SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-OCI-122


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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 31-year-old female (the “Complainant”) suffered.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On April 30, 2022, at 1:56 p.m., the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.

On April 30, 2022, at approximately 7:25 a.m., the WRPS had been called to a residential area in Cambridge, for family trouble. The Complainant was creating a disturbance at her father’s residence. She left on foot before police officers arrived but was located a short distance away in the area of Ryerson Public School. A Canadian Police Information Centre check revealed she was breaching multiple release conditions and had an outstanding warrant from the London Police Service. The Complainant was arrested and placed in a Sport Utility Vehicle-style police vehicle. While in the rear of that police vehicle she smacked her head repeatedly on the prisoner partition and slipped a cuff. She then attempted to access the rear storage area of the police vehicle but became stuck. The Complainant was taken to Cambridge Memorial Hospital (CMH) where it was determined she had a small fracture to her nasal bone.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 04/30/2022 at 2:57 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 04/30/2022 at 3:07 p.m.

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

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

31-year-old female; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on April 30, 2022.

Subject Official (SO)

SO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed

The subject official was interviewed on July 4, 2022.

Witness Official (WO)

WO Interviewed

The witness official was interviewed on May 19, 2022.


The Scene

On April 30, 2022, at 6:07 p.m., SIU investigators attended Ryerson Public School. The driveway and curb area at the front of the school were examined for blood. There was no blood found in the area.

A security camera was located at the front doors, but later inquiries revealed there was no available video footage.

The Google Maps image below, captured in August 2019, with north oriented to the top of the page, captured the front entrance to the school.

Figure 1 – Google Maps photograph of Ryerson Public School entrance

Figure 1 – Google Maps photograph of Ryerson Public School entrance

Captured by a SIU forensic investigator, on April 30, 2022, the following image is of the rear seat of the SO and WO’s police vehicle after 6:00 p.m., that day. It had been held secure for examination. The image depicts a metal protrusion at the centre of the prisoner divider cage.

Figure 2 – Photograph of the rear seat area of the police vehicle

Figure 2 – Photograph of the rear seat area of the police vehicle

Physical Evidence

The SO and WO’s police vehicle was secured, by SIU direction, at the WRPS South Division. On April 30, 2022, at 6:15 p.m., a SIU forensic investigator examined that vehicle. Its exterior was undamaged, other than the expected paint chips associated with normal wear and tear. There were no obvious signs of violence or blood on the vehicle exterior. It was covered with a light layer of dust that was examined using oblique lighting. Hand marks were noted on the right and left rear windows. Further hand marks were noted on both the left and right side of the hood where it met the windshield. Those hand marks were photographed.

The interior of the vehicle was examined and photographed. The rear seat was constructed of molded plastic. Plexiglas separated the driver and front passenger from the rear compartment with a wire section in the centre of the partition.

Though no blood was found in the rear seating area, there was what appeared to be dried expectorate on the partition and a footwear impression on the passenger side door. There was also a greasy stain on the metal portion of the partition. That stain did not appear to be blood.

The dried expectorate and the grease stain were swabbed, and the footwear impressions were photographed.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

Police Communications Recordings

The communications recordings were requested by the SIU on May 2, 2022, and received by the SIU on May 4, 2022. The following is a summary of the recordings.

911 Call

At 7:23:25 a.m., the police received a 911 call from a man [now known to be the Complainant’s father] reporting that his daughter (the Complainant) and her partner were at his home. His daughter was outside, throwing chairs and threatening to burn the house down if the police were called.

The Complainant’s father asked the police to remove the Complainant and her partner from his property. They had no weapons and nobody had any injuries. The Complainant was said to have used drugs.

While the Complainant’s father was on the telephone with the police, the two women reportedly left his property and the direction they were walking in was provided.

Radio Communications Recordings

At 7:27:18 a.m., the police dispatcher sent the SO and WO to the residence where the Complainant’s father was having a dispute with his daughter (the Complainant) and her partner. The two women were fighting and throwing patio furniture. The daughter had threatened to burn down the house if the police were called.

The call was updated to report that the two women had run away from the house.

At 7:30:35 a.m., the police dispatcher broadcast that the Complainant had a warrant outstanding for her arrest. The WO broadcast that he and the SO were with the Complainant and her partner, and, at 7:31:59 a.m., relayed a message to Officer #1 that he should head to the Complainant’s father’s house and gather more information.

At 7:36:26 a.m., Officer #1 broadcast that the Complainant’s father had thrown Narcan at the two women. The dispatcher asked if an ambulance was required, and the response was ‘no’. A man [believed to be the WO] asked if there were any criminal allegations being made and, at 7:37:40 a.m., another man [believed to be Officer #1], responded, “No,” other than, “10-63.” [2]

At 8:04:06 a.m., an inaudible transmission was followed, at 8:04:11 a.m., by the police dispatcher saying, “10-4, 949.” [3] At 8:05:28 a.m., the SO broadcast, “Park at the front of the elementary school off Fairview.”

At 8:50:14 a.m., the WO asked for an ambulance to Ryerson Public School to check out a cut to the Complainant’s face.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the WRPS between May 4, 2022, and July 22, 2022:
  • Incident History;
  • Notes - WO;
  • Notes - SO;
  • Terminal Transmission;
  • Training Record - WO;
  • Training Record - SO;
  • Communications recordings;
  • Policy - Arrest and Release Procedure; and
  • Policy - Use of Force Procedure.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained the following records from other sources:
  • Medical records - CMH.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, including interviews with the Complainant and the SO, as well as another officer – the WO – present at the time of the arrest.

In the morning of April 30, 2022, the SO and WO were dispatched to investigate a disturbance call at a residence in Cambridge. The Complainant’s father had called to report that his daughter was at his residence throwing chairs and threatening to burn the house down. He wanted her removed from the property. The officers encountered the Complainant en route to the scene. She was walking away from her father’s home and in the company of another woman. After a brief chat with the women, and upon confirmation that the Complainant’s father did not wish to pursue charges, the officers allowed the women on their way.

The SO and WO travelled a short distance to the residence of the Complainant’s father where they learned for the first time that there was a warrant out for the Complainant’s arrest. Intending to arrest her on the strength of the warrant, the officers returned to their cruiser and set off in search of the Complainant. They located her and her companion a short distance away in the vicinity of Ryerson Public School. The Complainant was advised of her arrest, handcuffed without incident, and placed in the backseat of the officers’ cruiser.

The Complainant managed to slip the cuff off one of her hands and began to reach into the compartment behind the backseat where a backpack that had been removed from her had been placed. On seeing this, the Complainant was removed from the cruiser, falling a short distance onto the ground in the process. She struggled as the officers attempted to re-secure her in handcuffs and then struggled again as they lifted her from the ground – handcuffed - and tried to place her in the rear seat of the cruiser. At one point, as the SO pushed her headfirst into the back, the Complainant’s face struck a metal protrusion that formed part of the partition dividing the front and rear seats of the cruiser. The impact resulted in a laceration to the bridge of the Complainant’s nose and swelling to her forehead.

Paramedics were summoned to the scene and transported the Complainant to hospital where she was diagnosed with a nasal bone fracture.

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 while in the custody of WRPS officers on April 30, 2022. One of those officers – 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 Complainant’s 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.

As there was a warrant in effect for the Complainant’s arrest, the SO and WO were within their rights in seeking to take the Complainant into custody and exercising reasonable control of her movements in order that she be safely dealt with according to law.

When the Complainant resisted arrest and struggled against the officers’ efforts to place her in their cruiser, the SO and WO responded with what was, in my view, legally justified force. In particular, it would appear that the SO was left with little option but to forcibly push the Complainant into the rear seat of the cruiser after she made it clear that she was not about to enter peaceably. While the Complainant’s face struck the partition and resulted in her broken nose, that was the regrettable result of an inherently dynamic process rather than any intention to cause harm on the part of the officer or excessive force.

There is a different version of events proffered in the evidence in which the Complainant’s injury is alleged to be the result of her being grounded by the WO during the initial arrest at the scene. If true, however, that grounding would appear to have been a tactic reasonably available to the officer given that, by all accounts, the Complainant was physically resisting arrest at the time. In that position, the WO could expect to better manage any continuing struggle by the Complainant.

In the result, while I accept that the Complainant’s broken nose was incurred in her dealings with the SO and WO around the time of her arrest, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the injury was attributable to any unlawful conduct on the part of the officers. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: August 26, 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]
  • 2) 10-63 is a numeric code given when a person is wanted on a warrant. [Back to text]
  • 3) “10-4, 949” translates, essentially, “I understand, under arrest.” [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.