SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-TFP-100
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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 discharge of a firearm by the police at a 31-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn April 4, 2022, at 4:39 a.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of the following.
On April 4, 2022, at 2:30 a.m., paid-duty officers saw a man cutting his wrist with a razor blade at Dundas Street East and Victoria Street. The man also had his legs wrapped around a pole. An officer deployed a less lethal shotgun after their attempts to get the man to stop cutting himself failed. A conducted energy weapon (CEW) and oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray were also deployed. The man was apprehended under the authority of the Mental Health Act (MHA) and taken to St. Michael’s Hospital where he was assessed. The man did not suffer any serious injuries.
Body-worn camera (BWC) footage was available. TPS were to take photographs of the scene and collect bean bag rounds.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 04/04/2022 at 7:21 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 04/04/2022 at 9:03 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):31-year-old male, declined to be interviewed
Subject Official (SO)SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
The Scene The scene was at the southwest corner of Dundas Street East and Victoria Street, Toronto. It was well lit by artificial light and the headlights of nearby police vehicles.
The scene was not examined by SIU investigators.
TPS photographed the scene, and seized the bean bag round fired by the less lethal shotgun and the involved CEW.
Figure 1 – TPS photograph of the bean bag round
Figure 2 – TPS photograph of the razor blade
BWC FootageBWC footage from two TPS officers was received from the TPS on April 4, 2022.
BWC Footage of WO #1
WO #1 was on a paid-duty policing stint at Dundas Street East and Victoria Street at 2:36 a.m. when he happened to notice the Complainant sitting on the ground with his legs wrapped around a pole, cutting his wrists with a razor blade.
WO #1 spoke with the Complainant attempting to de-escalate the situation, and have the Complainant stop what he was doing and drop the razor blade so police could help him. The Complainant was cutting both his wrists and was in a frantic state.
Additional TPS officers arrived along with the SO, who was shown to have a less lethal shotgun and was standing approximately two to three metres in front of the Complainant. For several minutes, the Complainant was yelling incoherently while raising the razor blade to his neck.
At 2:57 am., after refusing to comply with WO #1’s commands to drop the razor and speak with him, the Complainant began to aggressively cut his right wrist in a frantic and agitated state. The SO fired one round from the less lethal shotgun. WO #2 then used his OC spray on the Complainant’s face. A CEW was then heard being fired at the Complainant.
Police officers, including WO #1, swarmed the Complainant and apprehended him. He was loaded onto an ambulance stretcher and left the scene with paramedics.
The SO’s BWC Footage
The SO’s BWC footage essentially captured the same information as WO #1’s BWC, but from a different perspective.
At 2:57 a.m., after the SO fired the less lethal shotgun at the Complainant striking him in the chest, WO #3 fired his CEW at the Complainant, contacting him in the upper torso.
Materials Obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU received the following records from TPS between April 5 and 21, 2022:
- Computer-assisted Dispatch Report;
- BWC footage;
- Notes- WO #2;
- Notes- WO #1; and
- Notes- WO #3.
In the early morning hours of April 4, 2022, while conducting a paid-duty policing stint in the area of Dundas Street East and Victoria Street, Toronto, WO #1’s attention was drawn to the Complainant. The Complainant was in crisis. Seated on the sidewalk on the southwest corner of the intersection, his legs wrapped around the crosswalk pole, the Complainant was cutting his wrists with a razor blade. The officer spoke with the Complainant at a distance to de-escalate the situation. A highly agitated Complainant could not be assuaged – he refused to drop the blade and held it up to his neck. WO #1 radioed what was occurring and sought the assistance of other officers.
Additional officers arrived on scene. Among them, armed with a less lethal shotgun, was the SO. At about 2:57 a.m., as the Complainant began to aggressively cut his wrist, the SO fired his weapon. The bean bag round struck the Complainant in the chest. Shortly thereafter, WO #2 discharged his OC spray at the Complainant and WO #3 fired his CEW. The Complainant was incapacitated and swarmed by the officers, who were able to handcuff him without further incident.
The Complainant was taken from the scene to hospital in an ambulance. He does not appear to have suffered any serious physical injuries.
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.
The SO, as were the other involved officers, was lawfully placed and engaged in the execution of his duties at the time of the incident. The Complainant was clearly subject to apprehension under section 17 of the MHA given his very apparent mental distress and acts of self-harm.
The force used by the SO, namely, the use of his less lethal shotgun, was legally justified. It would not have been prudent to physically engage the Complainant given his erratic behaviour and the presence of the razor blade. Nor were continued negotiations in the cards. The Complainant had already cut himself and was in the act of doing even more damage to his wrists with the blade. The officers had to act immediately to incapacitate him if they were going to preserve his life from grievous bodily harm or death and take him into custody. In the circumstances, the use of the less lethal shotgun was a commensurate response to the exigencies of the situation. Indeed, together with the CEW and OC spray, the shotgun impact appears to have done its part in sufficiently neutralizing the Complainant to allow for the officers’ safe approach to effect the arrest.
In the result, as there are no grounds to believe that the SO comported himself other than lawfully in the use of his less lethal shotgun, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: July 29, 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.