SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TCI-346


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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 33-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On October 14, 2021, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.

The TPS advised that on August 23, 2021, at 4:14 p.m., the Complainant was arrested for an assault at a restaurant on Lakeshore Boulevard. The Complainant resisted and was grounded during his arrest, which was effected by several paid-duty officers in the area.

The Complainant was taken to St. Michael's Hospital (SMH). He had X-rays taken and TPS was advised that a radiologist would have to read them in the morning. A TPS police officer returned the next morning and SMH staff refused to disclose the extent of the injury.

The TPS had since obtained the medical records, which confirmed that the Complainant had sustained a nasal bone fracture.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 10/15/2021 at 9:30 a.m.

Date and time SIU responded: 10/15/2021 at 10:16 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

33-year-old male; unable to locate

Civilian Witnesses

CW Interviewed

The civilian witness was interviewed on October 25, 2021.

Subject Officials

SO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed

The subject official was interviewed on November 16, 2021.

Witness Officials

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

The witness official was interviewed on October 28, 2021.


The Scene

The interaction between the Complainant and the police officers occurred in Woodbine Park at the northwest corner of the intersection of Lakeshore Boulevard East and Northern Dancer Boulevard.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

Police Radio Communications

On November 2, 2021, the SIU received a series of radio communications from the TPS in relation to the Complainant’s arrest on August 22, 2021. The following is a summary of the pertinent transmission.
  • 4:14:27 p.m., the SO: “We were just flagged down from the staff at the [restaurant] here. There is a disorderly male we are going to try and get to leave here just so you know.”
  • 4:14:36 p.m., Dispatch: “What’s the location?”
  • 4:14:41 p.m., the SO: “[Address] I believe. Lakeshore.”
  • 4:14:46 p.m., Dispatch: “I will mark you on that for the time being.”
  • 4:17:01 p.m., the SO: “Could you send a unit please. It’s no urgency right now but this guy is going to be a problem. He has left the [restaurant] but now he is causing problems on the street.”
  • 4:17:11 p.m., the SO: “We are in the park north of Lakeshore just west of Northern Dancer.”
  • 4:17:19 p.m., another officer: “You can put [us] on that. We will head down.”
  • 4:20:38 p.m., WO #1: “(unintelligible).”
  • 4:20:41 p.m., Dispatch: “Go ahead.”
  • 4:20:44 p.m., WO #1: “We have one in custody all in order.”

Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) Footage

At 4:09:25 p.m., the Complainant, dressed in long baggy jean shorts that exposed the upper half of his buttocks, in bare feet and shirtless wearing a baseball hat and carrying a black gym-type bag, walked west along the front of the store, dropping his bag beside a garbage container on the east side of the main entrance, and walked toward the entrance. He stopped and adjusted his pants to cover his buttocks and then walked toward the store proper but stopped at the threshold of the entrance way. He appeared to have a silver chain strung from the front of his waist band to the rear.

The Complainant appeared very unsteady on his feet. He turned and walked back toward the entry door. He opened the outside door, retrieved his bag, and went back into the store. He placed the bag on the floor on the east side of the entrance and walked to the east side of the lobby area. He was not wearing a mask of any type.
A line-up of customers formed behind the Complainant, who was standing at the far east end of the entrance line-up. The Complainant turned and walked back toward the entrance way where he bent over to search in his bag, exposing the upper half of his buttocks. He then sat on the floor next to his bag at the main entrance doors.

The Complainant was approached by two employees [one now known to have been the CW] and they engaged in a conversation. The employees then left through the front door and walked to the northeast [known to be the location of the SO and WO #1 working a paid-duty assignment]. The Complainant got to his feet and reached toward a box mounted on the wall just to the east of the entrance [known to be a fire alarm pull station] - almost everyone in the store turned and faced the Complainant. He picked up his bag and walked further into the store.

At 4:14:34 p.m., WO #1 and the SO, wearing high visibility safety vests and full TPS patrol uniforms, walked toward the store from the northeast. A third employee met the CW at the front door and pointed toward the fire alarm pull station. WO #1 and the SO stopped and spoke with the CW at the entrance to the store. WO #1 and the SO entered the store and engaged the Complainant in a conversation. The SO appeared to take the lead. The CW came from behind the counter and approached to speak with WO #1. The Complainant picked up his bag, and turned and walked toward the entrance, pushing an employee out of his way and walking out of the store followed by WO #1 and the SO.

The Complainant could be seen starting to run toward Lakeshore Boulevard East just west of the intersection of Northern Dancer Boulevard. WO #1 and the SO walked at a normal pace and arrived at the southwest corner of the intersection, after which they walked west along the south side of Lakeshore Boulevard East before running on an angle west across Lakeshore Boulevard East and out of sight of the camera.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the TPS:
  • General Occurrence report;
  • Body-worn Camera footage; [2]
  • In-car Camera System footage; [3]
  • Procedure - Arrest;
  • Procedure - Use of Force;
  • Notes of the SO and WOs;
  • Communications Recordings; and
  • Medical records of the Complainant from St. Michael’s Hospital.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU also obtained video footage from the restaurant.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with the SO and another officer who participated in the Complainant’s arrest – WO #1. The investigation was also assisted by video footage from a security camera that captured the incident in parts. The Complainant could not be located to provide a statement.

In the afternoon of August 22, 2021, the SO and WO #1 were working a paid-duty at Lakeshore Boulevard East and Northern Dancer Boulevard when they were approached by employees of a restaurant near the intersection. One of the employees – the CW – told the officers of a male in the store who was being a nuisance and impeding the flow of customers into the business. The officers walked over to the restaurant to investigate.

The male was the Complainant. He had entered the store shirtless and wearing a pair of shorts that exposed his upper buttocks. The Complainant had sat down on the floor blocking the entrance, and refused to leave.

The SO and WO #1 entered the store and spoke with the Complainant. They asked the Complainant if he needed anything and told him the store staff wanted him off the premises and he would have to leave. By that time, the Complainant had also set off the fire alarm in the store for no particular reason. The Complainant swore at the officers but got up and left the store of his own volition. As he approached the doors, the Complainant lightly pushed a store employee out of the way as he made his exit.

The officers followed the Complainant out of the restaurant and watched as he crossed Lakeshore Boulevard East west of the controlled intersection, causing live traffic to come to a stop, and entered Woodbine Park on the northwest corner of the intersection. WO #1 decided to arrest the Complainant at this time.

WO #1 walked up from behind the Complainant in the park, grabbed hold of his left arm, and told him he was under arrest. The Complainant spun free of the officer’s hold, lost his balance, and fell on his back on an asphalt walkway. From the ground, the Complainant flailed his legs and swung his arms in their direction, almost striking the officers as they attempted to take him into custody. The SO punched the Complainant in the face during the struggle, after which the officers handcuffed his arms behind his back.

The Complainant was taken to hospital from the scene and diagnosed with a fractured nose.

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 two TPS officers on August 22, 2021. One of the officers – the SO – was identified as a subject official for purposes of the SIU investigation. The investigation is now concluded. 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 required or authorized to do by law.

I am satisfied that the SO and WO #1 had lawful grounds to seek the Complainant’s arrest for mischief and assault. They had information that he had set off a fire alarm and had seen him push a restaurant employee, in both cases, for no reason.

I am also satisfied that the force used by the SO was legally justified in the circumstances. The Complainant reacted with hostility and aggression when told he was under arrest. He had forcibly broken free of WO #1’s hold, falling in the process, and was combative on the ground, lashing out with his limbs at the officers. In the circumstances, I am unable to reasonably conclude that a single punch, intended to subdue the Complainant and deter any further aggression, was a disproportionate response to the situation at hand. Indeed, the Complainant was quickly handcuffed following the strike, after which there was no further force used by the officers.

For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO comported himself other than lawfully in his dealings with the Complainant. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceedings with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.

Date: February 11, 2022

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]
  • 2) The footage was from uninvolved officers, and did not capture any of the events in question. [Back to text]
  • 3) Ibid. [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.