SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-TCI-013
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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.
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.
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 injuries a 34-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn January 18, 2022, at 5:17 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU that a barricaded man had been transported to hospital after having stabbed himself.
According to TPS, at approximately 1:41 p.m. that afternoon, the TPS was contacted to attend a residence near Bloor Street and Bathurst Street in relation to an agitated occupant of a group home that housed individuals suffering from various mental health conditions. Prior to police arrival at the residence, the individual, later identified to be the Complainant, stabbed himself in the stomach. Upon the arrival of police officers, attempts to apprehend the Complainant, including the deployment of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray, were ineffective. The Complainant began to stab himself in the neck multiple times. He then jumped through a pass-through serving window into the dining room area, and moved towards another occupant of the home. At that point, police officers apprehended the Complainant without incident.
The Complainant was transported to St. Michael’s Hospital by ambulance and was undergoing surgery at the time of the notification. The residence had been secured and held by police.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 01/18/2022 at 5:58 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 01/18/2022 at 7:02 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):34-year-old male; not interviewed due to medical condition
Civilian Witnesses (CW)CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between January 18 and 24, 2022.
Subject Official (SO)SO Not interviewed, and notes not provided
Given that the interaction between police and the Complainant was captured on multiple video cameras, it was determined that the SIU need not interview the SO.
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
WO #4 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
No witness official interviews were requested, given that the entire incident was recorded on numerous cameras.
The Scene The scene was a house in the area of Bloor Street and Bathurst Street, Toronto. The residence was a licensed home for people with mental health and addiction issues. Numerous rooms had been converted to residential rooms for the tenants who resided there.
The kitchen was found to be in disarray, with coffee grounds and water on the floor. On the ledge of the serving window was a steak knife with a 5-centimetre stain of blood on the tip. In the dining room, the computer monitor and the television screen had been shattered.
Physical Evidence The SIU collected one steak knife from the counter of the serving window. The tip of the knife was stained with a red smear, which was believed to be the Complainant’s blood. The knife was not submitted for analysis as the events in their entirety were captured on video recordings.
The SIU also collected the SO’s OC spray cannister. Swabs were taken from the computer in the dining room of the residence and from the refrigerator in the kitchen, to test for lachrymators in the event the need arose. The OC cannister and the swabs were not submitted for analysis, again because the incident was captured on video recordings.
Figure 1 – The Complainant’s knife
Figure 2 – The SO’s OC spray
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
TPS Communications RecordingsOn January 18, 2022, at 1:37 p.m., CW #1 called 911 to request an ambulance. In the background of the call, the Complainant was crying continuously. CW #1 called out to the Complainant to explain what was wrong. CW #1 asked the Toronto Paramedic Services to transport the Complainant to “CAMH” (the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), but the ambulance dispatcher advised they could only transport people to hospital emergency departments. CW #1 reported there was a great deal of mucous that was coming from the Complainant. The TPS 911 call-taker remained on the telephone and CW #1 told her that the Complainant suffered from schizophrenia. The Toronto Paramedic Services dispatcher reported there would be a significant delay of several hours before they could attend the address.
At 1:44 p.m., the SO and WO #1 were dispatched to the residence to meet with paramedics.
At 2:02 p.m., CW #1 again called 911 and reported that the Complainant had stabbed himself. CW #1 reported the fire department had attended the residence, but no ambulance had yet arrived. While speaking to the 911 call-taker, CW #1 could be heard speaking to the SO, telling him that a man had stabbed himself in the stomach.
At 2:05 p.m., WO #1 reported they were with the man and all seemed to be in order, but they were checking to see if the man [the Complainant] had wounds. At 2:07 p.m., she reported the Complainant had barricaded himself in the kitchen and they needed additional officers to assist them.
At 2:11 p.m., WO #1 reported the Complainant had exited the kitchen and was in a secondary room. By 2:12 p.m., additional police officers reported they were at the residence and, at 2:14 p.m., WO #1 reported the Complainant was in custody.
Summary of Video RecordingsThe security and body-worn camera video recordings provided to the SIU captured the entire sequence of events under investigation. The video recordings from the residence were recorded on cameras mounted in the kitchen, the dining room, and the hallway outside both rooms. There was no audio component on those recordings.
All the police officers involved in the incident were equipped with body-worn cameras, which included an audio component.
At 1:48 p.m., the kitchen camera recorded CW #5 talking to the Complainant at the kitchen door. The Complainant entered the kitchen and appeared to be wiping his eyes. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood over his head, obscuring a view of his face. CW #5 pointed towards the door, indicating she wanted the Complainant to exit the kitchen. CW #5 then exited the kitchen followed by the Complainant.
The camera in the dining room recorded CW #5 speaking to the Complainant in the dining room. CW #5 then returned to the kitchen followed by the Complainant.
At 1:53 p.m., CW #5 re-entered the kitchen, while the Complainant stood behind her, rocking from foot to foot. CW #5 poured a cup of coffee for the Complainant and gestured for him to leave the kitchen. The Complainant moved towards the kitchen door, where he stood at the door and spoke to CW #5. CW #5 again gestured towards the kitchen door, and she placed her hand on his right shoulder to encourage him to leave the kitchen. She then turned and resumed her work.
At 1:55 p.m., the Complainant walked to the kitchen counter, picked up a knife and, as CW #5 turned around, pulled the knife in towards his abdomen. CW #5 fled the kitchen.
The Complainant then spoke to CW #4 who was standing at the kitchen door.
At 1:57 p.m., WO #1’s body-worn camera recorded her and the SO approaching the front door of the residence. The SO asked CW #1, “Got a knife on him?” CW #1 confirmed the Complainant had a knife.
At 1:58 p.m., the hallway camera captured CW #1 entering the hallway, followed by the SO and WO #1. CW #4 was standing at the kitchen door speaking to the Complainant.
As the SO and WO #1 walked down the hallway, the SO’s body-worn camera recorded the Complainant telling the SO everything was okay. The SO said to the Complainant, “Let us talk to you,” and then, “Let me see your hands though.” The Complainant asked why he had to show his hands and the SO responded, “Because I can’t have you fooling around with a knife.”
At 1:58 p.m., the kitchen camera recorded CW #1 opening the serving window from the dining room and speaking to the Complainant. The Complainant turned towards the kitchen door and spoke to someone at the door. He waved his hands, as though to suggest he was uncomfortable.
At 1:59 p.m., the SO’s camera documented that he was holding a cannister of OC spray in his left hand as he pushed the kitchen door open. The SO explained to the Complainant that the police could not just leave simply because the Complainant said he was okay, as someone had reported he had stabbed himself. The SO asked the Complainant to display his stomach, and the Complainant denied he had stabbed himself, while slightly pulling his jacket a few inches away from his abdomen and waving his hands as if to suggest there was nothing wrong with his abdomen. The SO told the Complainant, “Listen my friend, this is what’s gonna happen. You either show me or you get arrested. Is that what you want?” The Complainant asked, “Arrested for what?” The SO responded, “Under the Mental Health Act. I might have concerns you are a danger to yourself, so you are to show me your stomach or I promise you’ll be arrested, that’s the bottom line. I can’t just leave; I can’t just leave. What if you hurt yourself?”
The Complainant slowly approached the kitchen door and the SO, holding the OC cannister in his left hand, cautioned, “Don’t keep coming up to me like that or you’re gonna get sprayed. Don’t keep coming up to me like that. I’m gonna spray you with this pepper spray right in the face.” The Complainant backed away to the far end of the kitchen.
WO #1’s camera recorded her reporting over the police radio that all was in order, but they were just checking for any wounds.
The SO asked who it was that called the police and CW #1, who was in the hallway at that point, stated he had done so because the Complainant had been crying. The SO asked why CW #1 would call for an ambulance for someone who was crying. CW #1 explained that the Complainant had been having an emotional breakdown and then CW #5 ran out of the kitchen and said the Complainant had stabbed himself. The SO asked the Complainant if he had stabbed himself, but the Complainant did not reply.
At 2:00 p.m., the SO’s camera recorded him saying to WO #1, “I don’t see any blood or anything. Is he a danger to himself or others? No. I mean he’s ‘EDP’ [emotionally disturbed person].” The SO again asked the Complainant to open his jacket.
The SO further stated to WO #1, “The way I see it, there’s no rush to go in there. If he does run at me, I’ll close the door. I got this (displaying cannister of OC spray). If he charges me or something I could spray.” The SO stated he did not see any weapons but that did not mean the Complainant did not have a weapon.
WO #1’s camera recorded the SO asking her if she was ready and he said that the Complainant had to go to the ground. He said, “We’re gonna be under the Mental Health Act, all right.” WO #1 asked, “Do you want to try to lure him out?”
At 2:01 p.m., WO #1 asked the Complainant for his name, so they could talk. The Complainant became very animated and moved towards the kitchen door. The door was pulled shut by the SO. The SO commented to WO #1, “We’re gonna have to drop him and cuff him.”
The kitchen camera captured the Complainant walking away from the kitchen door, swinging his arms around and sweeping coffee percolators and other items off the kitchen counter. He then slipped and fell onto the floor.
At 2:02 p.m., the kitchen door opened as the Complainant rose to his feet. The SO’s camera recorded the Complainant yelling as he rose from the floor. The Complainant started to move towards the kitchen door and the SO deployed OC spray into his face. The Complainant pulled the hood of his hooded sweatshirt down over his face. He approached the kitchen door and was able to place his left arm through the doorway as the SO attempted to slam the door shut. The Complainant pulled his arm back and the door was pulled closed.
WO #1 asked the SO if he wanted backup and he said that he did. WO #1 reported over her police radio that the Complainant had barricaded himself and could be armed, given that he was in the kitchen and had access to knives.
The Complainant walked away from the kitchen door and slipped and fell onto his back. He sat on the floor and clapped his hands. The SO’s camera recorded the Complainant saying what sounded to be “Jesus” three times. At 2:03 p.m., the Complainant stood again.
The SO asked WO #1 to look through the serving window to see whether the Complainant was harming himself. WO #1 misunderstood and exited the building to look through the exterior kitchen window. The camera worn by WO #1 recorded the exterior kitchen window being frosted - she was unable to see into the interior of the kitchen. Her camera recorded her knocking on the kitchen window.
The SO stated, “All right, for the purpose of this camera here, I’ve had to pepper spray this person, right. It was assaultive behaviour, he was running at me there, and also in an effort to incapacitate him so he’s unable to hurt himself. I’ve obviously closed this door. I don’t want him charging at me with a knife.” On the SO’s camera, the Complainant could be heard singing “Jesus” three times.
At 2:04 p.m., the SO’s camera recorded WO #1 knocking on the exterior kitchen window. The Complainant could then be heard yelling out as though in pain.
At 2:04 p.m., the kitchen camera recorded the Complainant standing and using his right hand to pick up a knife from the kitchen counter (believed to be the knife he had held earlier). He stabbed the knife towards, or into, the right side of his neck four times. He then twice stabbed the knife into the left side of his neck. On the second stab, he brought his left hand up to the end of the knife and appeared to be pushing the knife into his neck. He proceeded to pace around the kitchen with the knife protruding from the left side of his neck.
At 2:04:59 p.m., the Complainant picked up a large knife from the counter, lifted his clothing, and plunged the knife into his abdomen. He released the knife and it remained protruding from his abdomen. He then pulled the knife from his abdomen and dropped it onto the kitchen floor. The knife in his neck remained in place.
WO #1 returned to the hallway and, at 2:05 p.m., the SO’s camera recorded him asking WO #1 to look through the serving window to see if the Complainant was harming himself. WO #1 reported, “He looks okay so far.”
The SO stated to his camera, “Just for the purposes of the camera, I don’t feel like jumping in there and getting stabbed, or us having to do something extra.”
At 2:05 p.m., the kitchen camera recorded the Complainant retrieving a can of soda from the kitchen windowsill, opening it, and spraying the beverage into his face. He dropped the can to the floor and repeated the actions with a second can of soda. It was unclear whether he was trying to drink the beverage or use it to rinse OC spray from his face.
The SO’s camera recorded him asking over the police radio whether WO #2 was on the air. The SO then asked WO #1 to take control of the kitchen door, as his radio was not on the proper channel. There followed a crashing sound from the kitchen, and WO #1 commented that the Complainant might be exiting the kitchen. The hallway camera recorded WO #1 taking over holding the kitchen door closed, while the SO moved to the dining room door.
The kitchen camera recorded the Complainant climbing onto the kitchen serving counter and climbing through the serving window into the dining room. The camera in the dining room recorded the Complainant falling to the floor of the dining room. When he stood up, the knife that had been protruding from his neck fell to the floor and his foot knocked it across the floor. The only other person in the dining room at that point was CW #2, who was sitting at the computer in the dining room.
The Complainant approached CW #2, took him gently by the right arm and guided him towards the dining room door. He appeared to be using CW #2 as a shield.
At 2:06 p.m., the SO’s camera recorded CW #2 and the Complainant walking around the edge of the open dining room door with CW #2 in front of the Complainant. The Complainant was saying, “Help me.” The SO told the Complainant, “Guy, back off, seriously.” The SO then pushed on CW #2 to force him and the Complainant backwards. The Complainant released CW #2. The SO told the Complainant, “Guy, get back, do it now!” while pointing his OC cannister at the Complainant. CW #2 then exited the dining room while the Complainant walked over to the computer and sat behind the large monitor.
At 2:06 p.m., the SO extended his baton and knocked away a block of wood that had been placed in the dining room door to keep the door open. He then re-holstered his baton.
The SO stepped around the edge of the open dining room door and pointed his OC cannister, in his left hand, towards the Complainant. The Complainant pulled the computer monitor closer to him, as though using it as a shield. The SO said to the Complainant, “Guy, seriously, get on the ground. Get on the ground, you’re gonna get sprayed again.”
At 2:07 p.m., the SO dragged a nearby table over to where it would serve as a barrier between himself and the Complainant. The Complainant then grabbed onto the computer monitor and he drove his head into it, shattering the monitor.
The SO’s camera recorded him saying to WO #1, “Wait for the boys to show up and we’ll go grab him. It’s all good, no rush.”
The Complainant stood and the SO again pointed his OC spray at him. The SO’s camera recorded the SO saying, “Don’t come at me sir, it’s assaultive behaviour, I’m gonna spray you again.” The Complainant made repeated stomping motions with his right foot, appearing to be very agitated, and he was chanting something or singing song lyrics. The SO told him to calm down, and the Complainant sat behind the computer monitor again.
At 2:07 p.m., WO #2 arrived at the dining room door.
The SO told WO #2, “He could have knives and all the rest of it, right, so it’s gonna be, I think, it’s gonna be a scrap. He’s pretty big.” The SO then told WO #2, “We gotta cuff him right away, he could be armed with a knife.”
At 2:08 p.m., the Complainant stood, walked over to the television mounted on the wall nearby, and punched the television. He twice yelled, “Don’t hurt my people.” The SO told WO #2, “I’m gonna spray him again, that’s assaultive behaviour.”
At 2:08 p.m., WO #4, armed with a less-lethal shotgun, entered the dining room.
WO #2 asked the Complainant to raise his hands and demonstrated what he wanted the Complainant to do. He also demonstrated that he wanted the Complainant to turn around. The Complainant complied with both directions.
WO #2 and the SO then approached the Complainant and handcuffed him without further incident. At 2:09 p.m., the Complainant was escorted out of the dining room.
At 2:10 p.m., the Complainant was searched outside. Two glass smoking pipes were recovered from his right front pants pocket.
At 2:12 p.m., the SO’s camera recorded paramedics lifting the Complainant’s shirt and reporting the Complainant had a puncture wound to his abdomen and that he had something under his neck.
WO #1’s camera recorded CW #1 telling her that the night before, the Complainant had damaged the television of another resident, although the Complainant claimed he had fallen into the television. CW #1 reported that the Complainant suffered from schizophrenia and had returned from CAMH three days prior.
At 2:13 p.m., the dining room camera recorded a resident entering the dining room, picking a knife up from the floor and placing it onto the ledge of the serving window.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from TPS between January 18 and 28, 2022:
- Video recordings obtained by TPS from the residence;
- Body-worn camera video recordings from responding police officers;
- Computer-aided Dispatch Event Details Report;
- Communications recordings;
- A list of civilian witnesses and a copy of on-camera statements obtained from them;
- Involved Officer List;
- Notes of all designated Witness Officials; and
- A list of police occurrences for the Complainant.
The material events in question are clear on the evidence collected by the SIU, and may be briefly summarized. They were captured in their entirety by police body-worn cameras and video recordings from cameras at the scene of the incident.
In the afternoon of January 18, 2022, police were sent to a residence in the area of Bloor Street and Bathurst Street, Toronto, following a call to police from the building manager – CW #1. The building was a rooming house for persons suffering from mental health and addiction issues. The Complainant, one of the residents, had been acting oddly. His behaviour came to the attention of CW #1, who called 911.
The SO and his partner, WO #1, were dispatched to the address. Soon after they arrived on scene, the officers were apprised that the Complainant had stabbed himself in the abdomen just prior to their arrival. The Complainant had done so in the rooming house kitchen, prompting CW #5 to report the matter to CW #1.
The SO and WO #1 entered the building and were directed to the kitchen in the basement. There, they encountered the Complainant and told him they wished to speak with him and ensure he was okay. The Complainant told them he did not need the police and refused to show his stomach area for possible injuries. The SO indicated the police would not leave until assured he was not injured. The Complainant approached the kitchen doorway, where the officers were positioned, and the SO warned him that he would be pepper sprayed if he got any closer. The officer eventually closed the kitchen door as the Complainant neared.
The Complainant’s agitation remained unabated. Alone in the kitchen, he swung his arms and swept items off the kitchen counter. When the SO opened the kitchen door, the Complainant yelled and moved towards it. The SO sprayed the Complainant with pepper spray and then retreated out of the kitchen, closing the door behind him. Again, alone in the kitchen, the Complainant picked up a knife from the counter and stabbed in the direction of the right side of his neck four times, after which he did the same thing twice to the left side of the neck. He then picked up another knife, lifted his clothing, and stabbed himself in the abdomen.
Shortly after the Complainant had stabbed himself in the abdomen for a second time, he climbed through the kitchen serving window to enter the adjacent dining room. The SO and WO #1 re-located themselves to the dining room doorway. The Complainant neared the doorway and was told by the SO to “get back”. The officer again threatened to use his pepper spray if the Complainant did not maintain his distance. The Complainant proceeded to destroy a computer monitor and TV screen in the dining room.
At about 2:08 p.m., approximately six minutes after the SO and WO #1 had arrived, WO #4 and WO #2 arrived on scene. The officers entered the dining room, WO #4 with a less-lethal shotgun, and ordered the Complainant to turn around and raise his hands. The Complainant did so, and was handcuffed without incident by the SO and WO #2.
The Complainant was taken from the scene to hospital. He was treated for wounds to his abdomen and neck.
Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority
(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,
Section 17, Mental Health Act -- Action by police officer
(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,
(d) serious bodily harm to the person;(e) serious bodily harm to another person; or(f) serious physical impairment of the person,
Sections 219 and 221, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing bodily harm
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
Analysis and Director's Decision
The Complainant suffered serious self-inflicted injuries on January 18, 2022. As police officers were present in the vicinity at the time, having been called to deal with the Complainant, the SIU was notified and initiated an investigation. The SO was identified as the 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 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 required or authorized to do by law.
An officer’s foremost duty is the protection and preservation of life. Knowing what they did of the Complainant’s disturbed mindset at the time and self-inflicted knife wound, the SO and WO #1 were duty bound to attend at the scene, assess the situation, and take such reasonable measures as might be necessary to prevent harm coming to the Complainant. Very quickly thereafter, having observed the Complainant’s behaviour for themselves, I am satisfied that the officers were within their rights in seeking to apprehend him under section 17 of the Mental Health Act.
The force used by the SO, namely, the deployment of his pepper spray, constituted justified force. At the time, the officer had reason to be concerned that the Complainant, having earlier stabbed himself and then in a kitchen containing knives, might be in possession of a weapon. In the circumstances, it would appear that a resort to pepper spray, which carried with it the prospect of sufficiently debilitating the Complainant from a distance to allow for his safe apprehension, was a reasonable tactic.
Aside from the question of force, the issue arises whether there was any want of care by the SO in the manner in which he engaged with the Complainant during the brief standoff that contributed to the Complainant’s injuries. The operative offence for consideration along this line of inquiry is criminal negligence causing bodily harm contrary to section 221 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. It is premised, in part, on conduct that constitutes a marked and substantial departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised.
In my view, there is insufficient evidence to reasonably conclude that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. The officer was lawfully placed throughout his engagement with the Complainant. He was not free to leave the area given that an unstable Complainant had access to knives and had just used one to harm himself. Though his tone in speaking with the Complainant may not have been the friendliest, it is apparent that the SO was cognizant of not unduly provoking him. The officer maintained his distance and ultimately decided to wait for additional officers to arrive before physically engaging the Complainant. While more forceful action on the part of the SO might have prevented the Complainant further harming himself as he did, the officer was justifiably concerned about the potential for knives in the Complainant’s possession. On this record, I am unable to fault the SO for waiting for additional officers to arrive before adopting a more proactive posture.
In the result, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO conducted himself unlawfully in his dealings with the Complainant. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.
Date: May 18, 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]
- 2) The video recordings from the residence had a time stamp that was five minutes ahead of the time stamps on the police officers’ body-worn cameras. The times referred to in this summary are the times recorded on the camera system at the residence, unless otherwise noted. [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.