Toronto Police Chief’s delays threaten public confidence

Here we are more than a year after the “Adam Nobody” case hit the news in the wake of the G20 debacle in Toronto, and stalling by the Toronto Police threatens to drag the case out even further.

Justice delayed is justice denied, and yet we are told in the Toronto Sun article below that Chief Bill Blair told the CBC that before anything can happen “there will be a further investigation after we’ve received the investigative file” and that “the next step in my opinion is completing that investigative file and bringing it before the board and I don’t have a timetable for that.”

“No timetable” indeed.  Here is what the National Post had to say in their December 1st, 2010 editorial “Politicians must wake up to police brutality” (see link “Why are the Toronto police getting out of control?” below): “Perhaps (Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair) could actively and publicly encourage officers to come forward and testify to the SIU against their wayward brothers, instead of routinely exercising their legal right not to.”

This situation is utterly unacceptable.

We will receive the Morden Report into the events of June 2010 in March of this year.  All I can say is that it had best contain recommendations to put some serious teeth into the powers of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit; public confidence in the police has plunged to a low point, and Chief Blair is still playing dangerous games with our trust.

Jeff Goodall.

Justice delayed in Nobody case

Toronto Sun
Joe Warmington: Jan. 20th, 2011

TORONTO – Running out the clock.

With there being no one in power who seems to care, it’s a strategy that’s working.

It’s not just the Toronto Police Association ragging the puck but the chief, the board and politicians who oversee them too.

The result is police do not seem accountable.

Even when they do end up before the courts it takes so long to ever get to trial, key players are often deceased or retired.

And there doesn’t seem to be anywhere genuine where one can take a beef with police and get a reasonable and timely outcome.

They have the power and are not eager to give it up.

Stall, dodge, deflect, threaten, bully, intimidate, insinuate, alienate, castigate, hide and seek.

If all else fails, throw money at it — sometimes yours.

The Blue Wall has good lawyers like John Rosen, Gary Clewley, Joe Markson, Calvin Barry, Harry Black and they don’t come cheap. The police association covers their fees but if they win, the city gets the bill.

The bottom line is police, as shown by routinely not co-operating with the Special Investigations Unit, don’t seem to want to be accountable.

Those entrusted to hold them so, just don’t have the strength, courage or power — with some being neighbours, pals or travelling companions.

If they decide to take on coppers allegedly involved in brutality or drug dealing it’s an expensive, lengthy uphill battle with few rewards.

The CBC’s Dave Seglins broke the story that “Ontario’s top police complaints watchdog (the Ontario Independent Police Review Director) has concluded five officers involved in the now infamous arrest of G20 protester Adam Nobody should be charged with misconduct for using unnecessary force and for discreditable conduct.”

It also says “the report, which was given last week to Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, orders him to lay disciplinary charges against five Toronto constables: Michael Adams, Geoffrey Fardell, David Donaldson, Oliver Simpson and Babak Andalib-Goortani.”

This did not happen Friday but with words used like “discreditable conduct,” you’d think there would be real action on this one.

However Chief Bill Blair told the CBC before anything happens “there will be a further investigation after we’ve received the investigative file” and that “the next step in my opinion is completing that investigative file and bringing it before the board and I don’t have a timetable for that.”

What’s the hurry?

TPA President Mike McCormack says they will “challenge” any discipline anyway, telling the Sun’s Chris Doucette “these things should be concluded within a reasonable time frame, like any other investigation.”

Kind of a statute of limitations.

Elected for the eighth time as Chair, TPSB boss Dr. Alok Mukherjee also told Douce “the Police Services Act (PSA) requires that charges under the PSA must be laid within 6 months from the date when the OIPRD becomes aware of the matter. If this does not happen, the Chief, upon receipt of the report from OIPRD and explanation of reasons for the delay, comes to the Board” and that “I cannot pre-judge the Board’s decision nor say at this time when the Board will deal with the matter.”

Maybe there’ll be time to fit another trip with the chief to India in the meantime or at least finally receive the now $750,000 Morden G20 report?

Good cops need bad cops gone quickly but the sand in this hour glass is moving slow. Justice delayed is justice denied after all. Perhaps Premier Dalton McGuinty or Mayor Ford could take some action but neither are that stupid or brave.

And remember Ombudsman Andre Marin said in December he “discovered that the Ministry (of the Attorney General) had deliberately undermined the SIU in its attempts to comply with my recommendation that it ensure police co-operation through publicizing instances of police resistance.”

With words like “deliberately undermined” you think in a democracy there would be a concern but who would you call to investigate anyway?

And we don’t need to go through the kind of favours Ford owes Blair now thanks to being bailed out of that 911 “bitch-gate” mess.

It leaves SIU Director Ian Scott as the last line of defence who could chose, for a third time, to reopen another G20 investigation.

“I’m reviewing the OIPRD report and it’s going to take some time,” he told me Friday.

Problem is on public trust, the clock is running out.

See original here.

See “Why are the Toronto police getting out of control?” (Dec 2nd, 2010) here.

See the archive for my “Policing & Justice-Related Issues” category here.

Comments are closed.