SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-PFP-016
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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 a police firearm discharge at a 51-year-old-man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn January 20, 2022, at 2:44 p.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) contacted the SIU and reported the following.
On January 20, 2022, at approximately 1:02 p.m., a Civilian Witness (CW) called 911 from her home and reported that her husband, the Complainant, had brandished a knife and threatened suicide. OPP officers from the Bancroft Detachment and the Emergency Response Team (ERT) attended and found the Complainant barricaded within a bedroom. There was a verbal interaction with the Complainant and an Anti-riot Weapon ENfield (ARWEN) and Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) were discharged. The Complainant was apprehended under the Mental Health Act (MHA) and transported to Quinte Health Care (QHC) – North Hastings Hospital (Bancroft) for a medical assessment. The Complainant was diagnosed with welts to his abdomen. He was subsequently released with no criminal charges.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 01/20/2022 at 5:14 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 01/21/2022 at 3:00 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):51-year-old male interviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on January 22, 2022.
Civilian WitnessesCW Not interviewed (Wife of the Complainant)
Subject OfficialsSO #1 Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
SO #2 Declined notes and interview, as is the subject official’s legal right
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Not interviewed; notebook entries reviewed
WO #4 Not interviewed; notebook entries reviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed; notebook entries reviewed
WO #1 and WO #2 were interviewed on January 27, 2022.
WO #3, WO #4 and WO #5 remained outside the residence for scene security. They had no interaction with the Complainant, and therefore were not interviewed. Their notebook entries were obtained and reviewed.
The Scene The scene was a bedroom within the main level of a residence located in the area of Sherbourne Street North and Rosedale Valley Road, Bancroft.
Physical Evidence On January 20, 2022, at 8:30 p.m., a SIU forensic investigator attended the residence in Bancroft. Photographs and video recordings were taken of the scene. The SIU forensic investigator examined and collected an ARWEN projectile and casing. Also examined and seized was a discharged CEW, CEW cartridge, wires, probes, and Anti-Felon Identification (AFID) confetti.
Forensic Evidence Information downloaded from the CEW revealed that it was fired on January 20, 2022, at 1:21 p.m., for a duration of six seconds.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence This incident was confined to the interior of a residence and, as such, there was no third-party audio, video, or photographic records of the interaction. The OPP ERT officers were not wearing body-worn cameras.
Computer-assisted Dispatch (CAD) and Communications RecordingsThe OPP provided the SIU with the CAD and 911 communications recordings on January 22, 2022, at 10:26 a.m., for the interaction that occurred on January 20, 2022, in the area of Sherbourne Street North and Rosedale Valley Road, Bancroft. These materials indicated that the CW contacted the OPP via 911 on January 20, 2022, at 1:02 p.m., to report that her husband, the Complainant, was holding a knife to his wrist and threatening to commit suicide.
The CW reported that the Complainant was experiencing a mental health crisis.
Members of the OPP detachment and ERT attended the residence and interacted with the Complainant; an ARWEN and CEW were discharged. Call notes indicated that the Complainant “wanted to die”.
The Complainant was apprehended under the authority of the MHA and taken to the QHC – North Hastings Hospital (Bancroft) at 1:54 p.m.
At 10:37 p.m., the Complainant was discharged with no injury. He was not charged with any criminal offences.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials from the OPP:
- CAD and 911 communications
- General Report;
- MHA Apprehension Report; and
- Notes of WOs.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
- Medical records from the QHC – North Hastings Hospital (Bancroft)
In the afternoon of the day in question, officers were dispatched to a house in Bancroft. They were there following a call to police by the CW reporting that her husband, the Complainant, was in the bedroom with a knife threatening to harm himself.
A team of ERT officers arrived at the residence, including SO #1, to find the Complainant in a bedroom holding a knife. Armed with an ARWEN, SO #1 took up a position by the open doorway of an office that formed part of the larger room containing the bedroom. He was kneeling and in front of WO #1, in a standing position by the doorway. WO #1 had been speaking with the Complainant to de-escalate the situation. The Complainant, standing by a bed, warned the officers that he would either cut himself or charge at the officers with the knife if they entered the bedroom.
WO #1 eventually managed to convince the Complainant to allow him and SO #1 into the office. Shortly after they entered, however, the Complainant became increasingly agitated and lifted the knife towards his chest area. Concerned that he was about to harm himself, SO #1 discharged his ARWEN at the Complainant. At the same time, SO #2, positioned by another doorway into the bedroom, fired his CEW at the Complainant. The weapons’ discharges met their mark and the Complainant fell to the floor.
The officers rushed towards the Complainant, dispossessed him of the knife and handcuffed him.
Paramedics who had been staging in the vicinity transported the Complainant to hospital from the scene.
The Complainant was diagnosed with a welt to the left side of his abdomen. He was released later that day from hospital.
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,
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.
SO #1, SO #2 and the rest of the officers who responded to the Complainant’s address were lawfully placed throughout the incident. Called to the house by the Complainant’s wife reporting that the Complainant was holding a knife and intending to harm himself, the officers were duty bound to attend at the residence to do what they reasonably could to prevent harm from materializing.
I am further satisfied that the officers were proceeding lawfully to apprehend the Complainant at the time they discharged their weapons. Given what they had been told, and what they gathered for themselves at the scene vis-à-vis the Complainant’s mental health and behaviour, the officers were within their rights in seeking to arrest the Complainant under section 17 of the Mental Health Act.
The force used by officers in aid of their lawful objectives was legally justified. Attempts to resolve the situation via dialogue had proven unsuccessful and the Complainant appeared on the precipice of self-harming – he had lifted the knife to his chest and began to breathe heavily – when SO #1 and SO #2 fired their weapons. In the circumstances, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the officers acted unreasonably when they attempted to prevent grievous bodily harm or death coming to the Complainant by incapacitating him with a CEW and ARWEN – the weapons held the prospect of immediately immobilizing the Complainant to allow the officers to safely approach and take him into custody. And that is precisely what occurred, with the Complainant having only suffered a welt by the ARWEN round impact.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either subject official comported himself unlawfully in their dealings with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: May 19, 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.