SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OCI-102


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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 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. 
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 of a 32-year-old woman (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On April 4, 2023, at 8:33 p.m., the Barrie Police Service (BPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.

At 3:39 p.m., the BPS received a call that the Complainant was running into traffic and pointing a battery-powered drill at nearby citizens. Upon the arrival of BPS and Crisis Outreach and Support Team officers, the Complainant was located and directed to put the drill down; she refused. One BPS officer discharged a conducted energy weapon (CEW) and the Complainant fell backwards onto a roadway, striking her head. The Complainant was transported to the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) where she was admitted for potential neurological injuries.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 04/04/2023 at 9:11 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 04/05/2023 at 6:30 a.m.

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

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

32-year-old female; not interviewed due to mental fitness; medical records obtained and reviewed

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed

The civilian witnesses were interviewed between April 6, 2023, and April 14, 2023.

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

The witness officials were interviewed on April 13, 2023.


The Scene

The events in question transpired on Dunlop Street East, Sampson Street and Berczy Street, Barrie.

Forensic Evidence

CEW Data – The SO

On April 10, 2023, the BPS provided the SIU with the data downloaded from the SO’s CEW.

The data indicated that on April 4, 2023, at 3:54:03 p.m., [2] the trigger was pulled and cartridge one was deployed generating an electrical discharge from the weapon of five seconds.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [3]

Body-worn Camera (BWC) Footage

The following is a summary of the footage captured from the BWCs of the SO, WO #2, and a sergeant.

On April 4, 2023, at 3:49 p.m., the SO and WO #2 arrived together on Dunlop Street East. The Complainant walked on Dunlop Street East towards Berczy Street. She had unknown items in her left hand. There was a power drill by her left elbow.

WO #2 approached the Complainant and asked what was going on. The Complainant alleged that a neighbour video-recorded and stared at her. The Complainant talked about peoples who were trying to get her, and that nobody had been arrested. The Complainant also said that she did not know what was going on with the police anymore. When WO #2 asked how they could help her, the Complainant complained that the SO had disrespected her by being in her space. The SO apologized.

The Complainant saw a RVH SUV parked on Dunlop Street East [containing WO #1 and a civilian mental health worker from the Mobile Crisis Response Team]. The Complainant began to walk towards Sampson Street and onto Dunlop Street East. WO #2 told her they only wanted to talk and the SO blocked her path. The Complainant said, “Wow, wow, wow,” and turned north onto Sampson Street. Again, WO #2 asked what was going on. The Complainant walked into the middle of Sampson Street, and told the officers to stay away from her and that, “I’ll punch this guy out.” The Complainant questioned why police were following her. The SO told her they just wanted to talk and asked her to sit down. The Complainant then spoke again about a neighbour who had been watching her and how she had been victimized.

The RVH SUV drove past the Complainant and parked along the curb. WO #1 got out and greeted the Complainant. In response, she walked past him and spoke of evidence on her phone of a family member being victimized, and that the neighbour was recording her. The Complainant then yelled for all the BPS officers to leave her alone.

At 3:51:32 p.m., as they reached the front of a residence on Sampson Street, WO #2 asked the SO what the game plan was because the Complainant was pointing the drill at people and walking around waving it in traffic. The SO replied, “I don’t know. De-escalate and take her to safety right now.” The SO spoke of stopping the Complainant from running into traffic on Collier Street and they continued to follow her.

At 3:52:20 p.m., the Complainant stopped, turned around and began to walk towards the SO and WO #2. The drill was in her right hand, and she asked if they wanted her to come at them. She then brought the drill above her head and the SO said, “No, drop that,” as he pulled out his CEW. The Complainant requested to be shot. The SO repeated, “Drop that, drop that,” and each command was ignored.

At 3:52:28 p.m., the Complainant yelled at the officer to stay away as she was told again to drop the drill. The Complainant stopped and walked backward as the SO walked towards her. Both officers directed her to drop the drill and she refused. The SO discharged his CEW, and the Complainant brought her arms across her chest and fell at a slight angle on her left side. The back of her head struck the road.

Both officers ran to the Complainant and WO #2 placed the drill aside. The Complainant repeatedly cried, “Help me!” She was turned onto to her stomach and her hands were handcuffed behind her back. She was then taken to the curb where they waited for paramedics.

WO #2 attempted to check the Complainant’s head and the Complainant yelled not to touch her. WO #2 told her that she was under arrest for pointing a weapon at officers.

A short time later, the Complainant was searched and placed in the rear of WO #1’s SUV.

The SO told the sergeant when he arrived that, “The Complainant was carrying a drill and not talking to us. Clearly going off on something. By the time we get here, we have to get her before she gets to Collier and hit by a car. We’re talking to her. Drill in hand and she starts coming at us, saying ‘come at me’.” [4]

WO #1 transported the Complainant to the RVH, and the SO and WO #2 returned to their cruiser. WO #2 said, “I really did not think that was how it was going to end,” and the SO replied, “I really did not think I was going to have to pull the trigger, but she wouldn’t put it down.”

911 Call

On April 4, 2023, at 3:38 p.m., CW #2 called 911. She was concerned for the Complainant, who was distraught and had lunged in front of a truck and other vehicles as they passed on the road. A description of the Complainant was provided, included her carrying a power drill in her hand. CW #2 stated that the Complainant had mental health issues and she wanted to make sure she was okay.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the BPS on April 6, 2023:
  • Arrest Report;
  • Occurrence Report;
  • List of all involved BPS officers;
  • Local NICHE Report for the Complainant;
  • Notebook Entries – WO #2;
  • Notebook Entries – WO #1;
  • BWC footage – the SO, WO #2, and a sergeant;
  • CEW data;
  • 911 call; and
  • Policy - Mental Illness, Emotionally Disturbed and Developmental Disability.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
  • The Complainant’s medical records from RVH, received on April 6, 2023.

Incident Narrative

The events in question, clear on the evidence collected by the SIU, may briefly be summarized. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

In the afternoon of April 4, 2023, BPS officers were dispatched to a residence on Dunlop Street East following a call to police. CW #2 had called to report a disturbance involving a woman – the Complainant. The Complainant was outside and behaving erratically. She was yelling at pedestrians and carrying a cordless drill.

The SO, with his partner, WO #2, arrived together on scene at about 3:50 p.m. They met with the Complainant on Dunlop Street East and quickly ascertained that she was of unsound mind. The Complainant refused to engage with the officers. She ranted and walked away from the officers northward on Sampson Street. The officers, now joined on scene by a mental health unit including WO #1, followed the Complainant at a distance, growing concerned as she neared a more heavily-trafficked roadway – Collier Street. They decided to apprehend her under the Mental Health Act for her own protection.
The Complainant had made it as far as Berczy Street when she turned around to confront the officers. With the drill now in her right hand, the Complainant walked towards the SO and threatened the officer with it. The SO ordered the Complainant to drop the drill and drew his CEW. The Complainant then moved towards WO #2, the drill still in hand, before she turned again towards the SO. She raised the drill and was struck with the probes of a CEW discharge. The Complainant’s body locked-up and she fell onto her left side, her head hitting the roadway.

The SO had fired the CEW. He and WO #2 quickly moved in, dispossessed the Complainant of the drill, and handcuffed her behind the back.

Following her arrest, the Complainant was transported to hospital in WO #1’s vehicle. She had sustained a left-sided basal skull 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.

Section 17, Mental Health Act -- Action by Police Officer

17 Where a police officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a person is acting or has acted in a disorderly manner and has reasonable cause to believe that the person,

(a) has threatened or attempted or is threatening or attempting to cause bodily harm to himself or herself;
(b) has behaved or is behaving violently towards another person or has caused or is causing another person to fear bodily harm from him or her; or
(c) has shown or is showing a lack of competence to care for himself or herself,
and in addition the police officer is of the opinion that the person is apparently suffering from mental disorder of a nature or quality that likely will result in,
(d) serious bodily harm to the person;
(e) serious bodily harm to another person; or
(f) serious physical impairment of the person,
and that it would be dangerous to proceed under section 16, the police officer may take the person in custody to an appropriate place for examination by a physician.

Analysis and Director's Decision

The Complainant was seriously injured in the course of her arrest by BPS officers on April 4, 2023. One of the officers – the SO – was identified as the subject official in the ensuing SIU investigation of the incident. 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 arrest and 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.

The Complainant was of unsound mind at the time and her behaviour – walking in the middle of the street and brandishing a drill at the officers – was placing her safety and the safety of others at risk. On this record, I am satisfied that the SO was within his rights in seeking to arrest the Complainant under section 17 of the Mental Health Act.

I am also satisfied that the force used by the SO, namely, the discharge of his CEW, was legally justified. The Complainant was in possession of a drill with a drill bit in the chuck – a tool capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm and death – and she had threatened to use it against the officers. In the circumstances, engaging the Complainant physically carried a real risk of injury to the officers and the Complainant. The officers might have considered the use of their pepper spray to temporarily incapacitate the Complainant. Indeed, the evidence indicates that the thought did cross WO #2’s mind. However, she reasoned, reasonably in my view, that the use of the spray might not be effective given the Complainant’s level of agitation. On the other hand, while it too carried with it some risk, which regrettably was realized when she fell and fractured her skull, the use of the CEW had the potential of briefly neutralizing the Complainant from a safe distance so she could be disarmed and taken into custody without serious injury. Given this matrix of considerations, I am unable to conclude that the SO acted unreasonably when he resorted to his CEW. Of note, at the time the officer discharged his weapon, there was a real need to do so; the Complainant was within metres of the officers and in the process of raising the drill.

For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO comported himself other than within the limits of the criminal law in his dealings with the Complainant. As such, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges. The file is closed.

Date: August 2, 2023

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) The information in this section reflects the information received by the SIU at the time of notification and does not necessarily reflect the SIU’s finding of facts following its investigation. [Back to text]
  • 2) The time is derived from the internal clock of the weapon, and is not necessarily synchronous with actual time. [Back to text]
  • 3) 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]
  • 4) The sergeant’s BWC was turned off at that point [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.