SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-OFP-108
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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 30-year-old man (the “Complainant”)
Notification of the SIUOn April 13, 2022, at 6:26 p.m., the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) reported a police firearm discharge at the Complainant.
The HRPS advised that in the afternoon of April 13, 2022, the HRPS had been contacted by a woman requesting a check on the well-being of her son, the Complainant. The woman indicated that her son had demonstrated suicidal behaviour. The information was relayed to police officers who initiated a search for the Complainant. A short time later, police were requested to attend a retail plaza located at Walkers line and New Street, Burlington, regarding an assault. Reports were received that the Complainant had assaulted an employee at the plaza, was acting strangely, and had made religious references. A third call was made to police by a resident of a multi-level building in the area of New Street and Longmoor Drive, Burlington. It was reported that the Complainant had entered one of the units. Police were contacted and responded, and the Complainant was located outside of the residence, in a shed, on the property.
Negotiations were attempted with the Complainant with negative results. The Complainant armed himself with a shovel from inside the shed and, at one point, threw a tire iron and struck a Tactical Rescue Unit (TRU) police officer on the leg. At this point, an Anti-riot Weapon Enfield (ARWEN) was deployed in addition to three separate conducted energy weapon (CEW) deployments.
The Complainant was apprehended, and Tactical Emergency Medical Services (TEMS) paramedics assessed him on scene.
The Complainant was transported to Joseph Brant Hospital where he was admitted under the Mental Health Act.
The scene was being held, and the CEWs and ARWEN were secured at the HRPS Headquarters.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 04/13/2022 at 6:55 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 04/13/2022 at 7:10 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):30-year-old male, interviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on May 2, 2022.
Civilian Witness (CW)CW Not interviewed; next-of kin
Subject Officials (SO)SO Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right; notes received and reviewed
Witness Officials (WO) WO #1 Not interviewed, but statement and notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Not interviewed, but statement and notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Interviewed, and statement and notes received and reviewed
WO #4 Not interviewed, but statement and notes received and reviewed
The witness official was interviewed on April 19, 2022.
The Scene On April 13, 2022, at 8:28 p.m., a SIU Forensic Investigator (FI) arrived at the scene, which was located at the rear of an address in the area of New Street and Longmoor Drive, Burlington. The scene was at the northwest corner of the building. It was a small garden shed with a double-door entrance. Inside the shed were garden tools and evidence of deployments of CEWs and an ARWEN. To the left of the shed as you faced it was more evidence of less-lethal weapons’ deployment and several tools, including a shovel and a four-way tire wrench.
The scene was photographed and evidence was collected. The evidence included five ARWEN cartridge cases and five ARWEN projectiles. Three CEW probes were collected from inside the shed, and several CEW blast doors and CEW Anti-felon Identification Disks (AFIDs) were collected from inside the shed.
At 10:30 p.m., a SIU FI attended at the HRPS Headquarters. WO #1 from the TRU team provided a number of less-lethal weapons for examination and photography. Included was an ARWEN 37, which had no serial number. The chamber was empty.
Physical Evidence The physical evidence collected included five ARWEN cartridge cases at the scene (outside and inside the shed), five ARWEN projectiles inside the shed, three CEW probes inside the shed, several CEW blast doors inside the shed, several CEW AFIDs inside the shed, and four CEW cartridges.
Figure 1 – ARWEN 37
Figure 2 – CEW and CEW cartridges
Figure 3 – Photograph taken by HRPS of tire wrench
Forensic EvidenceThe first CEW was a Taser X2, labelled with WO #2’s last name. The weapon and its two deployed cartridges were photographed. At 10:49 p.m., the data were downloaded. The data indicated that the weapon had been armed at 4:30:08 p.m., and the trigger was engaged three times.
The second CEW was a Taser X2, labelled with WO #1’s last name. The weapon and its two deployed cartridges were photographed. At 10:59 p.m., the data were downloaded. The data indicated that the weapon had been armed at 4:27:31 p.m., and the trigger was engaged eight times.
The third CEW was a Taser X2, labelled with WO #3’s last name. The weapon had two live cartridges. At 11:06 p.m., the data were downloaded. The data indicated that the weapon had been armed at 4:29:44 p.m., and that it had been used in drive stun mode six times.
The SIU FI took possession of the deployed cartridges, and released the ARWEN and three CEWs back to the HRPS.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The communications recordings were obtained from the HRPS.
Communications RecordingsOn April 13, 2022, at approximately 3:10 p.m., the HRPS dispatched police officers to the scene regarding an incident involving the Complainant, who had been locked in a shed. Information had been received that the Complainant had walked into two apartments. Uniform police officers were dispatched and attempted to talk with the Complainant.
At 3:23 p.m., WO #4 advised that the Complainant had been aggressive with HRPS in the past and tactical units were requested.
At 3:27 p.m., tactical units were on scene and a request was made for a police dog unit.
At 3:58 p.m., the tactical team requested TEMS to the incident location.
Between approximately 4:02 p.m. and 4:06 p.m., the TRU advised dispatch that the shed door was open, and police officers were speaking with the Complainant.
At 4:30 p.m., the TRU advised dispatch that they were in the shed. The Complainant had resisted arrest and a CEW had been deployed.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU obtained the following materials from HRPS between April 14, 2022, and April 28, 2022:
- Computer-assisted Dispatch report;
- SO - Training Log;
- Communications recordings;
- Involved Officers List;
- Involved Witnesses List;
- Occurrence Report (x3);
- Policy- Use of Force;
- Policy- Persons in Crisis;
- Notes- WO #3;
- Notes- WO #4;
- Notes- WO #1; and
- Notes- WO #2.
In the afternoon of April 13, 2022, officers with the HRPS TRU were dispatched to an address in the area of New Street and Longmoor Drive to deal with a barricaded person situation. A man – the Complainant – was locked inside a garden shed at the back of a building. Of concern was the fact that the Complainant appeared to be in possession of a shovel, and had been the subject of a reported assault and break and enters that same afternoon.
Armed with an ARWEN, the SO was among the tactical officers who arrived at the scene. Other TRU officers included WO #4, WO #1, WO #2 and WO #3. The officers took up positions within several metres of the shed. The SO, a trained negotiator, took the lead in attempting to speak with the Complainant.
The Complainant, who suffered from mental illness and substance abuse, was in mental health crisis at the time. He was unreceptive to the SO’s overtures. Instead, the Complainant told the officers they would have to shoot him and repeatedly banged on the shed doors, causing them to bow outwards. At one point, he managed to force open the shed doors and threw a tire iron at one of the TRU officers – WO #3 – striking him in the leg. Shortly thereafter, the Complainant confronted the officers holding a shovel in one hand and a garbage can lid in the other, which he used in the fashion of a shield.
On seeing him with the shovel and shield, the SO fired his ARWEN once at the Complainant’s left leg. The Complainant momentarily closed the doors to the shed, with him in it, before the doors swung open again and he was subjected to three more rounds discharged from the SO’s ARWEN. Again, the doors closed briefly before they were opened by a TRU officer and the Complainant once again exposed, the shovel and shield still in his possession. The last of the SO’s five ARWEN discharges occurred at this time, as did a CEW discharge at the Complainant by WO #1.
The Complainant was incapacitated by the ARWEN and/or CEW discharge, prompting the officers to rush into the shed to take him into custody. WO #2 used his shield to pin the Complainant on his back as he and WO #1 and WO #3 discharged their CEWs multiple times and delivered several physical strikes to overcome the Complainant’s resistance. The Complainant was subdued and handcuffed behind his back.
Following his arrest, the Complainant was transported to hospital and admitted for psychiatric examination under the Mental Health Act. He had not suffered any serious 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 Complainant was clearly subject to arrest when the SO and the other TRU officers used force against him. Based on the information they had been provided at dispatch of the Complainant’s mental instability and odd behaviour that day, and what they discerned for themselves at the scene in the course of the standoff, the officers had clear grounds to take the Complainant into custody under section 17 of the Mental Health Act and in respect of Criminal Code offences.
I am also satisfied that the use of the ARWEN by the SO constituted legally justified force in aid of the Complainant’s apprehension.  Though not of sound mind at the time, the Complainant had that day demonstrated a propensity for violent and erratic behaviour. He had reportedly assaulted a store clerk and entered the units of two persons in a building without invitation. Once in the shed, to which he had been chased by the son of one of the two persons, the Complainant’s hostility remained unabated. He threatened the officers, threw a tire iron, and then confronted them with a shovel and shield. In the circumstances, I am unable to reasonably conclude that a resort to the ARWEN was something other than a proportionate response to the exigencies at hand as it carried with it the prospect of neutralizing an armed Complainant safely from a distance without causing serious injury. Once the Complainant was, in fact, incapacitated, whether by the final ARWEN discharge or a concurrent CEW discharge, the SO fired no further rounds.
For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO comported himself other than lawfully in his dealings with the Complainant. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: August 10, 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]
- 2) Though not the focus of the SIU investigation, it would appear that the physical strikes and multiple CEW deployments against the Complainant were also legally justified given his strenuous resistance on the ground and his access to other potential weapons of opportunity in the shed. [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.