SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCI-414


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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 serious injuries sustained by a 29-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On December 9, 2021, at 3:23 p.m., the St. Thomas Police Service (STPS) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.

The STPS advised that the Complainant had been involved in a domestic disturbance and police were called. The Complainant fled the residence prior to police arrival, and it was reported he may have taken drugs prior to driving away. The Complainant’s vehicle was spotted but was empty. The Subject Official (SO) watched the vehicle and, when the Complainant returned and got into the vehicle, arrested the Complainant. The Complainant was arrested at 11:54 a.m. for operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs. The Complainant was brought to the police station, booked and given an opportunity to speak to counsel. After speaking to counsel, the Complainant collapsed and paramedics were called. The Complainant was taken to Elgin General Hospital (EGH) and the Intensive Care Unit.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 12/09/2021 at 4:10 p.m.

Date and time SIU responded: 12/09/2021 at 4:16 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

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

The Complainant was interviewed on December 14, 2021.

Civilian Witnesses

CW Interviewed

The civilian witness was interviewed on December 9, 2021.

Subject Officials

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

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on December 17, 2021.

Service Employee Witnesses

SEW #1 Interview deemed not necessary
SEW #2 Interview deemed not necessary

The service employee witnesses were not interviewed because their conduct was adequately captured on the booking video.


The Scene

On December 9, 2021, at 10:10 p.m., a SIU forensic investigator attended the police station to examine the involved police officer’s cruiser. The forensic investigator also examined and photographed the Complainant’s pickup truck.

The forensic investigator examined the police cruiser and various areas of interest of the police station, including the sally port, the booking hall, the holding cell area, and a telephone room.

The forensic investigator photographed the involved police cruiser. The rear passenger area of the cruiser was separated into two compartments – passenger and prisoner seats. No visible bodily fluids were found in the rear passenger or prisoner seats and compartments.

At 11:30 p.m., the forensic investigator went into the garage of the police station and photographed the area leading from the garage into the booking hall area. The booking hall area was clean. A large concrete bench was positioned opposite the booking desk. Two holding cells and two interview rooms were close by. One of the interview rooms was used as a telephone room for calls to counsel. Security camera domes were visible near the booking desk, the holding cells, and in the interview room.

Scene Diagram

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

Communications Recordings

The recordings were made on December 9, 2021, and captured the following information.

At 10:41:06 a.m., the CW placed a 911 call. She told the dispatcher that she and her husband, the Complainant, had an argument. The CW stated the Complainant was high on drugs. The Complainant had left their residence in his truck. The dispatcher told the CW that WO #1 would come and meet her.

At 10:42:32 a.m., the dispatcher sent the call-out via police radio communication to police units. The dispatcher indicated that the CW was reporting a domestic disturbance between herself and the Complainant, and that the Complainant had left the residence in a pickup truck with an unknown licence plate.

At 10:49:25 a.m., a police officer reported over the police radio that the disturbance involved verbal argument only. The police officer advised that the Complainant might be under the influence of drugs.

At 11:41:28 a.m., the dispatcher received a phone call from someone at the Redemption Bible Chapel. The caller told the dispatcher they had a truck in their parking lot with a flat tire. It appeared the person in the truck was doing drugs. The caller provided the address.

At 11:46:33 a.m., the dispatcher spoke to the SO and told him someone at the church had called police about a truck with a flat tire. A spare tire was lying near the truck and nobody was around.

At 11:47:24 a.m., the SO reported to dispatch that he saw the Complainant walking.

At 11:50:01 a.m., the SO reported to dispatch that nobody saw the Complainant behind the wheel of his truck.

At 11:52:28 a.m., the SO spoke to WO #1 via police radio and asked WO #1 to find a witness. WO #1 reported back to the SO advising he had found a witness. At the same time the SO reported he had the Complainant in custody.

At 11:54:16 a.m., the SO contacted WO #2 to request another police officer do the DRE [Drug Recognition Expert] test.

At 12:06:28 pm., the SO reported to the dispatcher that police had found a baggy of suspected fentanyl and another container of suspected drugs. The SO was returning to the police station.

At 12:30:10 pm., the SO contacted the dispatcher requesting an ambulance to the police station. The dispatcher called ambulance communications reporting the Complainant was possibly under the influence of fentanyl and cocaine.
At 12:31:43 pm., the SO told the dispatcher to let the ambulance know it was urgent. The dispatcher responded by saying the ambulance was coming lights and sirens.

At 12:31:58 pm., the SO requested that the garage doors be opened for the ambulance.

Body-worn Camera (BWC) Footage

The recordings were made on December 9, 2021, and captured the following information.

WO #1’s BWC

WO #1 responded to the residence of the CW and received information from her of the events that had transpired at the residence earlier between herself and the Complainant. The CW gave WO #1 information that the Complainant had driven away from the residence in a pickup truck with a flat tire. The CW believed the Complainant was impaired by drugs. WO #1 made a police radio broadcast of the information.

Undesignated Officer’s BWC
The footage from the BWC was essentially the same as that from WO #1’s BWC.

The SO’s BWC
At 11:46:52 a.m., the SO stopped in a parking lot [known to be 109 Chestnut Street, St Thomas] where he located a pickup truck with a flat tire.

At 11:47:28 a.m., the SO used his police radio to announce he had located the Complainant walking towards him from a wooded area north of Chestnut Street.

At 11:47:57 a.m., the Complainant was dressed in a hooded sweater, T-shirt, jeans, socks, and no shoes. The Complainant was visibly unsteady on his feet and he was whispering. The SO asked the Complainant what was wrong with his voice and the Complainant said he just took cocaine. The Complainant told the SO he took the cocaine while stopped in the church parking lot.

At 11:51:53 a.m., the SO asked the Complainant what he had in his pockets and the Complainant produced a Narcan dispenser.

At 11:52:46 a.m., the SO received information from WO #1 via police radio about a witness seeing the Complainant in the care and control of the pickup truck. The SO advised the Complainant he was under arrest for impaired operation of a motor vehicle. The SO placed the Complainant in handcuffs. The Complainant was then placed in the back of the SO’s marked cruiser.

At 12:00:26 pm., the SO seized a small baggie containing an unknown substance from the front driver’s seat of the Complainant’s truck.

At 12:03:39 pm., the SO was given a pill bottle found in the Complainant’s truck by WO #1.

At 12:05:54 pm., the SO left the scene with the Complainant and drove to the police station.

At 12:09:56 pm., the SO and the Complainant arrived in the garage at the police station. The Complainant had no difficulty breathing or staying awake during his interactions with the SO to this point.

WO #1’s BWC
WO #1 arrived at the 109 Chestnut Street and assisted with the search of the Complainant’s vehicle.

Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) Booking and Cell Video

The recordings were made on December 9, 2021, and captured the following information.

Booking Area
At 12:08:17 pm., the Complainant was escorted into the custody area - his hands handcuffed behind his back - by the SO. A second uniformed police officer, WO #2, was standing behind the custody desk. WO #2 asked the Complainant questions about his arrest and whether he wished to contact a lawyer. The Complainant responded to the questions appropriately but whispered his responses. WO #2 asked what was wrong with the Complainant’s voice, but his response was inaudible.

At 12:12:18 pm., WO #2 asked the Complainant how much cocaine he had taken. The Complainant replied but the response was inaudible. WO #2 repeated, “20 grams?” The Complainant continued to respond inaudibly. WO #2 asked the Complainant about his medical health and need for medications. The Complainant appeared alert and focused, and sat up on a bench without assistance.

At 12:13:50 pm., WO #2 made further inquiries about the cocaine taken by the Complainant while the Complainant was being searched by the SO.

At 12:15:16 pm., the SO asked the Complainant when he took the cocaine that he said he had ingested. The Complainant replied he ate the cocaine after police arrived at the church parking lot and found his truck.

At 12:16:59 pm., the SO advised the Complainant he would give him his Narcan dispenser once he had concluded searching his clothing. The Complainant could keep the Narcan with him while in police custody.

At 12:17:41 pm., the Complainant walked into a private telephone room on his own.

At 12:18:26 pm., a plainclothes police officer (a DRE) was in the custody area behind the custody desk.

At 12:23:29 pm., the Complainant had finished his phone call and walked back to the custody bench. WO #2 watched the Complainant through a window the entire time the Complainant was in the phone room.

At 12:24:33 pm., the Complainant asked for and received a bottle of water from the SO.

At 12:25:15 pm., WO #2 left the booking area telling the SO to let him know if there was any change in the Complainant’s condition.

At 12:26:46 pm., the Complainant, after drinking water from the water bottle, started to fall asleep while sitting up. He then lay down on the bench. The SO encouraged the Complainant to stay in an upright position, but the Complainant fell over onto his side.

At 12:27:04 pm., the SO used his police radio to call for an ambulance to respond to the custody area.

At 12:27:49 pm., WO #2 returned to the custody area. The Complainant was being assisted to stay in a seated position by police officers who questioned the Complainant as to what he had ingested.

At 12:28:25 pm., the Complainant appeared to be in the midst of a seizure, and police officers were inquiring about his breathing.

At 12:29:12 pm., WO #2 inquired if the Complainant was breathing, and the SO advised he had his hand on the Complainant’s chest and could feel him breathing.

At 12:30:08 pm., the Complainant slid off the bench onto the floor during an apparent seizure and was placed on his right side in a recovery position. Police officers supported him, and encouraged him to keep breathing and to control his breaths.

At 12:33:54 pm., WO #3 arrived in the custody area. The Complainant was still on his right side and was experiencing seizures approximately every 30 seconds - each lasting for about 10 seconds.

At 12:35:45 pm., paramedics arrived in the booking area and the Complainant was loaded onto a stretcher.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the STPS:
  • Arrest Report;
  • Event Details Report;
  • Communication recordings;
  • Photographs;
  • General Occurrence Report;
  • Notes of WOs;
  • Policy-Prisoner-Care-Control; and
  • Policy-Prisoner-Transportation.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
  • Medical records from EGH.

Incident Narrative

The events in question are clear on the evidence collected by the SIU, and may be briefly summarized. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

In the morning of December 9, 2021, the Complainant was arrested by the SO for driving while impaired. The officer had located the Complainant and his vehicle in the parking lot of 109 Chestnut Street following a call to police from the Complainant’s partner – the CW. The CW had expressed concern that her husband was driving while high on cocaine and possibly other drugs.

The Complainant was compliant with his arrest. He admitted to the officer that he had consumed a quantity of cocaine, and what appeared to be illegal substances were seized from his vehicle. At the station, the Complainant told WO #2 the same thing, namely, that he had consumed anywhere between 5 and 20 grams of cocaine. Though he whispered when he spoke, the Complainant did not appear to be in any pronounced distress.

At about 12:26 p.m., after returning to the booking area having made a call to a lawyer in a private room, the Complainant began to lose consciousness in a seated position on a bench. The SO immediately radioed for an ambulance. He and other officers tended to the Complainant as he appeared to suffer intermittent seizures, placing him in a recovery position and ensuring he was breathing.

Paramedics arrived on scene at about 12:35 p.m. and assumed the Complainant’s care, transporting him to hospital. The Complainant was placed in a medically-induced coma. He had suffered a multi-drug overdose.

Relevant Legislation

Section 215, Criminal Code - Failure to Provide Necessaries

215 (1) Every one is under a legal duty

(c) to provide necessaries of life to a person under his charge if that person
(i) is unable, by reason of detention, age, illness, mental disorder or other cause, to withdraw himself from that charge, and
(ii) is unable to provide himself with necessaries of life.

(2) Every person commits an offence who, being under a legal duty within the meaning of subsection (1), fails without lawful excuse to perform that duty, if
(b) with respect to a duty imposed by paragraph (1)(c), the failure to perform the duty endangers the life of the person to whom the duty is owed or causes or is likely to cause the health of that person to be injured permanently.

Sections 219 and 220, Criminal Code -- Criminal Negligence Causing Bodily Harm

219 (1) Every one is criminally negligent who
(a) in doing anything, or
(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

(2) For the purposes of this section, duty means a duty imposed by law.

221 Every one who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of 

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On December 9, 2021, the STPS contacted the SIU to report that a man – the Complainant – had fallen ill in their custody that day and been taken to hospital. The SIU initiated an investigation, identifying the SO as a subject official. 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 admission to hospital.

There is no indication in the evidence of any want of care on the part of the officers who dealt with the Complainant that might attract scrutiny under sections 215 or 221 of the Criminal Code, setting out the offences of failure to provide the necessaries of life and criminal negligence causing bodily harm, respectively. There is no suggestion that the Complainant was unlawfully in the custody of the police. The police had information from his partner that the Complainant was intoxicated and driving a vehicle. Nor is there any suggestion that the SO failed to comport himself with due care and regard for the Complainant’s well-being at any time. He and WO #2, aware that the Complainant was impaired by cocaine use, watched him carefully and promptly called for medical care at the first sign of acute medical distress. In fact, the Complainant had been in the custody of the police for not longer than about 40 minutes – 20 minutes of which were in the police station – before an ambulance was called.

For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the Complainant’s custodians, including the SO, transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.

Date: March 30, 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]


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.