SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-OCI-159
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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 section 14 (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 38-year-old woman (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn June 25, 2022, at 3:43 p.m., the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.
On June 25, 2022, at 11:45 a.m., HPS received a call to check on the well-being of the Complainant. HPS officers arrived at her address in Hamilton and the Complainant came outside her apartment into a narrow hallway. The Complainant grabbed Witness Official (WO) #1 by her hair. The Subject Official (SO) intervened and the Complainant bit him on the finger. The SO punched the Complainant in the face and placed her under arrest. At the HPS station, it was discovered that the Complainant’s two front teeth were missing. HPS officers went back to the scene and located them. The Complainant was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital for treatment. Her teeth had been knocked out from the root.
The SO also attended the hospital for medical care.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 06/25/2022 at 5:29 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 06/25/2022 at 6:20 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):38-year-old female; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on June 25, 2022.
Civilian Witness (CW)CW Interviewed
The civilian witness was interviewed on June 27, 2022.
Subject Official SO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
The subject official was interviewed on August 5, 2022.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Not interviewed; notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on June 29, 2022.
The Scene The scene was an apartment in a building in the area of King Street East and Gage Avenue in Hamilton.
On June 25, 2022, a SIU forensic investigator attended at the apartment. There was a small pool of blood in the hallway in front of the apartment that was directly across from the Complainant’s apartment.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
Video RecordingsNo HPS officers were equipped with body-worn cameras, and there were no cameras in the hallway of the Complainant’s residence.
Communications Recordings and Computer-assisted Dispatch (CAD) The following is a summary of the information derived from the police communications recordings and the CAD.
At 11:23 a.m., June 25, 2022, the CW called the HPS about a person in crisis – the Complainant. The Complainant was having a mental health breakdown and smashing things and screaming. HPS units were assigned, and later an ambulance was called.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the HPS:
- Arrest Report;
- CAD Report;
- Communications recordings;
- Occurrence History;
- Notes-WO #3;
- Notes-WO #1;
- Notes-WO #2; and
- Occurrence Report.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
- Medical records of the Complainant from St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.
In the late morning of June 25, 2022, the SO, a member of the HPS Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Unit, was dispatched to an apartment near King Street East and Gage Avenue to check on the welfare of the Complainant. A former partner of the Complainant’s – the CW – who had been with the Complainant the night before, had contacted police concerned with the Complainant’s mental health. She had been agitated through the night, not slept, and was threatening to set the sofa on fire. The SO was usually paired with a mental health professional on such calls, but that person had called in sick that day, so he was operating solo. Dispatched with him was WO #1 (female officer) – the CW, in conversation with the SO prior to the officer’s arrival at the unit, had suggested the presence of a female officer to assist in dealing with the Complainant.
The officers knocked on the Complainant’s door. She eventually opened the door and immediately pushed the SO in the chest, knocking him backwards. The Complainant and WO #1 then physically engaged each other. The Complainant was pulling the officer’s hair when the SO, having collected himself, attempted to pry her off his colleague using his left arm. The Complainant reacted by biting the SO’s arm and the officer, in turn, reacted by punching the Complainant once in the face. Shortly thereafter, the officers forced the Complainant to the floor, after which she was handcuffed.
The Complainant was transported to the police station and, from there, to the hospital when it was noticed that two of her front teeth had been knocked out.
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,
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 and WO #1 were lawfully placed throughout their dealings with the Complainant. Having been dispatched to check on her well-being following a call to police expressing concerns for her welfare, the officers were duty bound to attend her address to ensure her safety. Thereafter, when the Complainant pushed the SO as soon as she opened the door to the officers, she was also subject to arrest for assault.
With respect to the force used by the officers, namely, a punch delivered by the SO and a takedown performed by both officers, I am satisfied that it was legally justified. The punch was an instant reaction by the SO to being bitten, and constituted a proportionate use of force given the need to have the Complainant release her bite and deter any further aggression. That is precisely what occurred. Following the punch, it would appear the takedown by the officers was also a tactic reasonably available to the officers. The Complainant had been physically aggressive from the moment she opened the door and the officers were within their rights in taking action to place her at a positional disadvantage in order to better manage any continued hostilities. There is a version of events proffered in the evidence suggesting the Complainant was dealt with harshly in the force used to bring her to ground, and that, in fact, that is when she lost her teeth. And further it is alleged that she was kicked in the lower back and stomach by one or more of the officers once on the floor. I am unable to make a finding to that effect, however, given the countervailing evidence of the SO and WO #1, neither of whom describe any such excessive force.
In the result, while I accept that the Complainant lost her teeth in the punch or the takedown to the ground, or some combination of both, I am not satisfied on reasonable grounds that her injury was the result of unlawful conduct on the part of the officers. As such, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: October 21, 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.