SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-OCI-029
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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 the serious injury a 26-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn January 31, 2022, at 1:35 p.m., the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.
On January 31, 2022, at approximately 2:10 a.m., OPS officers conducted a traffic stop in the parking lot of 1239 Donald Street. The driver of the vehicle provided verbal identification, which the police officers did not believe. Further investigation revealed the actual identity of the driver to be the Complainant, and he was found to be breaching release conditions. The Complainant was placed under arrest. The Complainant resisted and was grounded. He was transported to lock up at 474 Elgin Street.
While in the booking area, the Complainant was placed into a phone room to speak with counsel. He was found unresponsive on the floor of the room. Custody staff administered Narcan and called Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
The Complainant was transported to the Ottawa Civic Hospital (OCH). He became responsive at the hospital and complained of a sore hand; X-rays determined there was a small fracture. The Complainant was released back to the custody of OPS and returned to lock-up.
At approximately 6:18 a.m., the Complainant was found unresponsive in his cell. Members of OPS administered Narcan, and the Complainant was taken back to the OCH. It was believed that the Complainant was reacting to a drug overdose.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 01/31/2022 at 4:01 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 01/31/2022 at 4:08 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):26-year-old male; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on February 1, 2022.
Civilian Witness (CW)CW Interviewed
The civilian witness was interviewed on February 4, 2022.
Subject Officials (SO)SO #1 Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right; notes received and reviewed
SO #2 Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right; notes received and reviewed
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between February 4 and 11, 2022.
The Scene It is believed that the Complainant sustained his injury during his interaction with OPS in the corner of a plaza parking lot located at 1239 Donald Street. The Complainant was seated in the front passenger seat of a black Range Rover when initially approached by members of OPS and was subsequently grounded onto asphalt.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
OPS Radio CommunicationsSO #1 and SO #2 were heard to request a check on an Ontario licence plate in relation to a suspicious vehicle in the Tim Hortons parking lot. Dispatch provided a response minutes later, indicating that the registered owner of a black Range Rover was “negative” on file.
OPS Cell Block Video FootageA series of videos were provided by OPS depicting the sally port, booking hall, search area, property search area, identification processing area, and the cell corridors. The main area of interest was the booking hall.
The Complainant was paraded before the booking sergeant by the arresting officer at 3:05 a.m. The Complainant had his hands handcuffed behind his back and appeared compliant throughout the booking process. The Complainant was asked whether he had any injuries, to which he said, “No.” When asked about medication, the Complainant replied that he took medication to keep him calm, and that his medication was at home.
The Complainant was searched, and he subsequently made a phone call to his counsel. While in a private room, the Complainant collapsed.
EMS were called and the Complainant was transported to the OCH at 3:43 a.m.
The Complainant returned from the OCH at 8:59 a.m. having been treated for being unresponsive at the station. He was also diagnosed with a fracture and provided with a cast on his right hand.
While in the identification office, the Complainant became lightheaded. He was escorted to his cell and collapsed in the cell corridor at 9:54 a.m.
EMS were called and the Complainant was again transported to OCH at 10:25 a.m.
Materials Obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials from the OPS between January 31, 2022, and April 28, 2022:
- Arrest Detail;
- Computer-assisted Dispatch Report;
- List of Involved Officers;
- Notes – SO #1;
- Report – SO #1;
- Breach Document;
- Communications recordings;
- Custody video;
- Narrative Hardcopy;
- Narrative-WO #3 Investigative Action;
- Narrative-WO #2 Investigative Action;
- Narrative-WO #1 Investigative Action;
- Narrative-WO #4 Investigative Action;
- Notes-WO #3;
- Notes-WO #2;
- Notes-WO #1;
- Notes-WO #4;
- Notes-Officer #1;
- Notes – SO #2;
- Report – SO #2; and
- Witness list.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
- Cell phone video from the Complainant;
- Cell phone video from the CW; and
- The Complainant’s medical records from OCH.
In the early morning hours January 31, 2022, the Complainant was seated in the front passenger seat of an SUV parked in a plaza parking lot at the northeast corner of Donald Street and St. Laurent Boulevard. In the driver’s seat with him was an acquaintance – the CW. The Complainant and the CW had just been to the nearby Tim Hortons and were parked enjoying their purchases when they were approached by police officers.
The first officers at the plaza parking lot were SO #1 and SO #2. They were on patrol in the area when the SUV drew their attention. A check of the licence plate against police records revealed that the vehicle had been involved in an accident on January 11, 2022, with the Complainant as its driver. The check further revealed that the Complainant was serving a conditional sentence and was bound by a curfew. The officers decided to investigate the vehicle’s occupants.
After some back and forth conversation with the Complainant, in which he denied his identity, the officers decided to place him under arrest for having breached his curfew. They had viewed a mugshot of the Complainant, and learned of a distinguishing tattoo on his arm, and were satisfied that the Complainant was, in fact, the Complainant. When the Complainant repeatedly refused to exit the vehicle as directed, the officers took hold of him through the open passenger door and attempted to forcibly remove him. By this time, WO #4 was on scene in the company of his partner, WO #1. He too assisted in physically removing the Complainant from the SUV.
The Complainant was taken to the ground outside the front passenger door of the SUV. Following a brief struggle, the officers – which now included WO #1 and WO #2, the latter having arrived with WO #3 - were able to wrestle control of the Complainant’s arms, bring them around his back, and handcuff them.
While at the station following his arrest, the Complainant fainted on two occasions and was sent to hospital each time. On his first visit, he was diagnosed with a fracture of the right hand.
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.
The Complainant was in breach of his curfew – a term of his conditional sentence – and clearly subject to arrest.
The Complainant refused to submit peacefully to his arrest and the officers used what, in my view, was legally justified force in taking him into custody. He had left the officers little choice but to physically force him from the SUV when he refused to exit voluntarily. The extrication would not appear to have been executed with undue force, as depicted in the video footage, given the Complainant’s concerted efforts to remain in the vehicle. Thereafter, aside from exerting their superior numbers to wrestle control of the Complainant’s arms behind his back, there is little if any evidence of unnecessary force having been brought to bear by the officers. While one of the officers appears in the video to extend his arm in the Complainant’s direction on one or two occasions, I am not convinced the motion was a punch. Indeed, none of the witnesses interviewed by the SIU make mention of the Complainant having been punched.
In the result, while I accept that the Complainant’s hand was broken in the takedown from the SUV or the brief struggle on the ground, I am not satisfied that his injury is attributable to any unlawful conduct on the part of the officers. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.
Date: May 31, 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.