SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-OCI-125
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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 serious injury a 39-year-old woman (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn May 6, 2022, at 9:15 p.m., Hamilton Police Service (HPS) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
According to HPS, on May 6, 2022, at around 3:00 p.m., HPS officers responded to the downtown area regarding a disturbance. Upon their arrival, police officers were met by a woman [now determined to be the Complainant] carrying a hammer demanding police officers retrieve her money or she would do it herself. The Complainant then fled on foot with the hammer. She was caught and tackled a short distance away by one of the police officers. The Complainant complained of soreness in her back and legs, and was transported to Juravinski Hospital (JH). Upon examination, it was determined that the Complainant had suffered a dislocated pelvis and, possibly, a broken hip.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 05/06/2022 at 9:53 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 05/06/2022 at 10:05 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):39-year-old female; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on May 7, 2022.
Civilian Witness (CW) CW Interviewed
The civilian witness was interviewed on May 10, 2022.
Subject Official (SO) SO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
The subject official was interviewed on June 21, 2022.
Witness Officials (WO) WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on May 11, 2022.
The Scene The scene was located on the sidewalk of Catharine Street North in front of the entrance door to the Wesley Day Centre.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
Wesley Day Centre Video FootageThe Wesley Day Centre video recordings were made on May 6, 2022. The following is a summary of the footage.
There were two angles of video. The first appeared to be of the entrance to the Wesley Day Centre on the south side of Rebecca Street, just east of Catharine Street North. It captured the Complainant, on the south sidewalk of Rebecca Street, with a hammer in her right hand and walking briskly towards the northeast corner of the Rebecca Street and Catharine Street North intersection, turning left and disappearing from the image. The SO is captured running southward across Rebecca Street after the Complainant.
The second video captured the sidewalk on the east side of Catharine Street North, south of Rebecca Street, where the Complainant was arrested. The video was stamped with the time and date. There was no audio.
At about 3:01:40 p.m., the Complainant entered the image. She was at the top of the image and moved southbound towards the bottom of the image. The Complainant appeared to be walking briskly.
The Complainant carried a hammer in her right hand, about even with her waist. The hammer had a wooden handle and a silver head. She carried something in her left hand, which was consistent in appearance with a black face mask.
About two seconds later, the SO approached the Complainant from behind. The SO wore a HPS uniform with a baseball cap, black gloves, and white reflective stripes at the bottom of her pants. The SO stepped with her left leg to the left of, and about even with, the Complainant. The SO was moving faster than the Complainant. From behind, the SO wrapped her right hand over the Complainant’s right shoulder and to the front of the Complainant’s chest, and at the same time the SO used her left hand and wrapped it around the Complainant’s left upper arm and to the front of the Complainant’s chest. The Complainant and the SO continued forward and the Complainant fell forward, her left knee contacting the ground first. The SO landed on the ground with her knees appearing to straddle the Complainant. One second after the SO made contact with the Complainant, the Complainant was on the ground. Afterwards, the Complainant rolled onto her left side. She was then only partially within the view of the camera. The SO appeared to be on her knees and attempting to control the Complainant to handcuff her. Though she was not totally in view of the image, the Complainant did not appear to struggle.
About nine seconds after the SO made contact with the Complainant, WO #1 approached. He walked casually southbound with his hands resting on his duty belt and his body armour.
About 12 seconds after the SO made contact with the Complainant, WO #2 approached wearing a short sleeve HPS shirt. He walked casually. The Complainant raised her legs in the air and lowered them back to the ground. Neither WO #1 nor WO #2 physically assisted in controlling the Complainant.
The SO dealt physically with the Complainant. The Complainant appeared to be lying on her left side with her back to the building and facing the street. Only her lower legs and feet were visible in the image. The SO searched the Complainant and handed property to WO #2. WO #2 knelt down and assisted the SO.
At 3:03 p.m., WO #1 spoke into his police radio clipped to his left shoulder. The hammer was passed to WO #2. The SO continued to search the Complainant, who lay on the ground.
At 3:05 p.m., the SO stood up as if the search of the Complainant was finished. The Complainant remained lying on the ground and the police officers stood near her. The police officers appeared to calmly wait, and occasionally spoke to and interacted with the Complainant. The SO repeatedly knelt down and spoke to the Complainant.
At 3:21 p.m., an ambulance arrived. The Complainant was lifted onto a stretcher by the paramedics and the handcuffs were removed. At 3:32 p.m., the stretcher was moved out of sight, consistent with it being loaded into the ambulance.
Other than being taken to the ground by the SO, nothing was seen on the video to explain how the Complainant sustained an injury during the interaction.
Communications RecordingsThe communications recordings were made on May 6, 2022. The following is a summary of the pertinent information.
WO #2 requested that the dispatcher mark all police officers on a ‘weapons’ call on Catherine Street. He stated everything was “10-4” and that no other police officers were required. It was apparent the Complainant had just been apprehended by the SO. Sounds consistent with the Complainant crying and moaning were heard in the background.
About three minutes later, WO #2 requested an ambulance for the Complainant for hip pain. He also requested the dispatcher check the Complainant on CPIC.
The ambulance arrived.
A short time later, WO #2 stated the ambulance was going to JH with WO #1 on board.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from HPS between May 10, 2022, and June 28, 2022:
- Event Chronology;
- Event Information;
- General Report;
- Policy-Use of Force Reporting;
- Communications recordings;
- Notes-WO #2;
- Notes-WO #1; and
- Wesley Day Centre security camera video footage.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
- Medical Records-Hamilton Health Sciences
In the afternoon of May 6, 2022, the Complainant was in the area of the Wesley Day Centre, located on the southeast corner of Catharine Street North and Rebecca Street, when her wallet was stolen. As there were officers on foot across Rebecca Street, the Complainant complained to them about what had happened and asked for their help. The officers were busy dealing with persons loitering on the grounds of the HPS Investigative Services Division building. They explained that the Complainant would have to wait for her matter to be addressed.
The SO was among the officers across the road. She was with WO #1 and WO #2.
Angered with what she perceived to be the officers’ inaction, the Complainant retrieved a hammer and turned with it in the direction of the officers from the south sidewalk of Rebecca Street. The Complainant told them she was going to take matters into her own hands, intimating that she was going after the person who had taken her wallet. She walked briskly westward and then turned left to continue south on the east sidewalk of Catharine Street North.
The SO was the first officer to react to what was occurring. The officer ran across Rebecca Street after the Complainant, caught up to her from behind in the area of the Wesley Day Centre doors (a few metres south of Rebecca Street), and tackled her to the ground. The Complainant hit the pavement hard and suffered injuries in the process. She was placed under arrest.
The Complainant was taken to hospital from the scene and diagnosed with a fractured and dislocated left hip.
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 88(1), Criminal Code -- Possession of weapon for dangerous purpose88 (1) Every person commits an offence who carries or possesses a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence.
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.
In light of the Complainant’s angry demeanour, threatening utterances, and possession of a hammer, the SO had grounds to seek her arrest for being in possession of a weapon contrary to section 88(1) of the Criminal Code.
I am also satisfied that the SO used no more force than was necessary in aid of the Complainant’s arrest. The Complainant had a hammer in her hand, appeared determined to use it, and was in a public place. It was imperative that she be brought under control as quickly as possible. It was also imperative that the SO do so in a manner that mitigated the risks to her safety, again, given the weapon in the Complainant’s hands. In the circumstances, it would appear that a takedown was a tactic reasonably available to the officer as it would immediately place the Complainant at a position of disadvantage, allowing for her safe apprehension. That is precisely what happened without need for any additional strikes of any kind.
In the result, while it is regrettable that the Complainant was seriously injured by the SO, her injuries are not attributable to any unlawful behaviour on the part of the officer. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the officer. The file is closed.
Date: September 2, 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.