SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OCI-390
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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 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.
- 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 of a 37-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIU On September 21, 2023, at 12:30 p.m., the London Police Service (LPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.
On September 10, 2023, at 11:30 p.m., the LPS received a call from the Complainant requesting a wellness check be done on his daughter who was staying at his ex-wife’s residence. As the Complainant had called 911 on 31 occasions, two LPS officers were dispatched to his residence and met him outside. The SO arrived as the Complainant walked away, and the two shook hands. The Complainant alleged that the SO tightly gripped his right hand and pulled him to within five centimetres of his face. His hand was eventually released, and the Complainant was cautioned for misuse of the 911 system. On September 11, 2023, at approximately 1:30 a.m., the Complainant called Emergency Medical Services because of pain to his right hand. He was taken to the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) Victoria Hospital, where he remained until 2:00 p.m. The Complainant had not been diagnosed with any injury at that time. On September 12, 2023, at 9:00 a.m., the Complainant reported that he had received a call from the hospital and asked to return as his right hand was fractured. The Complainant was told that two fingers in his right hand were broken, and a cast was fitted that spanned from his hand to his elbow. The Complainant alleged that his injury was the result of the handshake with the SO.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 09/22/2023 at 5:55 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 09/22/2023 at 8:00 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):37-year-old male; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on September 22, 2023.
Subject OfficialSO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
The subject official was interviewed on October 26, 2023.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed; notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Interviewed; notes received and reviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on September 28, 2023.
The Scene The events in question transpired out front of a residential building in the area of Wharncliffe Road South and Commissioners Road West, London.
Expert Evidence On October 30, 2023, a medical expert was engaged by the SIU to review the radiology and CT scans of the Complainant to provide insight into the method of injury.
On December 5, 2023, the medical expert advised the Complainant’s fracture was a non-displaced intra-articular fracture of the proximal 5th metacarpal bone [bone in the hand just proximal to the pinky finger]. The fracture was not one that the medical expert would describe as a boxer’s fracture, which was a fairly common fracture, well-described in the literature, that occurs as a result of axial loading on the 5th [pinky] knuckle during a closed-fist strike onto a firm or unyielding surface. This was not a boxer’s fracture.
Unfortunately, there was not much literature on proximal 5th metacarpal fractures [at least, not on their mechanism]. The medical expert could not find any reliable literature on handshake-related hand fractures.
Typically, fractures are caused by a direct blow/blunt impact. There are, however, a number of ligaments in the area and one can at least imagine a scenario where forceful squeezing of the hand might apply tension to a ligament with resultant fracture.
The medical expert could not say if the fracture was caused by a handshake. Based on anatomical first principals, the medical expert could not exclude it.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
Review of Video and Stills Submitted by the ComplainantStill Image Provided by the Complainant
The Complainant submitted a still image to the SIU on September 27, 2023. The image depicted WO #1 and WO #2 in a hallway speaking to a woman believed to be the Complainant’s ex-wife. The photograph was believed to have been taken by the Complainant’s daughter.
Video Taken by the Complainant
The video was submitted at the same time as the still image. Two LPS cruisers were captured arriving at the front of the Complainant’s residence with no lights or siren. WO #1 confirmed they were speaking to the Complainant, and he confirmed his name. The Complainant said he wanted to see the faces of the officers. WO #1 tried to caution the Complainant for abuse of the 911 system, but the Complainant walked away and said he was leaving. WO #1 moved to block his path and the Complainant yelled, “Don’t touch me.” WO #1 again tried to caution the Complainant, but he just walked away. There was no contact between the LPS officers and the Complainant.
Communications Recordings and Incident Details ReportThe recordings captured 31 calls to 911 from the Complainant, one call from the SO, 14 dispatch recordings, two non-emergency calls, and one call from LPS to ambulance dispatch.
There were multiple repetitive calls from the Complainant wanting police to urgently attend his ex-wife’s residence to check on the well-being of his daughter. He made allegations against his ex-wife. He argued with the dispatcher on every call, demanding to know their name so he knew who to file a complaint against. The Complainant threatened to wait outside LPS to see the dispatcher leave and get her licence plate. He referred to each dispatcher in a derogatory manner, on one call saying, “Are you just fucking stupid or just fucking blonde?” The Complainant was cautioned not to swear at the dispatch operators but stated it was his right to do so under freedom of speech legislation.
Still unhappy with LPS not responding in the time he wanted them to, he said he would call the fire department and then see who got there first, calling it a Pizza Hut vs. Dominos test.
He then wanted the LPS officers’ names and badge numbers and demanded they attend his residence.
The Complainant later called and indicated that he had been assaulted during a handshake by the SO.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from LPS between September 26, 2023, and October 4, 2023:
- Incident Details Report;
- Communications recordings;
- Notes – WO #1;
- Notes – WO #2; and
- General Occurrence Report.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained the following records from other sources:
- The Complainant’s medical records from LHSC Victoria Hospital, received September 28, 2023;
- Images the Complainant took of his right hand, received September 21, 2023;
- Cellular telephone video taken by the Complainant, received September 27, 2023; and
- A still image taken by the Complainant, received September 27, 2023.
In the early morning hours of September 11, 2023, WO #1 and WO #2 arrived outside the Complainant’s home in the area of Wharncliffe Road South and Commissioners Road West, London, to speak to the Complainant. The officers were there to caution the Complainant about misusing the 911 emergency call system. The Complainant had placed 31 calls to 911 in connection with a welfare check he had requested with respect to his young daughter, who was staying with her mother. The police had conducted a check and determined that she was okay. The Complainant had not been satisfied with that assessment. WO #1 spoke to the Complainant beside the building’s front door and warned him he would be arrested for ‘mischief’ if he persisted with the 911 calls.
The Complainant had walked away from WO #1 when the SO, who had been asked to attend the scene by WO #1, arrived. He approached the Complainant and the two shook hands. In the course of the handshake, the SO again cautioned the Complainant and asked whether he understood. The Complainant replied he did and the handshake ended.
The police took their leave and the Complainant returned to his apartment. A short time later, the Complainant called for paramedics complaining of pain in his right hand. An ambulance arrived and transported him to hospital where he was eventually diagnosed with a fractured knuckle of the right small finger.
Analysis and Director's Decision
There is a body of evidence in which it is alleged that the SO squeezed the Complainant’s hand so tightly during the handshake that he is responsible for his fractured right hand. According to this evidence, the Complainant had to ask the officer to release his grip when he began to feel pain. The SO concedes that he shook the Complainant’s hand firmly, but denies that he tried to hurt the Complainant or used excessive force. It was a type of handshake, says the officer, that he had been in the habit of giving before. The SO denies that the Complainant ever complained of pain or asked that he release his grip. WO #1 and WO #2, present at the time, described the handshake as assertive but not abusive. Neither heard the Complainant call-out in pain or ask the SO to release his hand.
The medical evidence was also equivocal. While it does not appear that a forceful handshake could be excluded as the mechanism of injury, the pathologist asked to review the matter could not ascribe the injury to a handshake.
On the aforementioned-record, I am not satisfied the evidence of excessive force is sufficiently cogent to warrant being put to the test by a court. As such, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.
Date: January 17, 2024
Electronically approved by
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.