SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-PCI-140
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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 of a 34-year-old woman (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn May 29, 2022, at about 9:05 a.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) contacted the SIU with the following information.
On May 29, 2022, at approximately 1:35 a.m., the OPP responded to the area of 12 Grace Avenue in Orillia for a suspicious vehicle. There were three occupants inside the vehicle and a Pitbull dog. While investigating the occupants, it was clear that they were obstructing the police officers. As the police officers went to arrest the occupants, the driver and one of the females, the Complainant, got out of the vehicle and fled on foot. They were chased down and apprehended. Another female remained in the vehicle. During the arrests, the dog attacked a police officer causing multiple injuries to his face and arms. The driver and the Complainant were taken to Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (SMH) in Orillia where it was determined that the driver had a broken wrist  and the Complainant had a broken ankle. The police officers had suffered various injuries as well.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 05/29/2022 at 10:53 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 05/29/2022 at 2:55 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):34-year-old female interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on May 29, 2022.
Civilian Witnesses (CW) CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between May 30, 2022, and June 8, 2022.
Subject Official (SO) SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
WO #6 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
The witness officials were interviewed on June 13, 2022.
The Scene The scene was the parking lot for Trillium Manor, located at 12 Grace Avenue in Orillia.
Figure 1 – Incident scene
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence Video Footage - Trillium Manor
The following is a summary of the footage, which was very poor quality.
At 2:55:40 a.m., a white SUV [known to be a Ford Escape operated by the driver] could be seen in a parking space at Trillium Manor in the row closest to the front entrance of the building. The vehicle was facing south, parked between two other vehicles, and there were no lights on the vehicle, inside or out. Two figures [believed to be CW #1 and CW #2] could be seen approaching a vehicle in the vicinity of the Ford Escape and the front markers lights were turned on [vehicle is known to be owned by CW #1].
At 3:25:07 a.m., the headlights of a vehicle appear stopped in front of the Ford Escape [known to be the OPP vehicle operated by WO #2 and WO #1] facing east. There were no roof lights activated on the vehicle. A few seconds later, the red and blue emergency lights of a stopped vehicle were visible just to the east of the Ford Escape [known to be a Simcoe Paramedic Services (SPS)] ambulance]. Unknown persons were observed standing to the east of the vehicle that was parked on the driver’s side of the Ford Escape.
At 3:27:39 a.m., the SPS vehicle travelled to the rear of the Ford Escape and then left the parking lot.
911 CallsOn May 29, 2022, at 3:12:50 a.m., CW #1 reported a suspicious vehicle parked in the front parking lot of the Trillium Manor retirement home. She advised that a man was observed slumped over the steering wheel of a white Ford Escape. She did not know if there was a medical emergency but suspected that the driver might have been suffering from an overdose. She requested that police and an ambulance attend to check on the driver.
At 3:36:39 a.m., a caller reported a possible shooting and a man down on the roadway. The caller had heard gunshots, and police were already in attendance in front of a residence. The caller was asleep and heard yelling out front, including someone saying, “Get on the ground.”
Radio CommunicationsAt 3:14:09 a.m., the OPP communications centre dispatched police officers to the Trillium Manor for a ‘suspicious persons’ call. A man, the driver, was reported to be passed out in the front seat of a white Ford Escape. There was also a dog in the vehicle. An ambulance had been dispatched. The driver’s vehicle had been present for approximately 30 minutes.
WO #1 advised that they had arrived and proceeded to provide a licence plate number to the communications operator, who then conducted a records check.
WO #2 asked for records checks on two persons: the Complainant and the driver. A police officer advised WO #2 that WO #3 would be giving her a telephone call. The communications operator advised WO #2 that neither the driver nor the Complainant had a driver’s licence.
WO #1 advised that both parties had given them false names and asked that they be queried with different surnames. WO #2 was then heard to yell that they were in a foot pursuit. There were the sounds of a commotion and WO #2 was heard saying, “Taser.” Additional police officers then advised they were responding to the location.
The communications centre received a distress alert from WO #2’s portable police radio. WO #1 advised that he had one person in custody and that he did not know where the other two had gone. He made a request for an ambulance as he has been bitten by a dog.
A police officer advised that a female was found inside the Ford Escape. The communications operator advised that the driver had a warrant on file for his arrest.
WO #4 advised that he was transporting a female [known to be the Complainant] to SMH and that WO #3 was accompanying him.
Materials Obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained the following materials from OPP between June 1, 2022, and June 13, 2022:
- List of Involved Officers;
- General Occurrence Report;
- Copy of recording of 911 call;
- Radio communications;
- Notes – WO #4;
- Notes – WO #6;
- Notes – WO #2;
- Notes – WO #5;
- Notes – WO #1; and
- Notes- WO #3.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
- Medical records from SMH; and
- Video footage from Trillium Manor.
At about 3:12 a.m. of May 29, 2022, the OPP received a 911 call from a staff member of the Trillium Manor retirement home. The caller – CW #1 – reported the presence of a Ford Escape parked in the home’s parking lot, and a man slumped over the steering wheel of the vehicle. CW #1 was concerned that the male was suffering from a drug overdose. Police officers and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.
The man in the Ford was with another woman and a Pitbull dog. Shortly after the call to police, the man was joined outside the Ford by the Complainant. The Complainant was coming from a nearby house. The man had just exited the Ford and let his dog out of the vehicle when a police vehicle arrived in the parking lot.
WO #1, operating the police cruiser, brought the vehicle to a stop across the front of the Ford. He was with his partner – WO #2. The two exited their cruiser and engaged the man and the Complainant in conversation, asking for their names. The man and the Complainant provided false names.
Upon reviewing the information they had been provided against police records, and learning that there was an arrest warrant in effect for the man, and that he and the Complainant had lied about their identities, the officers decided to arrest the man and the Complainant. The man fled on foot eastward on Grace Avenue but was quickly captured by WO #1. The Pitbull had followed the pair and attacked WO #1, injuring the officer. The dog was shot dead by the officers.
In the meantime, as the officers chased after the man, the Complainant had run towards a house where she sought refuge. Shortly thereafter, there was a knock on the door from officers – the SO and WO #3 - seeking to arrest her. The Complainant answered the door and was taken into custody by the officers.
Following her arrest, the Complainant was transported from the scene to hospital where she was diagnosed with a fractured right ankle.
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 139, Criminal Code - Obstructing justice
(a) by indemnifying or agreeing to indemnify a surety, in any way and either in whole or in part, or(b) where he is a surety, by accepting or agreeing to accept a fee or any form of indemnity whether in whole or in part from or in respect of a person who is released or is to be released from custody,is guilty of(c) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or(d) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
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.
I am satisfied that there were grounds to seek the Complainant’s arrest. When she attempted to mislead the officers with a fake name, she opened the door to her arrest on charges of obstruction of justice under section 139 of the Criminal Code.
It is alleged that the Complainant was pulled out of the house by the SO and WO #3 – each with a hold of one of her arms – and pulled to the ground on the front lawn of the residence. While handcuffed and in a prone position on the ground, the officers allegedly stomped on her right foot multiple times, causing her injury.
The allegation, which, if true, would give rise to assault-based charges, is insufficiently reliable to warrant being put to the test by a court of law. It is substantially contradicted by the evidence of an independent witness who reported that the Complainant’s ankle was broken before the SO and WO #3 had arrived at the address. For this and other reasons, it would be unwise and unsafe to proceed with charges on the strength of the Complainant’s word alone.
As for the remainder of the evidence going to the manner in which the arrest was effected, it falls short of any reasonable conclusion that unlawful force was brought to bear by either the SO or WO #3. The crux of this evidence is that the Complainant was taken into physical custody as she stepped out from the door, and that she was pulled to the ground when she pushed and pulled at the officers attempting to release their hold. Thereafter, WO #3 delivered two or three knee strikes to the Complainant’s torso to overcome her continued resistance on the ground, after which she was secured in handcuffs. No further strikes of any kind were delivered. The grounding and knee strikes would not appear to constitute disproportionate force in the context of a person resisting their arrest, particularly as they do not appear to have resulted in serious injury to the Complainant.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO comported himself other than lawfully in his dealings with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against him. The file is closed.
Date: September 26, 2022
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) It was subsequently reported that the driver had not sustained a serious injury. [Back to text]
- 2) 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.