers contained the scene and could hear the Complainant making comments. The Emergency Task Force (ETF) was called and attended the location. ETF police officers drilled a hole in the apartment door so they could see inside. The ETF police officers saw the Complainant in obvious medical distress. The door was breached, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was contacted. The Complainant was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH) where he was pronounced dead.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 10/10/2021 at 3:26 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 10/10/2021 at 3:55 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 5
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):34-year-old male, deceased
Subject Officials (SO)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
SO #3 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Interviewed
WO #7 Interviewed
WO #8 Interviewed
WO #9 Interviewed
WO #10 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between October 17 and 20, 2021.
The Scene The scene was the Complainant’s sixth floor apartment on Church Street, Toronto.
On October 10, 2021, at 3:30 a.m., a SIU Forensic Investigator attended the Complainant’s residence. He observed that the entrance door had a 12.7 cm diameter hole drilled near the top, the door opened inward – hinged on the right side, and the door had been forced open. The SIU Forensic Investigator photographed the scene, and measurements for a scene drawing were obtained. At 4:50 a.m., the scene was released to TPS.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
911 CallsAt 11:24:41 p.m. of October 9, 2021, the Complainant called 911 and requested police assistance at his apartment on Church Street. The Complainant seemed agitated and was panting. He kept yelling and saying that there were people around who wanted to kill him. The dispatcher tried to calm the Complainant so she could understand what he was saying, but the Complainant remained uncontrollable and repetitive. He kept screaming, “Yes, yes, yes, let them come.” The dispatcher tried to find out why the Complainant needed the police, but the Complainant would not respond, and the dispatcher terminated the call.
At 11:26:22 p.m., the dispatcher called the Complainant but could not get through as the call went to voice mail.
At 11:28:41 p.m., a police dispatcher announced over the radio that the Complainant’s line was opened, but the Complainant kept repeating himself and swearing. The dispatcher did not hear any other voices or sound. The dispatcher requested that the Complainant’s address be checked.
At 11:32:02 p.m., the Complainant called 911 again. He continued to scream and ramble, saying, “They’re gonna kill me, they’re gonna kill me.” The dispatcher asked who was going to kill the Complainant, and the Complainant mentioned two names. As the dispatcher tried to get further information, the Complainant went into a fit and started screaming again, “They’re coming, they’re coming, they’re coming.” The dispatcher asked where the Complainant was and he provided his apartment number and address on Church Street. The Complainant went back into a fit and started screaming, “I’m about to die, I’m about to die. They’re on the sixth floor to kill me. They’re at my door. Chain the door, chain the door, I have to defend myself. I am home by myself.”
At 12:04:08 a.m., on October 10, 2021, a still agitated Complainant called 911 again. He stated he had already called 911 several times. The dispatcher asked why he called again. The Complainant continued to scream and yell. The dispatcher tried to reassure the Complainant police were already at his apartment to help.
Police Communications RecordingsThe recordings were made from October 9, 2021 to October 10, 2021, and captured the following information.
At 11:37:58 p.m. of October 9, 2021, TPS police officers were requested to attend an address on Church Street.
At 11:48:00 p.m., the dispatcher contacted paramedics to attend the Church Street address.
At 11:51:04 p.m., the dispatcher advised over the police radio that the Complainant was emotionally disturbed.
At 11:55:38 p.m., the dispatcher contacted paramedics again and advised the Complainant was not responding to communications. The Complainant had requested an ambulance.
At 12:05:11 a.m. of October 10, 2021, police reported over the police radio that the Complainant had barricaded himself and chained the door to his apartment. The Toronto Fire Service (TFS) was requested to breach the door.
At 12:06:43 a.m., the dispatcher advised she was on the phone with the Complainant. The Complainant requested that the dispatcher call his family but provided no contact information.
At 12:16:10 a.m., ETF advised they would attend the address on Church Street.
At 12:17:26 a.m., TFS attendance was cancelled.
At 12:23:21 a.m., the Complainant was seen in his window - he was pacing.
At 12:25:12 a.m., ETF police officers arrived at the address.
At 12:25:49 a.m., WO #8 advised the dispatcher that he and SO #3 were at the Complainant’s apartment door.
At 12:29:35 a.m., police were trying to communicate with the Complainant, but he would not respond.
At 1:27:25 a.m., ETF had apprehended the Complainant. The Complainant was being treated by paramedics.
At 1:30:48 a.m., WO #3 made a request for an emergency run to hospital.
At 1:39:29 a.m., WO #3 reported paramedics were still treating the Complainant in his apartment. A request was made to confirm if the Complainant’s injury was drug or injury-related. It was stated the cause of the Complainant’s injury was yet to be ascertained, but it was believed to be drug-related.
At 2:01:08 a.m., WO #3 advised that the emergency run to SMH had begun.
At 2:04:35 a.m., the dispatcher was informed the emergency run was completed and the Complainant was at SMH.
At 2:21:31 a.m., the dispatcher was informed that the Complainant was pronounced at 2:16 a.m.
Body-worn Camera (BWC) Video FootageWO #3’s BWC
At 12:08 a.m. of October 10, 2021, WO #3 arrived on the sixth floor and met with WO #2 and WO #1. After learning the Complainant was alone, possibly in crisis due to drug consumption, WO #3 asked for ETF and the EMS to respond. WO #3 continued with his responsibilities of scene control, and the TFS was asked to be cancelled.
At 12:27 a.m., the first two ETF police officers arrived on the sixth floor. One of the ETF officers was SO #1.
Throughout the footage, the Complainant was heard to be in crisis. He yelled and continually said words to the effect of, “They’re going to shoot me. They’re going to kill me.” The Complainant spoke of dying and that they were shooting him. The Complainant was told it was the police there to help him, not shoot him, and to make sure he was alright. When asked why he was screaming, the Complainant responded because he was going to die.
At 12:37 a.m., the remainder of the ETF police officers arrived on the sixth floor, and uniformed police officers, including WO #3, took a position by or in the far stairwell on the opposite side of the elevator. The Complainant’s behaviour remained the same as an ETF police officer tried to communicate with him. WO #3 left the sixth floor, accompanied by WO #7, and they went outside to verify where the window for the Complainant’s apartment was situated and to check the roof for rappelling options.
At 1:19 a.m., while WO #3 was in the stairwell across from the Complainant’s apartment with WO #7, another ETF police officer was heard to say that the Complainant had said he needed help. ETF police officers were heard telling the Complainant they were going to help him, to stay back from the door with nothing in his hands, to stay on the ground, and they were going to help him. Six loud bangs were heard followed by repeated commands to stay on the ground. The words, “Cuff him,” were captured. WO #1 and WO #2 were with a Paramedic Supervisor, and a voice was heard to say, “Stay on the ground okay.” A medic was requested, and the Paramedic Supervisor went into the apartment.
At 1:41 a.m., WO #3 contacted the Toronto Police Operation Centre and stated that the Complainant was without vital signs and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was being performed.
At 1:47 a.m., SO #1 reported CPR was being done on the Complainant and asked that an emergency run to hospital be arranged. SO #1 advised that paramedics were still trying to get a pulse and it was unknown if the Complainant would be transported or not. WO #3 gave directions to WO #1 and WO #2 regarding scene control and not to enter the apartment.
At 1:57 a.m., paramedics brought the Complainant to the elevator in a chair. In the lobby, they were captured doing CPR on the Complainant who was on the stretcher.
WO #2’s BWC
WO #2 and WO #1 arrived on the sixth floor. The Complainant was heard in a loud voice screaming repeatedly that: he could not be helped because they were going to shoot him, he was going to be shot, they were going to kill him, it was not the TPS at the door, and, “Oh my God, I’m going to die, I’ve been shot, and I’m dead.” He believed that persons at the door were going to shoot him. WO #3 arrived on the sixth floor followed by ETF police officers. All parties tried to communicate with the Complainant through the locked door and deliver the same message, that is, that TPS was there to help him and that an ambulance was there to take him to the hospital.
Because the Complainant spoke the word “overdose”, he was questioned if he had overdosed or taken drugs. There was no response captured.
WO #2 was at the far end of the hall along with WO #3 and WO #1. The Complainant’s apartment had been entered and a paramedic chair was outside in the hallway.
At 1:54 a.m., paramedics brought the Complainant to the elevator in the paramedic chair to go to the ground floor.
WO #1’s BWC
The first recording was captured from October 9, 2021 beginning at 11:56 p.m. and ending at 1:03 a.m. on October 10, 2021. The recording was consistent with the footage captured by WO #2’s BWC - only from a different angle.
The second recording was captured on October 10, 2021 from 1:36 a.m. to 1:55 a.m. The footage started with WO #1 standing within the elevator door keeping it open. At 1:54 a.m., paramedics brought the Complainant to the elevator in a paramedic chair. The footage depicted a hole that had been drilled into the apartment door where the peep hole had been. There was damage done to the locking mechanism and the door.
In-car Camera System (ICCS) Footage – WO #3At 12:03:26 a.m., WO #3’s ICCS was activated.
At 12:05:52 a.m., WO #3 arrived at an intersection that was not far from the Church Street address. Shortly thereafter, WO #2 was heard over the police radio. WO #2 announced they were unable to establish communications with the Complainant. WO #2 indicated a need to breach the door to the apartment, and that TFS was required to do so.
At 12:09:43 a.m., TFS was requested.
At 12:16:13 a.m., it was announced ETF would attend.
At 12:21:43 a.m., a telephone call was made to the Complainant. The Complainant was yelling, and police could not understand what he was yelling.
At 12:23:35 a.m., a police officer advised that he saw the Complainant at the window to his apartment, and he was often just pacing about.
At 1:32:49 a.m., police reported there would be an emergency run to the hospital with the Complainant.
At 1:40:41 a.m., the dispatcher inquired if the Complainant’s distress was injury or drug-related. The source of the distress had not been ascertained, but it was likely drug-related.
At 1:52:00 a.m., the Complainant was being loaded into an ambulance.
At 1:59:14 a.m., WO #3’s cruiser was mobile and left the scene.
At 2:02:42 a.m., WO #3 arrived at SMH.
Materials Obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU received the following materials from TPS between October 10, 2021 and December 6, 2021:
- 911 Calls;
- Communications Recordings;
- 51 Division and ETF Involved Officers;
- General Occurrence Report;
- Event Details Report;
- Notes-WO #3;
- Notes-WO #4;
- Notes-WO #8;
- Notes-WO #2;
- Notes-WO #9;
- Notes-WO #7;
- Notes-WO #1;
- Notes-WO #10;
- Notes-WO #5;
- Notes-WO #6;
- Procedure – Emotionally Disturbed Persons;
- Procedure – Incidents Requiring the ETF;
- ICCS Footage – WO #3; and
- BWC Footage.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
- EMS records;
- Medical Record-SMH; and
- Preliminary Autopsy Findings Report from the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service.
At about 11:25 p.m. of October 9, 2021, an agitated Complainant called police seeking help. He reported there were people with guns trying to kill him but was unable to provide any details. In a second 911 call a few minutes later, a still frantic Complainant repeated there were people out to harm him. Police officers were dispatched to investigate.
WO #3, WO #1 and WO #2 of 51 Division were the first officers to arrive on scene at the sixth floor apartment on Church Street. To no avail, they attempted to communicate with the Complainant through the locked door. The Complainant could be heard yelling from inside the apartment indicating that he was being shot. He refused to open the door for the police. A call was made to have firefighters attend to force open the door. That call was cancelled moments later when WO #3 decided to call-in the ETF.
The first ETF officers – SO #3 and WO #8 – were on scene at about 12:25 a.m. They were followed by other team members that included SO #1, SO #2, WO #5, WO #6, and WO #7. The ETF took charge of police operations. SO #2 continued with efforts to speak with the Complainant through the door. The Complainant screamed and yelled, and was largely incoherent. By this time, it was clear they were dealing with an individual in mental distress. A check of police records indicated that the Complainant was schizophrenic and refused to take his medication.
At about 1:30 a.m., after hearing the sounds of grunts and groans from inside the apartment, and the Complainant crying for help, ETF officers forced open the door with a hydraulic ram and rushed inside the apartment. SO #3 and SO #2 quickly located the Complainant lying on the floor, handcuffed him behind the back, and placed him in the recovery position. Within moments, the Complainant lapsed into acute medical distress.
Paramedics who had been staging nearby were summoned to the apartment. CPR was administered, as were other lifesaving measures. The Complainant was eventually placed on a chair stretcher, taken down to a waiting ambulance, and rushed to hospital.
The Complainant was pronounced deceased at hospital at 2:16 a.m.
Cause of DeathThe pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that “signs of traumatic causes of death [were] not present”. The cause of the Complainant’s death remains pending at this time.
Sections 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. A simple finding of unreasonable conduct will not suffice to ground liability. Rather, what is required is 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 any want of care on the part of the officers who engaged with the Complainant, sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction, that contributed to his death. In my view, there was not.
The officers who attended at the Complainant’s residence were at all times lawfully placed. They had been called to the scene by the Complainant himself, who was in apparent mental distress at the time and under the belief that there were people trying to hurt him. Once there, with the information at their disposal suggesting the Complainant was in the throes of a psychotic episode, they were duty bound to do what they reasonably could to prevent harm coming to him.
The deployment of the ETF at the scene seems a reasonable decision. Uniformed officers, including a member of the service’s Mobile Crisis Intervention Team, had tried and failed to make any headway with the Complainant from outside his apartment door. The situation had effectively become a barricaded person situation, potentially involving guns - precisely the circumstances for which ETF officers are trained and equipped.
In the course of a standoff lasting little more than an hour at the scene, I am also satisfied that the ETF officers, including the subject officials, comported themselves with due care and regard for the Complainant’s well-being. Though of unsound mind, while the Complainant could still be heard inside the apartment they continued with their efforts to peacefully resolve the situation through negotiation. As time wore on, they decided to drill a hole in the door to acquire a line of sight into the apartment. Unfortunately, something hanging from the door partially obstructed the hole they had created. It was shortly after drilling the hole that the Complainant asked for help and began making sounds indicating he was in physical distress. At this time, the ETF forced open the door and entered the apartment. I am unable to reasonably conclude on this record that the officers ought to have entered any sooner than they did. They were within their rights in exercising a measure of caution given the Complainant’s talk of guns in his 911 calls. Once inside, there is no indication of any significant force having been brought to bear against the Complainant, other than what would have been necessary to temporarily handcuff his arms behind his back. Thereafter, paramedics were expeditiously brought to the scene to render emergency medical care.
The cause of the Complainant’s death remains undetermined at this time pending the results of further examinations. Be that as it may, as I am satisfied for the foregoing reasons that the Complainant’s death is not attributable to any unlawful conduct on the part of the involved officers, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: February 7, 2022
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.