Toronto Police Chief must ‘educate’ officers about their duty to police watchdog: SIU Director, Loparco

Six months before the alleged assault by off-duty Toronto officer, Michael Theriault on black teen Dafonte Miller, the director of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, Tony Loparco, asked police Chief Mark Saunders to “educate” his officers on their duties to notify the watchdog when a civilian is seriously hurt by police, according to correspondence obtained by the Star.

Toronto police have come under fire in recent weeks for failing to notify the SIU of serious injuries incurred by civilians in encounters with police, chief among them the severe alleged assault on Miller.

Miller suffered a broken orbital bone, broken nose and will lose an eye following the December 2016 incident. Neither Toronto police nor Durham police notified the SIU, the body called in to investigate cases of death, serious injury or alleged sexual assault involving police. It was not until Julian Falconer, who represents Miller, contacted the police watchdog in April that it began an investigation, which then led to criminal charges against the Theriault’s.

Further to the delay, Falconer raised other concerns about the conduct of Durham police. For example, he said that Durham investigators failed to interview an eyewitness to the beating. Falconer also provided an account of what allegedly happened in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, none of which has yet been tested in court.

SIU director Tony Loparco’s request to Saunders was spurred by a 2015 case where the watchdog alleges Toronto police neglected to notify the civilian agency about an incident warranting an SIU investigation, specifically the injuries of a man sent to hospital while bleeding out of his ears following a police raid.

The watchdog learned of the man’s injuries two and a half months later, and only after receiving a letter of complaint about the incident. The man was diagnosed with a perforated eardrum.

In The News

Demonstrators protest outside hearing for brothers charged in beating of Dafonte Miller     Toronto Star, September 7, 2017

Protesters allege bias, coverup in case of Dafonte Miller, Whitby teen hurt in confrontation with off-duty cop    DurhamRegion, September 7, 2017

Testimony of officers who face allegations poses challenge for lawyers    Lawyers Daily, September 7, 2017

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

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

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