Officer Warned the Woman That if She Made a Call Like That Again She Would Be Arrested


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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 section14 (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 a 28-year-old woman (the "Complainant") sustained.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On October 1, 2021, the Complainant contacted the SIU and reported the following.

On March 31, 2020, the Complainant called the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) for assistance as she was locked out of her storage unit at the Dymon Self Storage facility on Bank Street in Ottawa. Two police officers arrived in the parking lot on Bank Street. The two police officers struck her head on a police cruiser window. She attended the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion and nasal bone fracture.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 10/01/2021 at 12:33 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 10/01/2021 at 2:00 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3

Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka "Complainant"):

Interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on October 4, 2021.

Witness Officials (WO)

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed between November 10 and 26, 2021.


The Scene

The interaction between the Complainant and the OPS officers occurred in the area between the Dymon Storage facility and the McDonald's Restaurant on Bank Street, Ottawa.

The scene was not examined.

Due to the passage of time, no canvass was conducted for video footage.

Figure 1 – Google Maps image of the scene

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

First 911 Call Made by the Complainant

On March 30, 2020 at 11:54:03 p.m., the Complainant called the 911 emergency number. When asked by the call-taker what her emergency was, she said it was not an emergency and that she would like to speak with a police officer. She stated she had already left a voice message on the non-emergency line and that she would like to speak with a police officer.

The call-taker asked the Complainant what her call was about as she had called 911. She explained there was no other way for her to connect to a police officer other than a 911 call. The call-taker again asked her what her call was about as she was not familiar with her situation. The Complainant stated that she was hungry and locked out of her storage unit by her landlord, but they could easily get security to let her into her unit. She would like the police to attend to assist her in accessing her storage unit. The police promised her she could access the unit and she paid rent for the unit.

The Complainant stated in the middle of a pandemic that all her food was in the storage unit and that she could not buy food as her bank account was closed and she should be able to get fresh clothes and food from the unit. She stated the Dymon Storage facility had a security person working 24 hours whom she had called. He initially told her he would attend at the storage unit to let her in. Within 30 minutes, the security officer had called her back and told her the manager had instructed him not to let her in.

The Complainant stated she had a rental contract with Dymon storage and that they were acting in bad faith in not letting her access her storage unit. She further stated she could not attend the storage unit during regular hours as she had to work. She had tried to make it on regular hours on a Sunday, but the bus schedule did not facilitate that. The call-taker advised that the police could not force the storage facility to allow her into her unit. The call-taker advised the Complainant there was a report on file stating police had attended the storage unit on March 28, 2020 and that her access to the facility had been suspended.

The Complainant said the police had helped her on that occasion and that she had been given seven days in which to remove her belongings. The call-taker said she was not going to argue with her, and the Complainant replied that she just wanted help, that she was hungry and wanted something to eat. Her bank account had a five-day hold on it as someone had tried to steal money from her account. The Complainant provided her name and the address of the storage facility. The dispatcher told the Complainant that police were on the way.

Second 911 Call Made by the Complainant

On March 31, 2020, at 12:24:15 a.m., the dispatcher answered the 911 call. The Complainant was crying and shouting. She reported that she had just interacted with police and they were abusive, and had tried to beat her up. Her belongings were now locked inside the Dymon Storage area behind the gate and she needed her keys to access her Airbnb. The police and security would not let her back in to get her belongings. She asked what was wrong with the police officers.

The dispatcher asked her name and where she was calling from. The Complainant stated there were three police cars that were sent to help her, but the officers beat her up and left her backpack inside the storage unit. The dispatcher attempted to ask questions. The Complainant said the security would not let her in, and she would ask someone for help. The dispatcher asked where she was, and the Complainant said at the Dymon Storage drive-in area. The Complainant said three police officers were there to literally beat her up. The dispatcher asked if she needed an ambulance and she replied, "No, I don't need an ambulance, I want a police officer in authority to come and help me get my keys." The dispatcher told the Complainant the police could not assist her because the facility administration was not there.

The Complainant spoke with unknown people explaining she needed help because the police would arrest her and beat her up as they already had. She asked them to watch because she did not feel safe. The Complainant said the female police officer was abusive and had tried to run her over. She said, "You were trying to run over me, I just want my backpack and my keys, and I want to go home and I want my stuff, do you get it?" A male voice said, "You called 911 again?" The Complainant said, "Yes because I want to go home." Through rustling sounds and inaudible voices the Complainant said, "Stop them, I'm being hit, I just need help." Through more rustling sounds, the Complainant said, "OK, fine." A male voice said, "Don't fucking listen, OK, (inaudible) what happens."

OPS Radio Communications

Dispatch notified WO #1 and WO #2 that the Complainant had answered no to COVID screen questions and provided her occupation. WO #1 asked the dispatch for a proper location for the Complainant, and was advised it would be investigated. WO #4 broadcasted that they were on the other side, the units were all on scene, and the Complainant was known to report police as well. Dispatch notified WO #1 and WO #2 that the Complainant said she would be waiting at the drive-through and they were calling her now. WO #1 reported, "10-4," and that they were speaking with her now.

WO #3 asked the dispatch to advise their colleagues that the Complainant had been cautioned for making false 911 calls. The dispatcher advised they were aware of that as she had been making several calls that evening. Dispatch tasked WO #3 to confirm the Complainant got everything she needed out of there and they were not to take any calls to that location with her again. WO #3 replied the Complainant had not been given access due to other administrative processes that they were not privy to, and she was advised accordingly.

Dispatch advised the Complainant had called back and was rambling. WO #3 said he would go back and see her. The dispatcher asked WO #1 if they needed more units. She replied they did not, and that the Complainant was at the McDonald's next door.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from OPS between October 13, 2021 and November 23, 2021:

  • Computer-assisted Dispatch Reports (x2);
  • Narrative General Occurrence (GO)-WO #1;
  • Notes-WO #1;
  • Narrative GO-WO #2;
  • Notes-WO #2;
  • Notes-WO #4;
  • Notes-WO #5;
  • Radio Communications;
  • 911 Call Recordings; and
  • Memorandum dated October 13, 2020.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU received the following records from other sources on October 12, 2021:

  • Medical Records from Montfort Hospital.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the weight of the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with the Complainant and the officers who participated in, and/or were present at, the Complainant's arrest.

At about 11:55 p.m. of March 30, 2020, the Complainant contacted 911 to request assistance. She was on the premises of the Dymon Self Storage business at 2420 Bank Street, and wanted police officers to attend to help her retrieve food from her storage unit, to which she had been denied access. Told by the call-taker that the matter was not an issue for the police, the Complainant persisted and was advised that police officers would attend.

WO #3 and WO #1 were the first to arrive, followed closely by WO #2. The officers explained to the Complainant that they could not force the business to grant her access to her unit, and that she should return during business hours the following Monday to deal with the matter. The Complainant was irate. Her ire increased when the security gate closed and locked behind them as she and the officers exited the vehicle bay of the facility – the Complainant had forgotten her backpack behind. WO #1 and WO #2 warned the Complainant not to contact 911 again for non-emergency matters and proceeded to leave in their cruisers. WO #3 stayed behind to speak remotely with security staff of the facility to see if he could retrieve the Complainant's backpack.

Within minutes of their departure, WO #1 and WO #2 were called back to the scene. The Complainant had again called 911. She was incensed that the police had not helped her access her storage unit, and now her backpack, containing the keys to her residence, had been locked inside the premises. The officers encountered the Complainant on the shared parking lot between Dymon Self Storage and a McDonald's to the north. She was told she was under arrest for public mischief.

The Complainant offered moderate resistance to her arrest, but was handcuffed behind her back in fairly short order by WO #2. She was placed in the backseat of WO #2's cruiser and told she would be released unconditionally once she had calmed. WO #3, who had been successful in retrieving the Complainant's backpack, arrived at the vehicle and returned the item to the Complainant. Told again not to call 911, the Complainant agreed and was released by WO #2. The Complainant returned home.

On April 2, 2020, the Complainant attended Montfort Hospital and was diagnosed with a fractured 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.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On October 1, 2021, the SIU received a report in which it was alleged that the Complainant had been seriously injured in the course of her arrest by OPS officers on March 31, 2020. The SIU initiated an investigation and spoke with the officers involved in her arrest. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the officers committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant's arrest.

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.

I am satisfied that WO #2 had a lawful basis for proceeding with the Complainant's arrest for public mischief. She had been warned on several occasions to refrain from calling the emergency 911 line for what, I am satisfied, was essentially a civil grievance. In the circumstances, the officer was entitled to take her into custody when the Complainant failed to heed those warnings.

With respect to the force used by WO #2, I am satisfied that it was no more than was reasonably necessary to effect the Complainant's arrest. In fact, on the weight of the evidence, the officer appears to have used minimal force, namely, the amount necessary to place and hold the Complainant against his cruiser as she offered a degree of resistance, and to affix her in handcuffs. No blows of any nature were struck.

The Complainant tells a different story, but it would be unwise and unsafe to rest criminal charges on the strength of her evidence. The Complainant's evidence was at odds with previous descriptions of the events she had offered. These frailties in the Complainant's evidence satisfy me that her account is insufficiently reliable to warrant being put to the test by a trier-of-fact.

On the aforementioned-record, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the officers who engaged with the Complainant in the early morning hours of March 31, 2020 comported themselves unlawfully. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.

Date: January 28, 2022

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) 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.


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