SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-OCI-054


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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 February 20, 2022, at 4:45 a.m., the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) notified the SIU of a fractured elbow suffered by the Complainant during his arrest at 2:35 a.m. that morning.

According to the NRPS, NRPS officers responded to a residence in St. Catharines in relation to a domestic disturbance. The Complainant had reportedly barricaded himself and his girlfriend inside the residence.

NRPS officers eventually forced open a residence door and were reportedly attacked by the Complainant’s dog. Following a struggle and the deployment of a conducted energy weapon (CEW), the Complainant was arrested.

The Complainant was handcuffed and placed in the rear of a police cruiser. While inside the vehicle, the Complainant was able to maneuver his handcuffed hands to the front of his body.

The Complainant was eventually transported to the St. Catharines hospital for treatment of cuts to his feet. While at the hospital he was diagnosed with a dislocated elbow and an avulsion fracture of the same elbow.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 02/20/2022 at 5:30 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 02/20/2022 at 7:31 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1

On February 20, 2022, SIU investigators attended the scene of the incident. The scene was examined by a SIU forensic investigator, and photographs of the scene were taken.

On February 24, 2022, SIU investigators canvassed the residences close to the scene to identify witnesses and any cameras that might have recorded portions of the incident.

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

29-year-old male; not interviewed; medical records received and reviewed

The Complainant was spoken to while in custody on February 20, 2022. He denied to SIU investigators that he had any recall of his interaction with the police. He could not state the mechanism of his injury.

Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed

The civilian witnesses were interviewed between February 20, 2022, and February 24, 2022.

Subject Officials

SO #1 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
SO #2 Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right; notes received and reviewed

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed between February 25, 2022, and April 13, 2022.


The Scene

The residence was in the area of Dunlop Drive and Geneva Street, St. Catharines.
A family member of the Complainant resided on the main floor of the residence. The Complainant had been allowed to temporarily reside in the basement apartment. There was a doorway on the main floor by which the basement could be accessed, but that door had been barricaded.

At the rear of the building, a set of concrete stairs led down to the basement apartment. At the bottom of the stairs there was an outer door, beyond which there was a mudroom, and then an interior door into the basement apartment.

The outer rear door leading to the basement mudroom had been removed from its hinges. At the interior door to the basement apartment CEW wires were found. Inside the inner door, blood staining was obvious. On the floor there were CEW components, including cartridge blast doors, wiring, and Anti-felon Identification tags. Lodged low in the wall opposite the door were two CEW probes.

The basement apartment was extremely disrupted. Belongings were scattered throughout the apartment. Blood deposits were observed throughout the apartment. There was also broken glass on the floor. In a bedroom there was a large deposit of blood on the floor, and CEW components were found inside that bedroom.

It had snowed in St. Catharines on February 19, 2022, and there was snow on the ground. In the snow outside the residence, there was a path of small deposits of blood from the rear staircase to the street. The blood deposits were consistent with someone walking with bare feet that had been cut.

A SIU forensic investigator also attended the St. Catharines NRPS headquarters to download deployment data from the CEWs carried by WO #1 and SO #2. The CEW data confirmed both SO #2 and WO #1 had deployed their CEWs during the incident.

Forensic Evidence

CEW Data

The CEW deployment data indicated SO #2’s CEW was deployed at 12:49:55 a.m., [1] for one second. It was deployed again at 12:49:58 a.m., for four seconds.

WO #1 deployed his CEW at 12:55:01 a.m., for nine seconds. At 12:55:17 a.m., he deployed his CEW for another five seconds.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence

Communications and Computer-aided Dispatch (CAD) records

On February 20, 2022, at 12:23 a.m., CW #3 called the NRPS to report a domestic disturbance at the involved residence. CW #4 also called the police and reported there was screaming from a female residing in the basement at the residence. At 12:30 a.m., a third caller called the NRPS and reported her parents were fighting and she needed an ambulance. She reported her mother was bleeding from her eye.

At 12:33 a.m., WO #3 reported one of the basement windows was open and she could hear a female screaming, “Don’t touch me!” WO #3 then reported CW #1 had a lot of blood coming from her eye.

At 12:55 a.m., it was reported a CEW was deployed. At 12:56 a.m., it was reported a person had been arrested.
At 1:09 a.m., SO #2 reported the arrested party (the Complainant) had cuts to his feet from glass. At 1:12 a.m., it was reported the Complainant was banging his head on the window bars inside a police vehicle.

At 1:50 a.m., WO #3 confirmed the Complainant was on release conditions prohibiting him from being at the residence, according to the Canadian Police Information Centre system.

Video Evidence

The SIU searched for video cameras at the residences in the vicinity of the incident.

CW #5 used her cellular telephone to record some of the events. Her recording documented WO #3 standing at the top of the stairs at the rear of the house. CW #5 commented, “They were yelling hands up.” There were then impact sounds, consistent with a ram being applied to a door.

A C8 rifle was passed up to WO #3, who then handed the rifle to a nearby police officer. CW #5 commented that the police had removed a rifle from the occupant of the residence.

A dog then ran from the apartment.

CW #4 also recorded video footage and photographs during the incident. CW #4 recorded sounds of an altercation that could be heard through the walls of her apartment. A man, identified by CW #4 to be the Complainant, could be heard screaming for someone to open a door. Someone else then screamed “paedophile” and screamed out in pain. There were banging sounds and more comments about “paedophile”.

The Complainant could be heard arguing with CW #1, and he repeatedly yelled out, “Woo woo,” similar to a train whistle. He was laughing hysterically and there were numerous sounds of banging.

CW #4 recorded photographs of police vehicles on the street. She also recorded a photograph of CW #1 standing on the street with two police officers at her side. CW #1 was holding onto her face. A younger woman stood with her.

CW #4 later video-recorded police officers outside telling the Complainant to stand up. There was discussion between the police officers regarding the need to search the Complainant prior to loading him into the vehicle. A window awning blocked the camera’s view of the Complainant.

None of CW #4’s recordings contained video images of the physical interaction between the police and the Complainant.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the NRPS:
  • Communications recordings;
  • CAD Report;
  • General Occurrence Report;
  • Cell Booking Report;
  • Mugshot of the Complainant;
  • Scene photographs;
  • Notes of designated witness officials;
  • Notes of SO #2;
  • CEW sign-out log for February 19, 2022;
  • CEW data; and
  • Witness List.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
  • Video recordings from civilian witness CW #5;
  • Video recordings from civilian witness CW #4; and
  • Medical records from the Niagara Health System.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with police witnesses to the events in question. The Complainant was approached for an interview, but indicated he had no recall of the incident. As was their legal right, SO #1 and SO #2 chose not to be interviewed by the SIU. SO #2 did authorize the release of his notes.

In the early morning hours of February 20, 2022, NRPS officers were dispatched to a residence in the area of Dunlop Drive and Geneva Street, St. Catharines. Multiple 911 calls had been received regarding an ongoing domestic dispute in the basement apartment of the address. An intoxicated Complainant had been violently quarreling with his wife and daughter, causing injury to the former. The daughter was one of the 911 callers.

SO #1 and SO #2 were among the officers at the scene. In the company of WO #1, the officers positioned themselves at the bottom of a set of stairs leading to the rear door of the basement apartment. They tried to speak with the Complainant through the door but were met with threats and profanity.

The officers tried to force open the door but found it difficult to do so – something or someone was apparently preventing the door from opening fully. At one point, having managed to partially open the door, SO #2 discharged his CEW into the apartment. The probes that had been deployed were subsequently found lodged in the wall opposite the door – they had missed their mark. The time was about 1:00 a.m.

There was another entry into the basement apartment from the interior of the main floor. Though barricaded, officers were able to gain entry onto the staircase leading down to the basement from that door. This caught the attention of the Complainant, who vacated his position by the rear exterior door.
Now able to open the rear exterior door, SO #2, and WO #1 and SO #1, entered the apartment. The Complainant was ordered to get to the floor, and he did so. Within seconds, however, he attempted to rise and was met with a CEW discharge by WO #1. WO #1 discharged his CEW a second time, after which SO #2 and SO #1 moved in, placed the Complainant in a prone position, and handcuffed him behind his back.

The Complainant was escorted by SO #2 out of the apartment, up the exterior rear stairs and around the east side of the house towards the street. En route, the pair slipped and fell on the snow-covered driveway. SO #1 assisted both the Complainant and SO #2 to their feet.

Paramedics took the Complainant to hospital. He was diagnosed with a dislocated left elbow and a fracture of the same elbow.

Relevant Legislation

Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority

25 (1) Every one who is required or authorized by law to do anything in the administration or enforcement of the law
(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,
is, if he acts on reasonable grounds, justified in doing what he is required or authorized to do and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose.

Analysis and Director's Decision

The Complainant was seriously injured in and around the time of his arrest by NRPS officers on February 20, 2022. Two of the arresting officers – SO #1 and SO #2 – were identified as subject officials in the ensuing SIU investigation. The investigation is now concluded. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either subject official committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s arrest and 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.

I accept that SO #2 and SO #1 were within their rights in seeking to take the Complainant into custody. The police had been called to the apartment by the Complainant’s daughter reporting an assault in progress in which the Complainant was the aggressor. By the time the officers entered the home, they also had reasonable grounds to believe that the Complainant had committed an assault on his wife. She had exited the apartment in their presence with facial injuries and blood on her face. Lastly, the police arguably had exigent circumstances to enter the home based on legitimate concerns for the Complainant’s health and well-being – one of their ranks had observed blood through a window and they could not be sure it was not the Complainant’s.

I am also satisfied that the force used by the officers in arresting the Complainant was legally justified. In light of the Complainant’s disposition for violence at the time, it would appear that SO #2’s resort to his CEW was reasonable. The door was partially ajar at the time, and the officer could see the Complainant approaching it and the officers’ position with purpose. Had the weapon connected with the Complainant, it would presumably have stopped his advance and given the officers opportunity to fully open the door and safely enter without the infliction of serious injury. For similar reasons, I am unable to reasonably conclude that WO #1’s CEW discharges were excessive. The Complainant had given the officers every reason to expect that a physical engagement would be met with strenuous resistance. A successful CEW deployment would allow the officers to take the Complainant into custody without need for physical strikes while he was temporarily incapacitated. Deployed on each occasion as the Complainant was attempting to lift himself off the floor, that is precisely what occurred. Aside from assisting SO #2 in taking control of the Complainant’s arms and placing them in handcuffs, there is no indication of force having been brought to bear by SO #1, much less unlawful force.

In the final analysis, it remains unclear when the Complainant’s elbow injuries were incurred. They might well have been caused in the events that preceded the officers’ arrival at the scene, the accidental fall with SO #2 following the arrest, or at some point in between. Be that as it may, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that SO #2 or SO #1 comported themselves other than lawfully throughout their engagement with the Complainant. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: June 20, 2022

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) The times are derived from the internal clocks of the weapons, which are not necessarily synchronous with actual time or between weapons. [Back to text]
  • 2) 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.