SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OCI-395


This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.

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 51-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On September 26, 2023, at 7:20 p.m., the St. Thomas Police Service (STPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.

On September 26, 2023, around noon, the Complainant entered the STPS police station to file a harassment complaint. He waited a while in the lobby of the STPS station where he was rude to staff and subsequently left the STPS station a short time later. The Complainant had a suspended driver’s licence and the STPS communicator observed him drive away. Shortly thereafter, Witness Official (WO) #1 conducted a traffic stop of the Complainant, who refused to provide his driver’s licence or identification. A second police officer [the Subject Official (SO)] arrived to assist. The Complainant was informed that he was under arrest under the authority of the Highway Traffic Act. The Complainant became combative, and a struggle ensued. At 12:40 p.m., the Complainant was arrested and secured in handcuffs. He had a bloody nose and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were called. The Complainant was transported to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH), where he was diagnosed with a non-displaced nasal fracture.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 2023/09/27 at 10:25 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 2023/09/27 at 12:03 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

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

The Complainant was interviewed on October 4, 2023.

Civilian Witness (CW)

CW Interviewed

The civilian witness was interviewed on October 17, 2023.

Subject Official

SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed; notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Interviewed; notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Not interviewed; notes reviewed and interview deemed not necessary
WO #4 Not interviewed; notes reviewed and interview deemed not necessary
WO #5 Not interviewed; notes reviewed and interview deemed not necessary
WO #6 Not interviewed; notes reviewed and interview deemed not necessary

The witness officials were interviewed on October 13, 2023.


The Scene

The events in question transpired on and around the south sidewalk in front of a house on Forest Avenue, St. Thomas.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [2]

Body-worn Camera (BWC) Footage – WO #1

On September 26, 2023, at 12:37:28 p.m., the video started without audio.

WO #1 was captured driving his cruiser. He exited his driver’s door and was immediately confronted by a man [the Complainant] who was already at the driver’s door.

At 12:37:58 p.m., the audio commenced. WO #1 asked the Complainant for his driver’s licence as he tried to explain that it was believed he was a prohibited driver. The Complainant stood directly in front of him. A Jeep SUV was seen parked ahead. The Complainant challenged the legality of the vehicle stop. WO #1 stated that he had queried the licence plate, and the results indicated the driver’s licence was under suspension. The Complainant stated it was a family member’s vehicle and accused WO #1 of a setup. WO #1 explained that a CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre) query had been done when he attended the station and repeatedly asked the Complainant to produce his licence, which he ignored and eventually said was at home. WO #1 directed him back to the vehicle, but the Complainant refused. WO #1 then suggested they move onto the sidewalk, which the Complainant also refused to do. WO #1 asked for his date of birth and the Complainant refused to answer. The Complainant walked away from WO #1 towards the Jeep SUV driver’s door and advised he wanted to lock it. WO #1 again asked for his identification and again the Complainant refused to identify himself. The Complainant locked his driver’s door and began to walk away from the Jeep SUV and WO #1.

Starting at about 12:39:36 p.m., WO #1 walked after the Complainant a short distance. Both men stopped on the sidewalk.

Starting at about 12:39:39 p.m., another police cruiser arrived [driven by the SO]. The Complainant continued to argue with WO #1. The Complainant turned his back and started to walk away, stating he was going home to get his driver’s licence. WO #1 began to follow him and said, “Excuse me.” The Complainant stopped, looked towards WO #1, and said, “You put one hand on me, and it’ll be the last fuckin’ thing you do,” as he continued to walk away. WO #1 responded, “So you’re threatening me now?” The Complainant then said, “No, sir.” He said he was just going home as he was not allowed to drive. WO #1 tried to explain he was investigating an occurrence just as the SO entered the frame on the left. He was in uniform and wore a black baseball cap. The SO stood on the curb, behind and to the right of the Complainant, who stood between them, facing WO #1. The Complainant stated he was set up by police. He continued to be argumentative. WO #1 indicated he was going to confirm the suspension. The Complainant tried again to walk away and was told by both officers he had to stay.

Starting at about 12:40:45 p.m., the Complainant asked if he was under arrest, and was told he was being detained. The SO stepped towards the Complainant, who turned to face him, straightened his back, clenched both fists, and said, “If you fuckin’ touch me I will…” WO #1 began to walk back towards them as the SO warned the Complainant he would be “tased” and taken to the ground. He then grabbed the Complainant’s right wrist with his left hand. The Complainant pulled away and grabbed the SO’s vest with the same hand. He then grabbed WO #1 just above the BWC as the officer reached for the Complainant’s left arm. The SO took control of the right arm of the Complainant, and WO #1 took control of the left arm of the Complainant. Both officers struggled to maintain control of the Complainant as he resisted. The SO attempted several times to pull the Complainant to the ground as the struggle continued.

At 12:41:01 p.m., the SO’s right arm cocked back and, with a closed fist, he punched the Complainant in the upper body four times as the Complainant continued to struggle with the officers. Due to the camera angle and struggle, the exact location of the strikes could not be seen. The Complainant fell to the grass area and both officers landed on top of him as they attempted to control him. The Complainant was heard saying, “You fuckin’ cocksucker. You fuckin’ punch me in the face over a fuckin’ traffic ticket.” The struggle continued on the ground and the Complainant was rolled onto his stomach. The SO had his left knee on the Complainant’s right shoulder and head, and his arms were controlled by both officers as WO #1 cuffed his hands behind his back. The Complainant was brought to his feet and asked to go to the hospital. They walked towards WO #1’s cruiser. The Complainant alleged being “drilled” in the face four times, and WO #1 reminded him of the events that occurred prior to the struggle. The Complainant was escorted to the passenger side rear of WO #1’s cruiser and placed facing the quarter panel as he was searched.

Starting at about 12:43:00 p.m., a third uniformed officer [WO #3] arrived as the Complainant was being searched. Blood was seen on WO #1’s left hand and fingers. The SO stepped back, and WO #3 assisted as WO #1 completed the search. The Complainant had blood on his left elbow. The Complainant entered the rear passenger side of WO #1’s cruiser, and the door was closed.

At 12:46:37 p.m., WO #1 got into the driver’s seat of his cruiser and got out at 12:49:21 p.m. He walked around to the rear passenger side and opened the door. The Complainant turned to face the door and he removed his legs. His right cheek was bloody, and he appeared to have blood under his nose. A St. Thomas firefighter assessed the Complainant who said that he felt “a little woozy from getting three shots to the face”.

Starting at about 12:49:52 p.m., an ambulance arrived. The Complainant told another firefighter he took some “shots to the face from a cop” and complained of an injury to his nose.

Starting at about 12:50:57 p.m., the Complainant was advised that he was under arrest for ‘assault peace officer’ by WO #1, as he remained seated in the rear of his cruiser. He indicated he understood and declined to call a lawyer. WO #1 continued to advise him of his rights.

Starting at about 12:53:31 p.m., an EMS paramedic approached and asked the Complainant if he wanted to be taken to a hospital to have his nose checked out; he accepted.

Starting at about 12:54:23 p.m., WO #1 escorted the Complainant to a waiting ambulance, and he entered through the side door.

At 12:59:35 p.m., the video concluded.

BWC Footage – The SO [3]

The footage started at 12:39:16 p.m. with the SO driving a cruiser. There was no audio.

At 12:39:47 p.m., the audio component activated as the SO exited his cruiser. WO #1 was engaged in a heated discussion on the sidewalk with the Complainant as he approached.

Starting at about 12:41:14 p.m., while the parties were struggling on the ground, the SO was heard to say, “Get off my fucking face,” after which he delivered two or three punches in the direction of the Complainant’s upper body and face area.

Starting at about 12:41:20 p.m., during the struggle on the ground, the Complainant was observed with blood on his right cheek. As he was being rolled onto his stomach, blood was seen beside his left eye.

At 12:47:27 p.m., the video ended.

Custody Video

The first four video segments revealed the Complainant at the STPS station when he arrived prior to his interaction with WO #1 and the SO. He waited a short time and then left.

The fifth video was of the entrance of the STPS building into the custody area. The Complainant was under police escort by two uniformed police officers as he walked through the doorway. His hands were cuffed in front of him.

The sixth video was of the custody counter. The Complainant was escorted to the custody counter by two uniformed police officers. His hands were cuffed in front of him. He sat on a concrete bench and was compliant. He confirmed his address to the custody sergeant. The Complainant was asked a series of intake questions, to which he responded.

When asked about any injuries, the Complainant stated he had a cut over his left eye, and he had a broken nose. He did not disclose how his nose was broken, or who broke it. He was asked to stand at the bench and searched by one of the officers. Personal property was removed and placed in a property bag. His handcuffs were removed, and he accepted a protein bar and bottled water from the sergeant. He was walked off camera, under escort of uniformed officers, and the video concluded.

The seventh video showed the Complainant as he entered a cell.

Police Communications Recordings

A STPS staff member telephoned the Communications Branch and stated that she had created a call to have an officer attend the station. The Complainant was in the lobby and being a nuisance. He had a situation on social media.

The dispatcher stated she would find a free police officer and have him come in. The dispatcher then went on the air and asked WO #1 to attend. The dispatcher was interrupted by the same reception member, who stated that the Complainant said he had waited long enough and would handle the situation himself and walked out.

The dispatcher stated he was a prohibited driver, and she was going to see if he got into a vehicle. She confirmed the Complainant’s descriptors. He had entered the driver’s side of a vehicle. The dispatcher gave his last direction of travel as southbound towards Wellington Street, then east on Wellington Street.

WO #1 confirmed the vehicle colour and that it was a Jeep. He indicated he had it on Forest Avenue. WO #1 requested additional units to assist.

The SO acknowledged the call.

WO #1 came on the air and stated he and the SO had one person in custody. The Complainant was on the ground and had resisted. The dispatcher acknowledged the time as 12:40:00 p.m. WO #1 requested that EMS attend and check on the Complainant, as well as the SO. He confirmed his location on Forest Avenue.

The Communications Centre requested that EMS attend the location on Forest Avenue to assist with someone in custody [the Complainant] and an officer who had been assaulted [the SO]. WO #2 stated he would ride in the ambulance with the Complainant to hospital. A tow truck was later requested for the Jeep.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU obtained the following materials from the STPS between September 29, 2023, and October 5, 2023:
  • General Occurrence Report;
  • Arrest Report;
  • Computer-assisted dispatch report;
  • Motor Vehicle Impoundment Notification;
  • Notice of Licence Disqualification Confirmation;
  • Part III Summons issued to the Complainant;
  • Prisoner Booking Report;
  • Undertaking - Release of the Complainant;
  • List of Involved Officers;
  • WO #3 - notes / will say;
  • WO #2 - notes / will say;
  • WO #1 - notes / will say;
  • WO #5 - notes / will say;
  • WO #6 - notes / will say;
  • WO #4 - notes / will say;
  • BWC footage;
  • Use of Force Policy;
  • Custody video; and
  • Communications recordings.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained the following records from other sources on October 11, 2023:
  • The Complainant’s medical records from STEGH.

Incident Narrative

The evidence collected by the SIU, including interviews with the Complainant and a police and non-police eyewitness to the events in question, and video footage that captured the incident in parts, gives rise to the following scenario. As was his legal right, the SO did not agree an SIU interview or the release of his notes.
In the afternoon of September 26, 2023, the Complainant, while operating a family member’s Jeep, was pulled over in front of a house on Forest Avenue. Moments earlier, the Complainant had attended at the STPS station to complain about someone making false allegations against him on social media. He had left before speaking to an officer about his complaint. Unknown to the Complainant at the time, pursuant to police policy, STPS staff had run a check on the Complainant and learned that his driver’s licence was under suspension. This was a problem as the Complainant was seen driving away from the police station.

WO #1, who had been making his way to the police station to take the Complainant’s complaint, was redirected to locate him and address the suspended licence. The officer found the Complainant travelling east on Forest Avenue and pulled him over. He was immediately confronted by the Complainant, who had exited the Jeep and approached the driver’s door of the cruiser.

The Complainant was angry at having been pulled over. He accused WO #1 of setting him up, was unable to provide his licence (indicating he had forgotten it at home) and refused to identify himself. At one point, the Complainant locked the Jeep’s doors and announced he was leaving on foot. WO #1 made it clear he was not free to go.

By this time, the SO arrived on scene. He parked his cruiser on the north side of Forest Avenue and approached the Complainant and WO #1, who were standing on the south sidewalk. The SO advised the Complainant he was being detained for investigation and moved to take hold of his right arm. The Complainant cocked his left arm and warned the officer not to touch him. He then pushed both officers in the chest as they closed the distance.
There ensued a physical altercation in which the officers, while attempting to force the Complainant to the ground, delivered several knee strikes and punches. Once on the ground, the SO delivered additional punches to the Complainant’s face before the officers turned him onto his stomach and handcuffed his arms behind the back.

Following his arrest, the Complainant was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a broken nose.

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 217(2) and (3), Highway Traffic Act - Arrest Powers

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.  

(3) Every person may arrest without warrant any person whom he or she finds committing any such contravention.

Analysis and Director's Decision

The Complainant was seriously injured in the course of his arrest by STPS officers on September 26, 2023. In the ensuing SIU investigation of the incident, one of the arresting officers – 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 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 had refused to identify himself and was walking away from a bona fide investigation of his driving status. There were also grounds to believe that he had been operating a motor vehicle while his licence was suspended. In the circumstances, the Complainant was subject to arrest under sections 217(2) or (3) of the Highway Traffic Act.

With respect to the force used by the officers in arresting the Complainant, I am unable to reasonably conclude that it was excessive. The Complainant had threatened both officers with violence should they lay hands on him. He then pushed each officer in the chest and resisted vigorously as they tried to force him to the ground. WO #1 reacted by delivering several knee strikes to the Complainant’s leg and the SO punched him four times in the direction of the upper torso before they were able to effect a takedown. The parties went to the ground in a heap where the struggle continued. The Complainant grabbed at the SO’s face and was met with two or three punches to the upper torso or head by the officer and a couple of punches to the hip area by WO #1. On this record, and mindful of the common law principle that officers embroiled in dangerous and dynamic situations are not expected to measure their responsive force with precision, [4] I am satisfied that the force brought to bear by the officers fell within the range of reasonably necessary force to subdue and arrest the Complainant.

In the result, while I accept that the Complainant’s nose was broken in the altercation that marked his arrest, I do not accept that the injury is attributable to any unlawful conduct on the part of the SO. As such, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges. The file is closed.

Date: January 24, 2024

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) Unless otherwise specified, 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 SO’s BWC footage contained the same content as WO #1’s footage; however, due to the struggle and the SO’s proximity to the Complainant, the majority of the physical interaction was obstructed. [Back to text]
  • 4) R. v. Nasogaluak, [2010] 1 SCR 206; R. v. Baxter (1975), 27 CCC (2d) 96 (Ont. CA). [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.