‘Nobody’ case abandoned because SIU has no teeth

“…the officers did not offer up their notes, or statements during their investigation, as is their right.” (Emphasis added -JG).

Like many, I am eagerly awaiting retired Judge John W. Morden’s report into police conduct during the G20 summit in Toronto, which is expected  sometime in March.  As I said while addressing his panel: “What is the point of having a Special Investigations Unit if police chiefs can ignore it with impunity?”

When I was on the Executive Board of CUPE Local 79, I was aware of several clauses in the Collective Agreement that were so weak, I wondered why they were there at all.  I soon found that they had been agreed to in order to ‘get a foot in the door’, with the intention of strengthening them during bargaining for future collective agreements.  I called them “orphan clauses”. 

In my opinion, Section 113 of Ontario’s Police Services Act, governing the mandate, powers and operation of the SIU, is just another weak, useless ‘orphan clause’, which will never amount to anything unless it is strengthened and given some teeth.

Hopefully, Judge Morden’s report will result in legislative changes conferring much greater powers on the SIU, together with a realistic means of enforcing compliance, and the ability to levy penalties against police chiefs and others who fail to govern themselves appropriately. 

Anything less will allow individual police officers to continue bullying, assaulting, and even killing civilians, with relative impunity.

The necessary balance between the powers of the police, and the public’s protections against abuse by them, is way out of whack. 

Judge Morden’s report might be our last chance to restore sanity for many years to come.

Jeff Goodall.

SIU won’t reopen Nobody case

Toronto Sun
Tom Godfrey: Jan. 30th, 2011

TORONTO – The province’s Special Investigations Unit will not reopen its investigation into the case involving G20 protester Adam Nobody even though a report claims Toronto cops used unnecessary force to arrest him.

Nobody offered no comment Monday following a ruling by Special Investigations Unit (SIU) director Ian Scott that there won’t be a third probe. Nobody referred calls to his lawyer, who was not available.

Scott said a Jan. 20 report by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) looked into Nobody’s June 2010 arrest during the summit of world leaders in Toronto.

It was determined five officers used unnecessary force during Nobody’s arrest and Scott referred the matter to Toronto police for a disciplinary hearing.

Scott said the report does not contain new information and the incident has been the subject of two investigations.

“Mr. Nobody was the victim of excessive use of force based upon a YouTube video of the incident but it was impossible to positively identify any of the subject officers,” said a SIU release issued on Monday.

The OIPRD report recommended that five Toronto police officers face police act charges for using unnecessary force against Nobody.

The recommendations were based on interviews with a dozen police witnesses, five civilian witnesses and Nobody.

The five cops involved were Consts. Michael Adams, Babak Andalib-Goortani, Geoffrey Fardell, David Donaldson and Oliver Simpson.

Only Andalib-Goortani has been charged — criminal assault with a weapon — in the Nobody case. Scott said the officers did not offer up their notes, or statements during their investigation, as is their right.

It took two SIU investigations, along with pressure from the public and media to determine the names of the officers involved.

See original here.

See the Toronto Sun editorial “Civilian oversight of police a must” (Jan. 31st, 2012) here.

See my “Policing & Justice-Related Issues’” archive here.