SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-PCI-190


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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 a serious injury sustained by a 59-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On May 19, 2023, at 5:40 p.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) contacted the SIU with the following information.

On May 17, 2023, at approximately 10:10 a.m., OPP received a phone call to assist Emergency Medical Services (EMS) with an ambulance call for service that they were attending. Civilian Witness (CW) #1 had called EMS stating that the Complainant was having a mental health crisis. OPP officers arrived and formed grounds to apprehend the Complainant under the Mental Health Act (MHA). They struggled with applying the handcuffs. The Complainant was eventually restrained and taken to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVRHC) in Barrie. Further officers were dispatched to RVRHC to assist in restraining the Complainant. The Complainant was eventually sedated, and officers cleared the hospital. On May 19, 2023, at 12:47p.m., the Complainant attended the Huronia Detachment of the OPP and disclosed that he had a broken left wrist (casted) and was having a cast put on the other arm next Tuesday. He reported that the injuries occurred during his apprehension by police.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 05/19/2023 at 7:04 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 05/23/2023 at 9:07 a.m.

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

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

59-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on May 23, 2023.

Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed

The civilian witnesses were interviewed between May 23, 2023, and July 4, 2023.

Subject Officials

SO #1 Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right; notes received and reviewed
SO #2 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right

Witness Officials

WO Interviewed

The witness official was interviewed on June 18, 2023.


The Scene

On May 24, 2023, SIU investigators visited the Complainant and observed the scene.

The scene was a residence in New Lowell.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [2]

Cell Phone Video Footage – CW #1

CW #1 recorded three short cell phone videos.

Video 1

This video was taken from the side of the residence. It captured the Complainant on the ground struggling with SO #1, the WO and SO #2. A paramedic, CW #2, was holding the Complainant’s feet. The officers were directing the Complainant to give them his right hand while he was face down on the ground. The officers were over and around the Complainant attempting to wrestle control of his arms behind his back. CW #1 told the police officers to stop hurting the Complainant while they were attempting to arrest him.

Video 2

This was of no evidentiary value. It simply captured the ground in front of CW #1.

Video 3

This video captured the Complainant on his stomach and handcuffed. The three police officers turned the Complainant onto his back, after which the video ends.

Communications Recordings

The following summary is of pertinent communications captured by police on May 17, 2023.

Audio 1

The audio recording captured an EMS dispatcher advising a 911 call-taker that they were attending an address for a possible overdose. EMS advised a male was involved in a domestic dispute, was known to be violent, and had said he was going to be leaving in one of his vehicles. A description of the vehicles was provided.

The 911 call-taker and EMS dispatcher discussed a call from a female party in which she said she had told a male to take five pills. The male said that he and the female were done, and first responders needed to leave.

The EMS dispatcher advised they were seven minutes away.

Audio 2

The audio recording captured a 911 call-taker advising the Emergency Department of RVRHC that they were on their way with a male who was involved in an incident with police. The male was uncooperative and known to be violent, and had possibly overdosed on medication.

Audio 3

The audio recording captured a discussion between a dispatcher and two police units. The dispatcher provided information consistent with Audio 1 and a police unit requested they run the involved address. The dispatcher confirmed that there were no flags associated with the address and that a male party associated with the address had a caution for “V” [believed to mean ‘violence’].

The remainder of the call involved discussion about police units arriving and the Complainant being seen by EMS before being transported to RVRHC. A police unit described the male as being “in some kind of hypnotic state” and said he was being uncooperative.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained the following records from the OPP Huronia West Detachment:
  • Notes – the WO;
  • Notes – SO #1; and
  • Communications recordings.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained the following records from the following other sources:
  • The Complainant’s medical records from RVRHC;
  • Ambulance Call Report from County of Simcoe Paramedic Services; and
  • Cell phone video from CW #1.

Incident Narrative

The evidence collected by the SIU, including interviews with the Complainant and a police and civilian witness to the events in question, and video footage that captured the incident in part, gives rise to the following scenario. As was their legal right, neither SO #1 nor SO #2 agreed an interview with the SIU. SO #1 did authorize the release of his notes.

In the morning of May 17, 2023, paramedics and police officers attended at a residence in New Lowell to check on the Complainant’s well-being. CW #1 had called 911 to report that the Complainant had consumed medication and was thinking of operating a vehicle. The call had been received by the ambulance service, but, as there was reason to believe there was a domestic disturbance ongoing at the residence – there was screaming heard over the 911 call – police had been asked to attend as well.

The Complainant told the police officers and paramedics to get off the property when they arrived. The paramedics returned to their ambulance, but the officers – SO #1 and SO #2, as well as the WO – remained. The WO spoke with CW #1 to ensure she was alright. Assured by CW #1 that there had been no assault, the officer returned to assist SO #1 and SO #2 in dealing with the Complainant.

The officers spoke to the Complainant and informed him that they would be arresting him under the Mental Health Act. The Complainant objected to his pending arrest. Grabbed by SO #1 and SO #2, he pulled free and adopted a fighting stance. The officers told the Complainant they were there to help him, but he could not be assuaged. In his agitation, the Complainant fell, landing on his back on the lawn in front of the home.

SO #1, SO #2 and the WO approached the Complainant on the ground and engaged him physically. The Complainant struggled against the officers, at one point tripping SO #1 to the ground and attempting to squeeze his groin. The officer reacted with three punches to the Complainant’s torso. The Complainant also flailed his feet, and struck the left side of the WO’s head. With the help of one of the paramedics, who had returned to assist, the officers were eventually able to subdue the Complainant and handcuff him behind the back.
The Complainant was transported to hospital in ambulance where he was diagnosed with a fractured right wrist. [3]

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 his arrest by OPP officers on May 17, 2023. In the ensuing SIU investigation of the incident, two of the arresting officers – SO #1 and SO #2 – were identified as subject officials. The investigation is now concluded. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either subject official 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.

By the time they announced the Complainant was to be arrested, the police officers had reasonable cause to be concerned that he was a threat to himself and others because of mental disorder. They had heard him speak of suicide, knew he had a mental health diagnosis, were aware that he had quarreled with CW #1 and consumed an overdose of his medication, and were alerted to the possibility that he might drive. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that the Complainant was subject to apprehension under section 17 of the Mental Health Act.

With respect to the force used by the officers in aid of the Complainant’s arrest, I am also satisfied that it was legally justified. When the Complainant tripped SO #1 and tried to squeeze him in the area of the groin, the officer was entitled to resort to a measure of force to defend himself. The three punches he delivered to the Complainant’s torso would not appear excessive – they were of like kind to the manual aggression exhibited by the Complainant and not disproportionate on their face. Other than that, the officers resorted to their brute strength in wrestling control of the Complainant’s arms behind his back; no further strikes of any kind were administered. Here, too, the force in question appears commensurate to the Complainant’s resistance. He was prone on the ground refusing to surrender his arms to be handcuffed, leaving the officers little option but to attempt to force them free.

It remains unclear when precisely the Complainant fractured his right wrist. Aside from the altercation with police, it is possible the Complainant was injured when he fell onto the grass, which fall appears to have been of his own doing. Be that as it may, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either subject official comported himself other than within the limits of the criminal law, there is no basis for proceeding with charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: September 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]
  • 3) The Complainant was also diagnosed with mild first carpometacarpal degenerative osteoarthritis in connection with the left hand. As this was not an acute injury, it would not have been caused in the interaction with the police. [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.