Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Another black eye for Toronto Police
A judge’s comments on police conduct during his detainment were stinging.
And not about one officer.
Or two, or three.
Four officers at 43 Division were involved in the 2012 booking of the mouthy Young, who videos viewed in court now show was on the wrong end of a jail cell beating.
There was also a supervisor on scene.
Yet it was Young, arrested for possession of marijuana, intoxication and obstruction of justice, charged with assault.
“I find that the evidence of the officers is not credible or reliable,” Justice Donna Hackett said in dismissing the charge.
“I find that they have lied, exaggerated and colluded about Mr. Young’s assaultive behaviour in the search room.”
Calling it an “abuse of power,” the judge also found “if there had not been a video to contradict all of their notes, the consistency in their evidence could have been accepted at trial, Mr. Young convicted and justice totally frustrated.”
Several embarrassed former officers offered outrage.
“Same theme, different day,” said one, who added “a new policing culture seems to have emerged.”
Another wrote in an e-mail to me, “it’s bothersome” that “this was not reported by another police officer.”
Maybe this case, post-G20 and the mental health patient deaths, will be the tipping point?
Or will it be buried in another layer of secret bureaucracy?
Nothing will change if Professional Standards investigation results are not made public, says the lawyer who represents Young.
“We need transparency,” said Anna M. Martin. “These investigations are all secret and you never know the outcome.”
For example, the case in question here, says Martin, was already investigated by Professional Standards, which ruled there was no excessive force or officer impropriety.
Then out comes a video and the scolding from a judge.
Now, lucky for Young, the same internal affairs are investigating it again.
Will they do a better job this time?
Martin raises an excellent point when she asks how will we ever know?
“There should be some sort of report filed at least,” she said of internal probes.
“The only way to ever know what happens in a professional standards investigation is to go to a tribunal hearing where you can see if an officer has been charged (under the Police Services Act.)”
Of course, like the Mayor Rob Ford case, Toronto Police should not be allowed to be anywhere near this investigation.
After the judge’s comments about the incident involving Consts. Christopher Miller, Joshua James, Adrian Piccolo Christopher Moorcroft and a staff sergeant, as well as the, in my opinion, less-than-complete investigation by the internal affairs officers, there is too much of an appearance of a conflict of interest.
The chief has brought in judges in the past and outside police services to oversee conflicts in investigations. There is no question another service needs to review not only the Young arrest but also what happens with Professional Standards investigations.
I put several questions to Chief Bill Blair, his spokesman Mark Pugash and Toronto Police Services Board chair Dr. Alok Mukherjee:
“What are your thoughts of ensuring the public can have full access to such a report” and “Can Professional Standards be investigated?”
I also asked, “Will the chief address the judge’s comments publicly?”
He has in the past put out a video condemning “unacceptable behaviour” by officers, saying, “if you want to be an idiot, you don’t get to be an idiot in our uniform, you don’t get to be an idiot diminishing our organization and you cannot hide behind the badge to abuse the authority so carefully earned and so carefully used by all of us.”
So on this one, does he find “disgusting” what the judge said his officers were involved in, and is he “disappointed” as he articulated on more than one instance over the alleged behaviour of Ford?
So far he or the others have not returned an e-mail.
There have been too many incidents to brush it aside.
Remember James Bishop playing basketball at the YMCA, cook Raymond Costain in front of King Edward Hotel, and Craig Thompson in Scarborough?
Now there is Curtis Young.
How many black eyes is too many?
Please share this