Friday, January 29, 2016

SIU clears Toronto cop who shot suspected gunman in Rexdale in 2015

TORONTO  - Days after a jury found a Toronto cop guilty of attempted murder for shooting a knife-wielding man, the province’s police watchdog has cleared another officer who shot a suspected gunman in Rexdale last spring.

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit says the shooting was justified because the officer feared for his life on April 16, 2015, when he came face—to—face with one of four men thought to have shot five people at a North York townhouse complex half an hour earlier.

•Toronto Police officers were in the area of Driftwood Ave. and Jane St., north of Finch Ave. W., when they heard gunfire and saw several men fleeing in a dark coloured car
•The suspects were tracked to Elmhurst Dr. and Cromarty Dr., near Islington Ave. and Rexdale Blvd., where cops boxed in the vehicle
•Four men exited the car and began to flee on foot
•The driver and two passengers were arrested without incident
•The subject officer confronted a fourth man on the front lawn of a home and shot him twice
•The shooting suspect survived despite suffering gunshot injuries to his right elbow, chest, and back
•One gun was found near the man who was shot, another gun was located in a nearby driveway and a third pistol was discovered near the suspect vehicle

•Four gunmen approached a TCHC townhouse complex at 404 Driftwood on foot and opened fire on a group of people shortly before 6 p.m. on Apr. 16, 2015
•The gunshots rang out as kids played in a nearby park
•Four men and one woman were hit by the gunfire but they all survived
•It’s believed the shooting was the result of an ongoing feud between rival street gangs

•Akeem Bailey, 25, of Toronto, was charged with 30 offences including five counts of attempt murder
•Clifton Vassel Youria, 29, of Toronto, was charged with 31 offences, including five counts of attempt murder
•Maurice Smith, 21, of Toronto, was charged with 25 offences including five counts of attempt murder
•Duarte- Alvarez, 20, of Mississauga, survived being shot by cop and was charged with 21 offences including five counts of attempt murder

•Statements from other officers on scene
•Accounts of area residents
•Police radio communications
•DNA testing results and other forensic examinations
•Video from security cameras at Elmhurst Dr. house and witness’s cell phone
•The subject officer did not provide his notes or agree to an interview as is his legal right

“There is also very little doubt on the evidence that the subject officer did not exceed the bounds of legally justifiable force when he discharged his firearm.”
“I am satisfied he would have been fearful for his life at the time of his firearm discharges.”
“The officer would have had every reason to believe that the man had just been involved in a shooting and was armed with a firearm and prepared to use it.”
“Utterances made by the subject officer around the time of the shooting, and heard by other officers, to the effect that the man had a gun, that the officer directed him to drop it and that the officer fired his weapon fearing for his life, suggest as much.”
“The timing and circumstances surrounding the officer’s utterances, including most importantly the location of a Colt 1911 firearm in the same yard where the shooting occurred and in proximity of the injured party, lend credibility to their authenticity.”
“As the security camera recordings vividly make clear, the situation that confronted the officer was volatile, rapidly evolving and fraught with danger.”
“I am unable on this record to conclude that his decision to resort to his firearm, made in the heat of the moment with little time to react, was without objective justification.”

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