SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-PCI-252


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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 injuries of a 21-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On July 4, 2023, at 8:55 a.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Middlesex Detachment contacted the SIU with the following information.
On July 3, 2023, at 7:05 p.m., the driver of a GMC Terrain SUV [the Complainant] was observed to jump out of the vehicle while it was in motion in the Town of Lakeshore. OPP officers with the Lakeshore Detachment located the Complainant a short distance away and the Subject Official (SO) attempted to speak with him while in a residential neighbourhood. The Complainant was agitated and ran at the officer as she sat within her marked cruiser. The Complainant dislodged the SO’s C8 rifle that was situated across her torso and then fled towards several homes in the vicinity. A search of the area was undertaken and, a short time later, the Complainant was located in the Belle River. At that time, he was found to have suffered a significant self-inflicted neck wound. He was found not in possession of the C8 rifle he had taken from the SO. OPP officers brought the Complainant out of the river and life-saving measures were undertaken. He was transported to the Windsor Regional Hospital – Ouellette Campus (WRHOC) via Emergency Medical Services (EMS) where surgical intervention was required to close his neck injury. The SO’s C8 rifle was later recovered. It had not been discharged and no member of the community was injured.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 07/04/2023 8:55 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 07/04/2023 11:00 a.m.

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

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

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

The Complainant was interviewed on July 26, 2023.

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed
CW #6 Interviewed
CW #7 Interviewed
CW #8 Interviewed

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

Subject Officials (SO)

SO Interviewed; notes received and reviewed

The subject official was interviewed on July 26, 2023.

Witness Officials (WO)

WO #1 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #2 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #3 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #6 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on July 12, 2023, and July 19, 2023.


The Scene

The events in question transpired on and around the premises of an address on Diesbourg Boulevard, Lakeshore.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [2]

ICCS Footage – WO #6

On July 3, 2023, starting at about 7:07 p.m., WO #6 was captured examining a vehicle at Notre Dame Street, Lakeshore. The vehicle was later determined to be registered to the Complainant.
Starting at about 7:07:54 p.m., WO #6 turned south on West Belle River Road. The Complainant was seen wearing a white T-shirt as he ran towards Charron Street.

Starting at about 7:09:17 p.m., information was provided by an OPP communicator that, "Nobody saw a gun, but somebody yelled he did, so lets take precautions." WO #6 stated on his police radio that his hands looked empty when he saw the Complainant, but he could not be sure if he had anything in his waistband.

Starting at about 7:10:36 p.m., the Complainant ran to Diesbourg Boulevard.

Starting at about 7:10:49 p.m., WO #6 reported the Complainant was holding his left hand near his waistband, but he did not know what he possessed.
Starting at about 7:10:57 p.m., WO #6 was passed by an OPP Ford Taurus cruiser [driven by the SO], which stopped on the front lawn at an address on Diesbourg Boulevard.

Starting at about 7:11:06 p.m., the SO exited her cruiser with a C8 rifle and stood at the driver's door. WO #6 reversed and advised that the Complainant was in the garage with something in his hand. The Complainant exited and ran west. The SO got back into her cruiser.

Starting at about 7:11:21 p.m., WO #6 turned around and observed the Complainant running north on Diesbourg Boulevard.
Starting at about 7:11:33 p.m., WO #6 reversed. The roof lights were activated on the SO's cruiser, and the Complainant was captured running to the driver's window and reaching in.
Starting at about 7:11:43 p.m., the Complainant had the SO's C8 after pulling it out of her driver's window. The Complainant ran south. There was no blood or staining on the front of his T-shirt.

Starting at about 7:11:58 p.m., WO #6 turned around and directed the SO to leave the area. They both then met in the parking lot of the Lakeshore Detachment.

Cell Phone Footage – Civilian

On July 12, 2023, SIU investigators were provided a copy of a cell phone video recorded from Lalonde Street South. The video was taken from the east side of the Belle River and captured four OPP officers as they interacted with the Complainant, who was in the river.
Two OPP officers were seen wearing baseball hats – WO #4 and WO #5. WO #5 expanded his ASP baton and extended it to the Complainant, while WO #4 attempted to cut a tire from a boat slip. The two other officers began to remove their uniforms in preparation to enter the water as the Complainant was directed to swim towards the shore.
The Complainant began to move towards the officers and WO #5 reached out his ASP baton to pull him ashore. The Complainant was then removed from the water and the officers were heard giving commands for him to put his hands behind his back. The Complainant appeared to struggle and was then handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Between July 4, 2023, and July 10, 2023, the SIU obtained the following records from the OPP:
  • General Occurrence Report
  • Supplementary Report;
  • Communications recordings;
  • Record of computer-assisted dispatch;
  • Civilian Witness List;
  • ICCS footage – WO #6
  • GPS data for the SO’s Cruiser
  • Notebook entries of WOs;
  • OPP Policy – Use of Force; and
  • OPP Policy – Mental Health Occurrences/Persons in Crisis.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

Between July 6, 2023, and July 10, 2023, the SIU received the following records from the following sources:
  • The Complainant’s medical records from the Windsor Regional Hospital – Ouellette Campus;
  • Essex EMS records; and
  • Cell phone video footage from a civilian witness.

Incident Narrative

The evidence gathered by the SIU, including interviews with the Complainant and the SO, and video footage that captured the incident in parts, gives rise to the following scenario.

In the evening of the day in question, OPP officers were dispatched from the Lakeshore Detachment following reports of a motor vehicle collision on Notre Dame Street. The male driver had reportedly exited a moving vehicle before it collided with a building. Further 911 calls were received from residents on and west of West Belle River Road about a male trespassing onto properties and holding something in his hands. There was talk in subsequent police radio transmissions about the male possibly being armed with a gun.

The male in question was the Complainant. The Complainant was of unsound mind at the time.

The SO was among the officers who set about trying to find the Complainant. She located him at an address on Diesbourg Boulevard. The Complainant was in the garage. The officer exited her cruiser and confronted the Complainant with a C8 rifle in hand. The Complainant ran away from the officer towards Maplewood Drive before he quickly reversed course and headed towards the SO, who had re-entered her cruiser. The Complainant proceeded to jab at the SO’s left arm with a screwdriver through the open driver’s door window, after which the two struggled for possession of the C8 rifle. The Complainant was able to take control of the weapon and flee with it southwards.

The Complainant discarded the rifle at an address on St. Pierre Street before he continued to several properties on West Belle River Road. In the garage of one of those properties, the Complainant found a knife and used it to cut himself across the neck and the left side of his torso. Thereafter, he made his way into the Belle River from the rear of a different West Belle River Road property.

Police officers located the Complainant in the river and from the shoreline encouraged him to return to land. A flotation device was thrown to the Complainant, who used it to swim ashore. The Complainant had suffered serious wounds. Officers administered emergency first-aid at the scene, as did paramedics upon their arrival.

The Complainant was transported to hospital and treated for lacerations to the neck and a puncture wound to the left upper abdomen.

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.

Sections 219 and 221, Criminal Code -- Criminal Negligence Causing Bodily Harm

219 (1) Every one is criminally negligent who
(a) in doing anything, or
(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

(2) For the purposes of this section, duty means a duty imposed by law.

221 Every one who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years

Analysis and Director's Decision

The Complainant was seriously injured with self-inflicted wounds on July 3, 2023. As he was being pursued by OPP officers at the time, the SIU was notified of the incident and initiated an investigation. The SO was identified as 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 injuries.

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 in the lawful execution of her duties when she confronted the Complainant at gunpoint. The Complainant was subject to arrest for having jumped from a moving vehicle for no apparent reason, placing the lives and safety of other persons at risk. He had also reportedly trespassed onto private properties.

The officer’s use of force was legally justified. The SO had reason to believe that the Complainant might be in possession of a firearm. It made sense that she would want to confront him with a firearm of her own in the event he was armed. Thereafter, when the Complainant attacked the SO in her vehicle and tried to take her rifle, the officer was within her rights in defending herself and defending her control of the weapon.

Aside from the SO’s engagement with the Complainant, I am also satisfied that there is no evidence of any want of care on the part of other officers contributing to the Complainant’s injuries. The offence that arises for consideration in this regard is criminal negligence causing bodily harm contrary to section 221 of the Criminal Code. The offence is reserved for serious cases of neglect that demonstrate a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. It is predicated, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked and substantial departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances.

On the accounts collected by the SIU, it would appear that the police acted expeditiously to find the Complainant and arrange for immediate emergency care. When he was located several metres offshore in the Belle River, officers played an instrumental role in his safe return to land and then promptly performed emergency first-aid while they waited for paramedics. Their interventions might well have played an important role in saving the Complainant’s life.

In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO or any other officer either used excessive force against the Complainant or transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in their dealings with him, there is no basis for proceeding with charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: October 31, 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.