Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans met with a 22-year-old woman who was struck in the back by an errant police bullet in hospital before the Special Investigations Unit was notified of her injuries, a $21 million lawsuit alleges.

On March 20, 2015, police were called to a townhouse unit on Queen Frederica Drive in Mississauga. Three officers confronted a 30-year-old man brandishing a knife and he was killed in a hail of police bullets.

Two of the officers suffered stab wounds in the encounter, while a third was struck by a stray bullet in their protective vest.

A then 21-year old woman, Suzan Zreik, was in another townhouse unit working in the kitchen when she was struck in the back by a stray police bullet.

Zreik’s lawyer, Michael Moon, told CP24 that in the hours after the shootout, Evans went to Zreik in hospital and suggested she could assist her, an aspiring police officer enrolled in a police foundations program, with furthering her career.

“My client was enrolled in the police foundations course at Humber College – Evans knew that and assured her that she’d do anything she could to help and said her career in policing was assured,” Moon said.

Furthermore, Moon says a police guard was posted outside her hospital room despite her not being suspected of any crime. When she was discharged from hospital, Moon said an officer told her that she was to be brought in for questioning by SIU investigators at Peel Regional Police 12 Division.

But Moon says no SIU investigator was present during her interrogation.

“There was some attempt to massage or create a narrative before the SIU got involved,” Moon said, adding his client did not want to attend the interrogation and just wanted to see her family.

None of its allegations have been tested in court.

Moon said he arrived at that damage figure “according to the perceived moral culpability of the parties involved,” as is done in any civil suit.

An SIU investigation cleared all three of the officers as did a professional standards probe by Peel Regional Police itself.

Peel Regional Police say they were made aware of the suit this afternoon but would not comment further. They said there has been absolutely no discussion of Evans temporarily stepping aside while this matter is dealt with.

The SIU also declined comment, citing the lawsuit.

Moon said the suit’s main complaint is against the officer that fired the bullet that struck her client, but the police service’s sustained presence around her got in the way of the SIU doing their job.

“My client had a PRP bullet lodged in her back close to her spine – the only one who should have been talking to her with an SIU investigator,” Moon said.