SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-PCI-061


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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 the serious injury a 32-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On March 2, 2022, at 12:51 a.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) notified the SIU of an injury. The OPP reported that on March 1, 2022, at approximately 8:30 a.m., OPP police officers executed a warrant for breach of probation on a man in St. Clair Township. At the time of execution, the subject of the warrant, the Complainant, was in possession of a stolen vehicle. When police attempted to effect the arrest, the Complainant resisted while approaching the stolen vehicle. He was arrested and transported to the Petrolia Detachment where, at 9:16 a.m., emergency medical services were requested to attend to assess a potential facial injury. The Complainant declined medical attention at that time.

At about 5:30 p.m., the Complainant requested to attend hospital for treatment of the facial injury. He was taken to Petrolia Hospital, then transferred to a hospital in Sarnia. At 11:59 p.m., he was diagnosed with a fractured nose and possible fractured orbital bone with additional suspected injuries to be assessed later in the week.

The OPP further advised the Complainant had been released from hospital, remanded, and transferred to the Sarnia Jail.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 03/02/2022 at 7:12 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 03/02/2022 at 8:23 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

32-year-old male; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on March 2, 2022.

Subject Officials (SO)

SO #1 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
SO #2 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
SO #3 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
SO #4 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed

The subject officials were interviewed on May 11, 2022.

Witness Officials (WO)

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

The witness officials were interviewed between March 10 and 21, 2022.


The Scene

This incident occurred at a property in a rural area of St. Clair Township.

The scene was not secured, and the SIU did not dispatch investigators or forensic investigators to examine the scene.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

OPP Telephone and Communications Recordings

At 8:09:56 a.m., a Street Crime Unit police officer called the communications centre advising that SO #2 had reported what he believed to be a stolen truck and trailer. He believed the suspect - “probably [the Complainant]” - was with the property. He asked for uniformed police officers to attend the area to assist.

Communications recordings commencing at 8:12:26 a.m. involved arrangements made for uniformed police officers to attend the scene as it was believed the suspect was not aware of SO #2’s presence.

OPP Video Recordings

The OPP detachment video recordings captured the Complainant during his detention. The video recordings did not contain an audio component.

The sally port, booking room, cell monitoring, and fingerprinting room cameras captured views of the Complainant, who was seen with blood around his nose, scrapes to the right side of his forehead and swelling around his right eye.

After paramedics arrived, the Complainant was brought to the booking room where he was examined and then returned to the cell.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the OPP between March 3, 2022, and May 11, 2022:
  • Computer-assisted Dispatch Report;
  • Notes-SO #4;
  • Notes-SO #2;
  • Notes-WO #3;
  • Notes-WO #4;
  • Notes-SO #1;
  • Arrest Report;
  • Prisoner Log;
  • Notes-WO #1;
  • Notes-WO #2;
  • Scene photographs;
  • Telephone and communications recordings; and
  • OPP Petrolia Detachment video recordings.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU received the following records from other sources:
  • The Complainant’s medical record from Bluewater Health.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with the Complainant and three of the four subject officials – SO #2, and SO #1 and SO #4. As was his legal right, SO #3 chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

In the morning of March 1, 2022, the Complainant took possession of a stolen pick-up truck that had been delivered to him in an area north of a property in St. Clair Township. He was confronted by OPP officers and ran towards the truck, entering through the open rear passenger side door.

SO #2, knowing the area to be one where stolen property was deposited and stored, had stopped to check it on his way to work. Discovering the pick-up truck, and suspecting it to be stolen, SO #2 asked for the assistance of additional officers at the scene. In short order, he was joined by SO #1 and SO #4, as well as a police dog handler – SO #3 – and his dog. It was SO #3 and his dog who first came upon the Complainant and ordered him to stop.

The officers chased the Complainant to the pick-up truck just as he reached into the driver’s seat area and started the ignition. SO #1 and SO #4 attempted to extricate him through the open driver’s door. The Complainant would not release his grip of the steering wheel despite being punched multiple times by SO #1. SO #2 quickly joined the officers by the driver’s door and assisted in wrestling the Complainant out of the vehicle.
The Complainant was punched multiple times on the ground as he struggled against the officers’ efforts to secure him in handcuffs. Once handcuffed, the Complainant was lifted to his feet and escorted to SO #1’s cruiser for transportation back to the detachment.

Later that day, while still in police custody, the Complainant complained of facial pain and was taken to hospital. He was subsequently diagnosed with a broken nose and a possibly broken orbital bone.

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 the course of his arrest by OPP officers on March 1, 2022. The arresting officers – SO #2, SO #1, SO #3 and SO #4 – were identified as the 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 the subject officials committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s arrest and injury.

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 am satisfied that the Complainant was subject to lawful arrest at the time of his injury. Given what the officers knew of the area – that it was known to house stolen items, the Complainant’s presence in the area, and the Complainant’s flight into the stolen vehicle at the sight of police, it appears the officers had grounds giving rise to a reasonable belief that the Complainant was implicated in a theft-related offence.

I am also satisfied that the evidence falls short of reasonably establishing excessive force on the part of the officers as they took the Complainant into custody. On the evidence of the officers, the Complainant was punched two to three times by SO #1 as they attempted to extricate him from the pick-up truck. In light of the evidence indicating the Complainant was physically resisting the officers’ efforts to remove him from the vehicle, and the officers’ reasonably apprehended concern of the pick-up truck being placed in motion, it would appear this force was commensurate with the task at hand. Once on the ground, the officers reported multiple strikes delivered to the Complainant’s face, neck and legs, all in an effort to overcome the Complainant’s continued resistance and wrestle control of his arms so they could be handcuffed. This too would appear to fall within the range of what was reasonably necessary in the circumstances given the nature and extent of the Complainant’s physical struggle. In arriving at this conclusion, I am mindful of the common law principle that a police officer engaged in hostilities is not expected to measure their responsive force with precision; what is required is a reasonable response, not an exacting one: R. v. Baxter (1975), 27 CCC (2d) 96 (Ont. CA); R. v. Nasogaluak, [2010] 1 SCR 206.

In the result, while I accept that the force used by one or more of the subject officials resulted in the Complainant’s facial fracture or fractures, I am unable to reasonably conclude that any of the subject officials comported themselves unlawfully in their engagement with the Complainant. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: June 28, 2022

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
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.