SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-TCI-404


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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 33-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On October 3, 2023, at 2:18 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.

The TPS received an Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) complaint during the last week of September relating to an injury that occurred on August 27, 2023. The OIPRD complaint indicated that, on August 27, 2023, at approximately 7:16 p.m., the TPS responded to the area of 77 Howard Street in Toronto. A male – the Complainant – was running around, shirtless, and creating a disturbance. The Subject Official (SO) responded and located the Complainant. He formed the opinion that the Complainant was experiencing a mental health crisis and was going to apprehend him. The officer engaged the Complainant physically and he became violent and actively resistant. The SO had to ground the Complainant to gain control. The Complainant struck his face on the ground and emergency medical services (EMS) was requested. He became coherent and lucid, and was eventually released unconditionally. The Complainant later attended St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH) and was diagnosed with an orbital fracture.

According to the TPS, the OIPRD complaint was filed by the Complainant’s brother [the Civilian Witness (CW)] after he learned of the injury. The TPS had followed-up on the complaint and obtained medical records from the SMH, which confirmed the fracture. The SIU was, in turn, advised of the injury.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 03/10/2023 at 3:21 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 03/10/2023 at 3:40 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

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

The Complainant was interviewed on October 4, 2023.

Civilian Witness

CW Interviewed

The civilian witness was interviewed on October 13, 2023.

Subject Official

SO Interviewed; notes received and reviewed

The subject official was interviewed on November 17, 2023.

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed; notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Interviewed; notes received and reviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on October 7, 2023.


The Scene

The events in question transpired by the driver’s side of a police cruiser stopped on the asphalt driveway outside the building at 77 Howard Street, Toronto.

Due to the historical nature of the call, SIU forensic identification services did not attend the scene.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [2]

TPS Communications Recordings

On August 27, 2023, starting at about 6:55 p.m., the Complainant called 911 to ask that police attend a building in the area of Wellesley Street and Sherbourne Street, Toronto, because he was worried he was being followed by people he did not recognize from the area. The 911 dispatcher informed him the police could not do anything about people being in the area unless they had done something to warrant police attendance.

Starting at about 7:19 p.m., the SO alerted the dispatcher that a man [now known to be the Complainant] was running around 77 Howard Street and requested that additional police officers attend. WO #1 and WO #2 reported they would attend.

Starting at about 7:20 p.m., the SO informed the dispatcher that one person had been apprehended.

Starting at about 7:21 p.m., the SO informed the dispatcher that he required an ambulance for injuries to the Complainant’s face. The SO had the Complainant, “Grounded.”

Body-worn Camera (BWC) Footage – SO

On August 27, 2023, starting at about 7:18 p.m., the SO’s police vehicle was captured parked facing westbound in the roundabout at 77 Howard Avenue. The Complainant stood at the front of the police vehicle. He ran from the police vehicle onto the front lawn of the building. The SO exited his police vehicle. The Complainant shouted, “Help, help,” and the SO said, “Come here.” The Complainant ran in circles on the lawn and shouted, “Help, help, they’re going to kill me.” The SO said, “Help with what?” The SO informed the dispatcher what was happening and asked for other police officers to attend. The Complainant ran southbound on the driveway to the SO. He looked around and moved quickly. The SO told him to stop and asked the Complainant who was going to kill him. The Complainant did not reply. He shouted, “Please, officer, these guys are going to kill me, fuck man.” The Complainant stumbled around and cursed. The Complainant approached the SO. The SO put his left hand up and told him to back up. The Complainant took a step back and then came towards the SO again. The SO took the Complainant’s right hand and guided him front first against the police vehicle. The SO told the Complainant to put his hands behind his back, and that he was going to handcuff him until his partner arrived. The SO held both the Complainant’s hands behind his back and applied a handcuff to his left wrist. The Complainant tensed up, turned to the right to look at the SO, and tried to pull his right arm away. The SO told him to relax and pulled his right arm behind to apply the handcuff. The Complainant struggled with the SO and the SO told him to stop. The Complainant was handcuffed behind his back and the SO held him against the police vehicle while he alerted the dispatcher that the Complainant was in custody. The Complainant cursed, and asked for help and not to be killed. He tried to push off the police vehicle. The SO told him to stop, and the Complainant was captured sliding to the right and landing on his right side on the driveway. The SO held the Complainant at mid-shoulder behind the neck with his right hand and controlled the Complainant’s hands with his left hand. The SO informed the dispatcher he would need an ambulance. The Complainant said, “My face is fucked.”

Starting at about 7:23 p.m., WO #2 and WO #1 arrived. The SO advised them he had tried to hold the Complainant against the police vehicle. The Complainant pushed back, and he (the SO) took him to the ground, in the course of which the side of the Complainant’s face hit the ground. The Complainant was assisted to his feet by the SO and WO #2; he had blood all over his face.

Starting at about 7:27 p.m., the Complainant was placed in the rear passenger seat of WO #2 and WO #1’s police vehicle.

Starting at about 7:28 p.m., the SO informed WO #1 that he had taken hold of the Complainant, who tried to kick him “in the nuts”, after which the officer “took him down to the ground”.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the TPS and the PRP between October 6, 2023, and October 16, 2023:
  • Communications recordings;
  • TPS General Occurrence Report;
  • TPS computer-assisted dispatch report;
  • Notes of WO #2, WO #1 and the SO;
  • TPS Policies: ‘Use Of Force’, ‘Arrest’ and ‘Dealing With Person in Crisis’;
  • PRP Occurrence Details;
  • TPS in-car camera system footage; and
  • TPS BWC footage.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained the following records from other sources between October 4, 2023, and October 5, 2023:

  • Toronto EMS Ambulance Call and Incident Reports;
  • Photographs taken by the CW;
  • The Complainant’s OIPRD complaint, received from the CW;
  • The Complainant’s medical records from Brampton Civic Hospital; and
  • The Complainant’s medical records from SMH.

Incident Narrative

The material events in question, clear on the evidence collected by the SIU, may briefly be summarized.

In the evening of August 27, 2023, the Complainant was in the throes of a psychotic episode. He had come to believe that people who meant him harm were following him. Just outside the front entrance of the apartment building at 77 Howard Street, the Complainant noticed a police cruiser and approached the officer inside. He explained that people were out to kill him and asked for the officer’s help.

The officer was the SO. His cruiser was on the driveway adjacent the front doors facing west when he was approached by the Complainant. The officer deduced that the Complainant was a person in crisis. He was highly agitated and apparently delusional. The SO told the Complainant he would assist him after he had finished dealing with another motorist, whom he had pulled over. The Complainant continued to act out – while screaming for help, he ran around the cruiser and the grass field in front of the building.

When the SO was done with the motorist, he turned his attention to the Complainant. The Complainant approached the officer by the front driver side of the cruiser and lunged in his direction. The SO asked him to stay back and then took hold of the Complainant, pressed him up against the front hood of the cruiser, and proceeded to handcuff him. The Complainant kicked back with his right leg and struck the SO’s inner thigh. The officer reacted by forcing the Complainant to the ground.

The Complainant hit the ground hard with the front of his head resulting in multiple facial fractures. He was released at the scene and transported to hospital by ambulance.

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 apprehension by a TPS officer on August 27, 2023. In the ensuing SIU investigation of the incident, the arresting officer – 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 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 within his rights in taking the Complainant into custody. Given what he had observed of his behaviour to that point, culminating in a lunge towards the officer, there were reasonable grounds to believe that the Complainant was of unsound mind and a threat to himself and others, and therefore subject to apprehension under section 17 of the Mental Health Act.

I am also satisfied that the force used by the SO, namely, a takedown, was legally justified. Though he was in handcuffs at the time, the Complainant had struck the officer with a backwards kick. The officer was entitled to repel the assault and deter any further aggression by the Complainant via a resort to force, and a takedown was designed to do just that by placing the officer in a position to better manage any further resistance. It is regrettable that the Complainant’s face struck the ground as hard as it did, causing injuries, but that would appear the result of the SO losing grip of the Complainant as he was being forced down and not excessive force brought to bear by the officer.

For the foregoing reasons, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case against the subject official. The file is closed.

Date: January 29, 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]


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.