SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-OFP-065


This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.

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 discharge of a firearm by the police at a 53-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On March 4, 2022, at 5:54 p.m., the Brantford Police Service (BPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.

At approximately 4:44 p.m., Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were requested at a residence on Victoria Street to assist the Complainant, who was in crisis. The Complainant had a knife and indicated his wished to self-harm as he held the knife to his neck. Attempts to de-escalate the situation were unsuccessful and a police officer deployed an ARWEN (Anti-riot Weapon ENfield), which also proved to be ineffective. Negotiations continued with the Complainant, eventually resulting in his voluntary surrender. At 5:13 p.m., the Complainant was apprehended under the Mental Health Act (MHA) and taken to the Brantford General Hospital (BGH). It was believed that the Complainant had not received a serious injury in his interaction with the police.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 03/04/2022 at 6:53 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 03/04/2022 at 6:30 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

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

The Complainant was interviewed on March 5, 2022.

Civilian Witness (CW)

CW Interviewed

The civilian witness was interviewed on March 5, 2022.

Subject Official (SO)

SO 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 Not interviewed, but statement and notes received and reviewed [1]
WO #4 Not interviewed, but statement and notes received and reviewed [2]
WO #5 Not interviewed, but statement and notes received and reviewed [3]
WO #6 Not interviewed, but statement and notes received and reviewed [4]
WO #7 Interviewed
WO #8 Not interviewed, but statement and notes received and reviewed [5]

The witness officials were interviewed on March 22, 2022.


The Scene

The scene was a residence located on Victoria Street in Brantford.

Physical Evidence

The SIU took possession of the Complainant’s knife.

An ARWEN cartridge was retrieved beside the police vehicle, as well as two pieces of paracord.

A swab of blood was taken from a door handle.

Figure 1 – The Complainant’s knife

Figure 2 – ARWEN projectile

Figure 3 – ARWEN cartridge case at the scene

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [6]

SIU Photographs

The SIU forensic investigator photographed and videotaped the scene.

Photographs of the ARWEN were taken and the ARWEN was returned to the BPS.

Figure 4 – The SO’s ARWEN

BPS Computer-aided Dispatch (CAD) Report and Communications Recordings

The BPS CAD Report and communications recordings were received on March 5, 2022, and reaffirmed the information supplied by the subject and witness officers.

The police service was first contacted about the incident at 4:44 p.m. At 5:00 p.m., the ARWEN discharge by the SO was noted.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from BPS between March 9, 2022, and April 12, 2022:
  • Notes-the SO;
  • Procedure-Use of Force;
  • A slide presentation on the 2021 ARWEN;
  • Communications recordings;
  • CAD Report;
  • General Report-WO #1;
  • Notes-WO #4;
  • Notes-WO #1;
  • Notes-WO #7;
  • Notes-WO #3;
  • Notes-WO #8;
  • Notes-WO #2;
  • Notes-WO #6;
  • Notes-WO #5;
  • Training Log - Emergency Response Team (ERT);
  • Supplementary Report-WO #4;
  • Supplementary Report-WO #2; and
  • Supplementary Report-WO #6.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
  • BGH Medical Records for the Complainant.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the weight of the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with the Complainant, a civilian eyewitness, and several police officers in the vicinity of the ARWEN when it was fired. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU. He did authorize the release of his notes.

In the afternoon of March 4, 2022, the Complainant was in mental distress. His behaviour was erratic and highly agitated. Concerned with his father’s behaviour and well-being, the CW indicated he would call an ambulance. The Complainant took possession of a knife, hinted at suicide and entered a second-floor bathroom.

The CW called 911 at about 4:45 p.m.

Officers with the BPS ERT, including the SO, began arriving at the scene – a home on Victoria Street – shortly after the 911 call. With the CW outside the residence, the officers positioned a police vehicle across the front porch of the house. The front door, which opened inward, was ‘roped’ shut – that is, a rope tied around the door handle at one end, and the push bar of the cruiser at the other, kept it from opening freely. The intention was to prevent the Complainant from suddenly exiting the home in possession of a knife. Armed with an ARWEN, the SO took up a position by the police vehicle.

Led by WO #1 of the ERT, attempts were made to have the Complainant surrender himself peacefully. From a front second-floor window, the Complainant threatened to cut himself and stab the officers. The Complainant remained highly agitated throughout and refused to do as he was directed.

At about 5:00 p.m., the Complainant managed to open the front door enough that he was able to cut through the attached rope with his knife. The door swung open and he emerged onto the front porch with the knife in hand. Taking aim at the pelvis area, the SO fired his ARWEN. The round struck the Complainant in the abdomen. The Complainant retreated into the home and closed the door behind him.

Within about ten minutes of being struck, the Complainant was persuaded to surrender. He tossed the knife onto the porch, which was retrieved and removed by the officers, and entered onto the porch dropping to his knees. A number of officers, including the SO, physically engaged the Complainant at this time, further grounding him into a prone position before handcuffing his hands behind his back.

The Complainant was taken from the scene in ambulance to hospital. He had suffered an abrasion where the ARWEN round had struck him – the stomach area.

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.

Section 17, Mental Health Act -- Action by police officer

17 Where a police officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a person is acting or has acted in a disorderly manner and has reasonable cause to believe that the person,
(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,
and in addition the police officer is of the opinion that the person is apparently suffering from mental disorder of a nature or quality that likely will result in,
(d) serious bodily harm to the person;
(e) serious bodily harm to another person; or
(f) serious physical impairment of the person,
and that it would be dangerous to proceed under section 16, the police officer may take the person in custody to an appropriate place for examination by a physician.

Analysis and Director's Decision

The Complainant was struck by an ARWEN round discharged by a BPS officer on March 4, 2022. The officer – the SO – was identified as the subject official 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 SO committed a criminal offence in connection with the ARWEN shooting.

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 evidence establishes that the Complainant, who suffered from mental illness, was in mental health crisis at the time of the events in question. Being of unsound mind and expressing suicidal ideation, he was clearly a danger to himself and others when he took possession of a knife and threatened himself and the officers with it. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that he was subject to apprehension under section 17 of the MHA.

I am also satisfied that the force used by the SO was justified. Confronted by an unstable Complainant, who had entered onto the front porch of the residence still holding the knife despite having repeatedly been directed to disarm himself, the officer reasonably apprehended a risk of grievous bodily harm or death being visited upon the Complainant and the officers. As a physical confrontation to attempt to disarm the Complainant could have aggravated that risk, it would appear that the officer acted reasonably when he attempted to disarm and temporarily incapacitate the Complainant from a distance with less-lethal force.

In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO comported himself other than lawfully in his engagement with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: June 30, 2022

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) WO #3, from the sidewalk, saw the Complainant at the door with the knife and heard the ARWEN discharge. [Back to text]
  • 2) WO #4 was at the back of the residence and did not see the discharge of the ARWEN. [Back to text]
  • 3) WO #5 arrived after the ARWEN discharge, but assisted in the apprehension of the Complainant. [Back to text]
  • 4) WO #6 was at the back of the residence and did not see the discharge of the ARWEN. He went to the BGH. [Back to text]
  • 5) WO #7 was the first police officer to arrive, and saw the Complainant with the knife at the top of the steps before leaving the residence with the Complainant. WO #7 did not witness the ARWEN discharge. [Back to text]
  • 6) 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.