SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-OCI-163
This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.
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 57-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn June 27, 2022, at 5:49 a.m., the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) contacted the SIU and reported the following.
On June 27, 2022, at 12:37 a.m., the NRPS received a call for assistance for an unwanted person at a restaurant on Lake Street, St. Catharines. At 12:44 a.m., police officers arrived and found the Complainant on the patio arguing with people. The Complainant refused to leave so the police officers arrested him for trespass. During the arrest, the police officers saw the Complainant with a knife. He was grounded and handcuffed. Since no one wanted to proceed with charges, the Complainant was released on a promise to appear. At 1:18 a.m., a person called the NRPS from a convenience store in St. Catharines. The caller reported that a man, the Complainant, had walked into the store saying he had a bloody face, and the police did it to him. The same police officers who had dealt with the Complainant earlier, attended. The Complainant was taken to St. Catharines Hospital and diagnosed with a broken wrist.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 06/27/2022 at 8:27 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 06/27/2022 at 9:30 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):57-year-old male; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on June 29, 2022, and July 20, 2022.
Civilian Witnesses (CW) CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed on June 29, 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 August 4, 2022.
Witness Officials (WO) WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between July 5 and 20, 2022.
The Scene The events in question are reported to have occurred outside a restaurant on Lake Street, St. Catharines.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
911 Communications - The Incident at the RestaurantOn June 27, 2022, at approximately 12:37 a.m., a 911 call was made by CW #2 requesting the assistance of the NRPS. A man [known as the Complainant] was reportedly creating chaos at his restaurant on Lake Street. A description of the Complainant was provided.
The Complainant’s voice was heard throughout the 911 call, yelling and swearing. The Complainant accused CW #2 of following him, and calling him a rat. CW #2 advised the dispatcher that the Complainant was hitting customers. CW #2 reported that no weapons were involved, and everyone was safe. The Complainant was said to be outside the restaurant and sounded intoxicated.
911 Communications – The Incident at the Convenience StoreAn employee at the convenience store called 911 and advised that a man [now known to be the Complainant] had entered the store. The Complainant had damage to his face and a broken wrist; his shirt was covered in blood. The Complainant told the employee that the police had stomped on his wrist at the bar. The employee believed the Complainant was drunk as he swayed around.
NRPS Radio CommunicationsThe NRPS dispatcher advised via broadcast that an unwanted person was at a restaurant on Lake Street. The caller, CW #2, was heard on the phone arguing with the Complainant. The dispatcher advised that the Complainant sounded extremely intoxicated. The dispatcher then indicated that the Complainant was now hitting people from the restaurant. The Complainant was said to be outside the restaurant.
Video Footage – Business #1June 27, 2022 – Clip 1
The Complainant was captured entering the convenience store, his nose appeared to be bleeding. He held a cellular telephone in his right hand. There was blood on his shirt near his left shoulder. He held his left arm up, looking at his left wrist.
June 27, 2022 – Clip 2
Two NRPS vehicles arrived and parked outside the convenience store. Both police vehicles drove off out of camera view. An ambulance arrived and parked. The ambulance left the parking lot.
June 27, 2022 – Clip 3
The Complainant walked into the convenience store wearing shorts, and a shirt open halfway down his chest. He showed the cashier [now known to be CW #1] his left wrist. The left wrist appeared swollen and deformed.
Video Footage – Business #2The footage was of no investigative value.
Video Footage – Business #3The footage was of no investigative value.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the NRPS between July 4 and 7, 2022:
- Communications recordings;
- Computer-assisted Dispatch Reports (x2);
- General Occurrence Reports (x2);
- Notes- WO #1;
- Notes- WO #3;
- Notes- WO #2; and
- Notes- WO #4.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
- Video footage – Business #1;
- Video footage – Business #2;
- Video footage – Business #3; and
- Medical Records – St. Catharines General Hospital.
At about 12:45 a.m. of June 27, 2022, NRPS officers arrived at a restaurant on Lake Street, St. Catharines, following a call to police by the establishment’s owner, CW #2. CW #2 had contacted police to report a disturbance at his business being caused by the Complainant. The Complainant was said to be hitting other patrons of the restaurant.
The SO, the first officer at the scene, quickly confronted an obstreperous Complainant. The officer directed him to leave the premises, but the Complainant pulled away and continued to yell. Having managed to walk him to the rear driver’s side of his police cruiser, the SO searched the Complainant. As he did so, the officer felt what he believed was a pocketknife secured to the Complainant’s waistband, and sensed movement by the Complainant’s hand in that direction. Not wanting the Complainant to access the knife, the SO forced him to the ground by tripping him over his left leg.
The Complainant landed chest first and suffered a cut by his nose in the fall, and, possibly, other injuries.
On the ground, the SO was joined by WO #1. The two officers completed the search of the Complainant, and recovered a pocketknife from his waistband. The Complainant was handcuffed behind his back, stood up, and placed in the back seat of the SO’s cruiser. The Complainant was advised that he was under arrest for trespass.
The SO drove the Complainant to his home. The handcuffs were removed from the Complainant and he was released from custody having been served a provincial offence notice for the trespass infraction. The time was about 1:08 a.m.
About ten minutes later, the SO and WO #1 were dispatched to a convenience store, near the Complainant’s residence. Staff at the store had contacted police to report that a male – the Complainant – had entered the business with apparent injuries. Upon their arrival, the officers observed that the Complainant was more injured than he had appeared at the time of his release from custody. His left wrist was bruised and swollen, and he had blood on his shirt.
Paramedics were summoned to the scene and transported the Complainant to hospital. The Complainant was diagnosed with a fractured left wrist.
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.
By the time of the SO’s arrival at the restaurant, the Complainant had reportedly harassed persons at the establishment, refused to leave when directed, and assaulted at least one patron. Given what the SO knew of this conduct via the 911 call that had been made to police, and what he discerned firsthand of the Complainant’s behaviour on his arrival at the restaurant, I am satisfied that the officer was within his rights in detaining and eventually arresting the Complainant for a number of offences, including assault and trespass.
I am also satisfied that the force used by the SO, namely, a takedown, was legally justified. The officer was dealing with a combative individual who had just been involved in one or more physical confrontations. Having detected a pocketknife in the Complainant’s possession, the SO had a legitimate concern that it might be used as a weapon if it were accessed. It would appear that a takedown was a tactic reasonably available in the circumstances to prevent that contingency from materializing – once on the ground, the officer could expect to better manage any resistance by the Complainant, including possible attempts to retrieve and use the knife.
It remains unclear when precisely the Complainant injured his hand. There is a distinct possibility that it was broken in a physical altercation between the Complainant and a client of the restaurant ahead of the officers’ arrival at the establishment. That said, I accept the fracture might also have occurred in the takedown by the SO. In any event, 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 in this case. The file is closed.
Date: October 25, 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.