SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OCI-114


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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 24-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On April 17, 2023, at 9:00 a.m., the Complainant reported to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) an incident in which he was involved with the Windsor Police Service (WPS) on February 25, 2023, at about 8:30 p.m. The Complainant said he was stopped at a red traffic control signal on Wyandotte Street at Ouellette Avenue before he entered the intersection when the light turned green. While in the intersection, his vehicle was struck by a grey sedan that disobeyed the red traffic control signal and collided with two vehicles while being pursued by police. The Complainant blacked out for 10 to 15 seconds while his girlfriend, who was in the front the passenger seat, was fine. The Complainant said he sustained a concussion during his subsequent interaction with the police officers.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 04/17/2023 at 10:16 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 04/18/2023 at 8:43 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

24-year-old male; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on April 24, 2023.

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

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

The civilian witnesses were interviewed between April 24, 2023, and May 15, 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
WO #3 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed between May 2, 2023, and May 5, 2023.


The Scene

This incident was reported to the SIU over a month after it occurred. As such, there was no scene for examination.

The incident occurred in the intersection of Ouellette Avenue and Wyandotte Street in Windsor. The area was an asphalt paved road with concrete curbs and sidewalks in the urban core of the city. The intersection was controlled with traffic control signals with full motion colour video surveillance cameras mounted around the intersection.

As evidenced by the traffic camera video recordings, the weather at the time of the incident was dry and clear.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [2]

On April 18, 2023, the WPS advised the SIU that WPS was not equipped with in-car or body-worn camera equipment.

City of Windsor Traffic Camera Recordings

WPS released to the SIU video recordings from the City of Windsor traffic cameras. The recording from a camera viewing the intersection of Ouellette Avenue and Wyandotte Street captured the incident and the police officers’ interaction with the Complainant.

At 8:04:06 p.m. on the recording, emergency lights, now known to have been from the SO’s cruiser, became visible as the cruiser drove south on Ouellette Avenue. About five seconds later, a vehicle was seen re-directing to its left to pass another southbound vehicle. By this time, the SO’s emergency lighting was deactivated.

After the suspect vehicle collided with the southbound vehicle, now known to have been a male civilian’s vehicle, it continued south in the oncoming lane. It entered the intersection with Wyandotte Street while disobeying the red traffic control signal. At 8:04:21 p.m., it collided with the vehicle operated by the Complainant.

The Complainant’s vehicle drove forward about one vehicle length as it was redirected to the right, less than 45 degrees clockwise. The vehicle brake lights were activated when it came to a stop about two seconds after the impact. The vehicle then moved forward about four seconds later and the Complainant’s door opened about six seconds after the car came to a stop.

Alternate camera views revealed the suspect vehicle fled and did not slow or stop anywhere near the intersection.

The Complainant walked north towards the SO’s cruiser. He approached the vehicle and appeared to have exchanged words with the SO.

The Complainant then walked south and stopped to speak to the driver of a pink vehicle, now known to have been CW #1.

The SO drove to the intersection and stopped. While WO #1 exited the car, the SO remained in the vehicle, reversing a short distance before stopping the cruiser.

The Complainant moved about the roadway, seemingly agitated and animated as he spoke to the police officers. After appearing to have said something to the SO and WO #1, who were in their cruiser, the SO exited the cruiser and approached the Complainant while pointing his finger at him. WO #3 arrived at the scene at this time.

At around 8:12:25 p.m., WO #3 was standing by the driver door, appearing to speak to the Complainant, who was seated in the driver seat, while the SO donned gloves.

At 8:12:32 p.m., the SO opened the Complainant’s door, reached in, and pulled the Complainant out of the car.

At 8:12:46 p.m., the Complainant was positioned with his chest against the car’s left rear door with the SO standing to his left rear and WO #3 at his right. While the SO appeared to be reaching for handcuffs, the Complainant turned his head to the left and appeared to be saying something to him. Both police officers reacted abruptly, moving the Complainant towards the open driver door as the SO grabbed the back right side of the Complainant’s head with his left hand. At 8:12:58 p.m., it appeared the Complainant’s head struck the roof of the car.

By that time, WO #1 had left the scene, having walked north to the male civilian’s vehicle. WO #2 was walking towards the scene from the west side of the intersection.

After the Complainant was held by the driver door, he was moved to the back of his car and positioned over the trunk where he was handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

At 8:16 p.m., WO #3 escorted the Complainant to his cruiser. After the three police officers spoke to the Complainant at various times, at 8:25 p.m., the SO removed the handcuffs.

In the remainder of the recording, the police officers and the Complainant appeared to interact calmly before they all drove out of the field of view at 8:38 p.m.

Communications Recordings

In the recording related to this incident, the SO reported, “We just had a car, we’re just behind it at Tecumseh and Ouellette. It took off. Went right through the red light and it just hit another car. It’s gone.”

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the WPS between April 18, 2023, and May 5, 2023:
  • Communications recordings;
  • Policy - Suspect Apprehension Pursuits;
  • Record of computer-assisted dispatch;;
  • Civilian Witness List;
  • Involved Officers List;
  • Notes-WO #1;
  • Notes-WO #3;
  • Notes-WO #2;
  • City of Windsor traffic camera recordings;
  • Witness statements; and
  • Supervisory Report - WO #2.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
  • Medical records from Windsor Regional Hospital, received May 2, 2023; and
  • Medical records from CW #3, received on May 4, 2023.
On Wednesday, April 12, 2023, the Complainant sent the SIU a copy of the statement he provided his insurance company and an unsigned statement detailing the incident.

Incident Narrative

The material events in question, clear on the evidence collected by the SIU, may briefly be summarized. The incident was captured on video footage.

In the evening of February 25, 2023, the Complainant was operating a motor vehicle west on Wyandotte Street. He was proceeding through a green light at the intersection of Ouellette Avenue when his vehicle’s rear was struck by a southward vehicle travelling through a red light in the northbound lane. The Complainant’s vehicle spun slightly clockwise as a result of the impact, and eventually came to rest facing northwest in the intersection. The other vehicle fled the scene.

Moments prior to the collision, the SO was operating a police cruiser south on Ouellette Avenue approaching Wyandotte Street. With him in the front passenger seat was WO #1. They were following a vehicle intending to stop it for a traffic infraction when the vehicle accelerated away, striking another southbound vehicle in the process. Seconds later, that same vehicle struck the Complainant’s car.

The Complainant exited his vehicle following the collision and, spotting the officers’ cruiser north of the intersection, shouted at the officers to pursue the driver of the vehicle that had struck him. Frustrated by what he perceived to be their inaction, the Complainant then rushed at the cruiser and yelled at the SO though the driver’s door. The SO maneuvered his cruiser into the intersection in front of the Complainant’s vehicle and the Complainant followed him there on foot, gesticulating angrily. Standing by his open driver’s door, the Complainant continued to remonstrate with the officers. Asked to remove his vehicle from the intersection, the Complainant refused.

WO #3 arrived on scene and attempted to defuse the situation. At the officer’s request, the Complainant took a seat in his vehicle. However, when asked to provide his vehicle documentation, the Complainant adamantly declined to do so.

At about 8:12 p.m., the SO approached the driver’s door of the Complainant’s vehicle and told him he was under arrest for failing to identify himself. The officer reached into the driver’s compartment, pulled a resistant Complainant out, and forced him front-first against the rear driver’s side of the vehicle. WO #3 intervened and took hold of the Complainant’s right side as the SO placed the Complainant’s left arm behind his back. When the Complainant turned his head back to look at the SO, the officer shoved his head back towards the roof of the car and then repositioned him front-first against the interior of the open driver’s door. In that position, the Complainant’s arms were handcuffed to the back.

The Complainant declined WO #3’s offer of an ambulance and was released unconditionally at the scene.

The Complainant subsequently sought medical treatment and was diagnosed with a concussion.

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 33(3), Highway Traffic Act, Identification on Failure to Surrender Licence

33 (3) Every person who is unable or refuses to surrender his or her licence in accordance with subsection (1) or (2) shall, when requested by a police officer or officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of this Act, give reasonable identification of himself or herself and, for the purposes of this subsection, the correct name and address of the person shall be deemed to be reasonable identification.

Section 217(2), Highway Traffic Act, Arrests Without Warrant

217 (2) Any police officer who, on reasonable and probable grounds, believes that a contravention of any of the provisions of subsection 9 (1), subsection 12 (1), subsection 13 (1), subsection 33 (3), subsection 47 (5), (6), (7) or (8), section 51, 53, subsection 106 (8.2), section 130, 172 or 184, subsection 185 (3), clause 200 (1) (a) or subsection 216 (1) has been committed, may arrest, without warrant, the person he or she believes committed the contravention.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On April 17, 2023, the Complainant contacted the SIU to report that he had suffered a serious injury in the course of his arrest by a WPS officer – the SO – on February 25, 2023. The SIU initiated an investigation, naming the SO the subject official. 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 SO was within his rights in seeking to take the Complainant into custody. The Complainant had been involved in a motor vehicle collision, was refusing to remove his vehicle from the intersection as directed, and failed to provide his vehicle documentation or identify himself when asked, rendering him subject to arrest pursuant to sections 33(3) and 217(2) of the Highway Traffic Act.

With respect to the force used by the SO in aid of the Complainant’s arrest, I am satisfied that it was legally justified. The forcible extrication from the vehicle was necessary given the Complainant’s refusal to exit voluntarily. And the shove to the head onto the roof of the car seemed a proportionate reaction to the Complainant’s turn towards the officer. Given the Complainant’s belligerence throughout his dealings with the SO, that action would reasonably have been interpreted as one of defiance and a possible prelude to further resistance. In the circumstances, the officer was entitled to redirect the Complainant’s head away from him, and he did so with minimal to moderate force.

In the result, whether the Complainant suffered a concussion at the hands of the SO, there are no reasonable grounds to conclude that the officer comported himself other than lawfully throughout their dealings. As such, there is no basis for criminal charges. The file is closed.

Date: August 15, 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 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.