Major Editorial Boards Calling for Change: Police Oversight

The ‘simply terrifying’ case of Falconers LLP client, Dafonte Miller, a young Black man, who was allegedly beaten by an off-duty Toronto police officer, Michael Theriault, and his brother in December of 2016, was a gratuitous attack, which allegedly turned into a deliberate concealment of crime. This has spun major editorial boards to call for change, including Matt Gurney of CBC’s opinion piece, where he stated the “Ontario’s system of police oversight is clearly not functioning properly.”

Gurney also commented that “the Theriault brothers will have to work their way through the courts. And the various police services involved will not be able to say much, since once the SIU mandate is invoked, they are obligated to remain silent. However, specifics aside and focus on the big picture: no reasonable Ontarian can look at this and conclude our system of police oversight — a vital part of any functioning democracy — is working.”

In Rosie DiManno’s Toronto Star Editorial, Julian Falconer stated “Here I sit in 2017 facing the same issue. Why do police have the power to charge with obstruct justice those who interfere in an investigation but SIU investigators do not. And the answer is that there is every reality that it will be enormously career-limiting for a director of SIU to even contemplate laying an obstruct justice charge. This has to change.”

Further, Falconer alleges, that their father, himself a Toronto cop with Professional Standards, was complicit in concealing his sons’ alleged crimes by having communication with the Durham investigators. He sets out, in his formally filed complaint, “clear steps that were taken in protecting these two thugs.”

In another Toronto Star Editorial on August 1, 2017, it was noted that if the police forces and their political leaders want to make sure that the air is well and truly cleared in this matter, they will have to take further steps to ensure that the investigations are fully independent and that the findings are shared as widely as possible with the public. Anything short of that risks looking like at an attempt at a cover-up, and will only fuel public doubts about how the forces conducted themselves.

In The News

Police must face consequences for not reporting to civilian watchdog Editorial   Toronto Star, August 31, 2017

SIU director tells Toronto chief to ‘educate’ cops about their duty to the police watchdog Toronto Star, August 30, 2017

Police can’t be allowed to evade the Special Investigations Unit – Editorial Toronto Star, August 27, 2017

Don’t wait for an outcome in the Dafonte Miller case. Fix Ontario’s police oversight system now CBC, August 25, 2017

Why bad cops usually get away with brutish behaviour: DiManno    Toronto Star, August 17, 2017

Two police probes into beating of Dafonte Miller fall short: Editiorial    Toronto Star, August 1, 2017



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