SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-OCI-014
This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.
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 serious injuries sustained by a 25-year-old woman (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn January 18, 2022, at 9:12 p.m., the Peterborough Police Service (PPS) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s injury.
According to the PPS, on January 18, 2022, at approximately 1:41 p.m., a female, now identified as the Complainant, was arrested outside a business on Charlotte Street in Peterborough by an off-duty police officer for the offence of theft. The officer, Witness Official (WO) #1, identified himself and contacted the PPS to request the attendance of uniform personnel. The SO responded and the Complainant was arrested and transported to the PPS Headquarters located at 500 Water Street, Peterborough.
While being booked by WO #3, the Complainant indicated she had a broken arm from the day prior and had attended hospital but had since removed the cast. During her period in custody, the Complainant continued to complain of a sore arm to the new Officer in Charge, WO #4. Emergency Medical Services were ultimately requested to attend. At that time, the Complainant indicated that the arresting officer had stood on her back and she was now suffering back pain.
The Complainant was transported to the Peterborough Regional Health Centre located at 1 Hospital Drive, Peterborough, where she was seen by an emergency room physician. The physician revealed the Complainant had a new radial head fracture to the left arm that had not been treated the day prior (no record at hospital) as was first indicated. She was also diagnosed with a compressed vertebra in her back, which was deemed to be a fracture.
The Complainant had since been released from hospital and returned to the police division where she would be awaiting a bail hearing on the January 19, 2022.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 01/19/2022 at 7:52 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 02/08/2022 at 1:00 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):25-year-old female interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on February 2, 2022.
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between January 19, 2022, and February 8, 2022.
Subject OfficialsSO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
The subject official was interviewed on March 21, 2022.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #6 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between January 31, 2022, and March 1, 2022.
Service Employee WitnessesSEW #1 Interviewed
SEW #2 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
SEW #3 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
SEW #1 was interviewed on February 2, 2022.
The Scene The scene was a store on Charlotte Street in Peterborough.
Physical Evidence On February 16, 2022, a SIU investigator attended at the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) [also known as Lindsay Jail], located at 541 Kawartha Lakes County Road 36, Lindsay. At 1:30 p.m., he met the Complainant in a holding room in the admission area. He took photos of the Complainant, including her stated injury to her teeth. The injury was to her right upper incisor (1-1) and to the mesial side where a portion of the tooth was missing. She indicated that was the only tooth injured.
The Complainant indicated she had also injured her left lower arm and the middle of her back along the spine. Upon close inspection, there were no visible marks in either area.
No photographs were taken of those areas as there was nothing to record.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU obtained video surveillance footage for January 18, 2022, from the store located on Charlotte Street, Peterborough, with the assistance of the PPS. A digital copy of the footage containing four camera positions was received.
Video #1 – 1:30:06 p.m. to 1:57:05 p.m.The overall view of the camera captured the main entrance to the store with a single exit door towards the parking side of the store, and entrance/exit doors on the Charlotte Street side. Visible was the clear sidewalk on the north side of Charlotte Street and then a snowbank.
At 05:35 minutes into the video, off-duty WO #1 was depicted running after the Complainant into the foyer area of the store and out through the exit onto the Charlotte Street side of the store. WO #1 and the Complainant were observed running south over a snowbank and across Charlotte Street.
At 06:37 minutes into the video, WO #1 returned to the entrance foyer with the Complainant in custody.
At 21:47 minutes into the video, the SO was seen exiting the entrance door near the counter after the Complainant. He grabbed the Complainant with both hands on her shoulder area and grounded her. The SO handcuffed the Complainant with his right knee on her back.
At 22:14 minutes into the video, the Complainant was picked up while handcuffed by the SO. The SO’s left arm was under her right arm and his left hand held her upper jacket. The Complainant was removed from the foyer to Charlotte Street by the SO, and walked over a snowbank to the south side of Charlotte Street to a waiting police vehicle.
Video #2 – 1:30:06 p.m. to 1:57:05 p.m. At 06:54 minutes into the video, WO #1 entered via the entry door near the counter with the Complainant under arrest. WO #1 and the Complainant stood in front of the counter.
At 20:43 minutes into the video, the SO arrived at the location and spoke to WO #1, passing the Complainant as he entered. The SO did not take physical control of the Complainant.
At 21:14 minutes into the video, with the SO’s back to her as the officer spoke to WO #1, the Complainant began to make her way out the entrance door near the counter.
At 21:15 minutes into the video, the SO pursued the Complainant while WO #1 remained at the counter.
Video #3 - 1:30:06 p.m. to 1:57:05 p.m.At 04:10 minutes into the video, WO #1 arrived at the cash register area and paid for his personal items.
At 05:45 minutes into the video, WO #1’s attention was drawn to the left and the Complainant was seen exiting the store. The Complainant wore a three-quarter length grey parka with hood, grey track pants with black stripe and black mask. Her left hand was in a coat pocket, and her right hand was out.
At 05:48 minutes into the video, WO #1 could be seen looking inward to the store and then pursuing the Complainant on foot. WO #1 wore a black zip-up jacket, blue jeans and lime green T-shirt. An unknown store employee went to the window to observe what was occurring outside of the store.
Video #4- 1:30:06 p.m. to 1:57:05 p.m.At 06:36 minutes into the video, WO #1 entered the camera field holding the Complainant with his right hand at the centre of her jacket at rear. The Complainant walked to the area of the counter and stood there.
At 06:51 minutes into the video, the Complainant handed leopard pattern items to a store employee.
At 06:54 minutes into the video, store owner, CW #2, approached and spoke to the Complainant and then walked away.
At 07:24 minutes into the video, WO #1 let go of the Complainant’s jacket and allowed her to stand on her own in the area beside him.
At 20:57 minutes into the video, a uniformed officer, the SO, arrived in the store and approached the Complainant.
At 21:34 minutes into the video, the Complainant observed the SO turn his back on her while speaking to WO #1, and she quickly walked towards the entrance door to leave the store. The SO gave chase, also exiting through the entrance.
At 22:28 minutes into the video, WO #1 exited the store into the foyer area.
At 23:16 minutes into the video, WO #1 re-entered store.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the PPS:
- Arrest Report;
- Communications recordings;
- Custody video;
- Event Chronology;
- Email from PPS regarding case information;
- Email from PPS regarding Involved Officers List;
- Niche Records Management System Report;
- Notes of WOs, SEWs and an undesignated police officer;
- Officer Report with Call-sign;
- PPS Medical Release form;
- PPS Policy - Use Of Force;
- Prisoner Record of Detention;
- Supplementary report (x2); and
- Witness statement of WO #1.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
- Surveillance security footage from business on Charlotte Street, Peterborough.
In the early afternoon of January 18, 2022, the Complainant was arrested by an off-duty PPS officer for theft at a store located on Charlotte Street, Peterborough. The officer – WO #1 – chased after the Complainant as she exited the store, took her into custody, and returned her to the business. The stolen items were retrieved from the Complainant and she was made to wait with the officer for the arrival of an on-duty officer.
The SO arrived at the store within minutes. As he spoke with WO #1 about the details of the incident, he observed the Complainant attempting to leave the store through the front entrance. The officer chased the Complainant, caught up with her in the store vestibule, and took her to the ground. The Complainant was handcuffed with her hands behind her back, pulled to her feet, and escorted to a waiting cruiser.
The Complainant was taken to the police station following her arrest, booked, and lodged in a cell. Asked whether she wanted medical attention, the Complainant initially declined. Several hours later, at her request, paramedics attended the station and transported the Complainant to the hospital.
The Complainant was diagnosed with a chronic fracture of the left arm, two acute or subacute compression fractures of the spine and a possible age-indeterminate neck fracture.
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,
Analysis and Director's Decision
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.
There is no evidence of any untoward conduct on the part of WO #1 with respect to his arrest of the Complainant. By all accounts, the Complainant had stolen items from the store, and she was taken into custody without incident.
Nor was there anything amiss with the SO’s decision to apprehend the Complainant after she tried to escape from police custody. By that time, the officer had spoken to WO #1 and had himself reasonable grounds to believe that the Complainant had committed a theft from the store.
Lastly, I am unable to reasonably conclude on the evidence that the force used by the SO in aid of the Complainant’s arrest was excessive. The Complainant had fled from the store once when initially challenged about her thefts by the store owner, only to be chased down by WO #1. She fled for a second time as the SO and WO #1 were discussing the situation. In the circumstances, it would appear that the SO could reasonably anticipate that the Complainant would resist her arrest, and that he was therefore reasonably entitled to bring her to the floor in order to better manage any such risk. The takedown itself would not appear to have been executed in an overly aggressive manner. Indeed, that was the impression of a civilian witness present in the vestibule at the time. Thereafter, with the Complainant in a prone position, I am satisfied that the SO placed a knee on her lower back with some pressure as he took control of her arms and handcuffed them behind her back. That action, a natural extension of the takedown maneuver if the intention was to keep one pinned to the ground while effecting their arrest, would also not appear to have been executed with undue force.
In the result, while I accept that the Complainant likely suffered fractures of the spine and, potentially, neck  in the course of the takedown that marked her arrest by the SO, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer comported himself unlawfully in their engagement. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges on this case, and the file is closed.
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 evidence indicates that the Complainant’s left elbow fracture occurred prior to the incident with the police. [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.