Police union head calls on SIU director to step down
Published Friday, February 22, 2013 11:29AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 22, 2013 1:12PM EST
The head of Toronto’s police union is calling on the director of the Special Investigations Unit to step down as he urges the province to review allegations against the police watchdog in two recent cases.
In a statement, Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack accused SIU director Ian Scott of ignoring court-ordered warrants and releasing information that threatened to harm the reputation of a Toronto police officer and the city’s police service.
“The serious and disturbing allegations regarding the actions of Mr. Scott and the SIU must be thoroughly investigated in order to restore public confidence in the leadership of the SIU,” McCormack said in a statement that urged Attorney General John Gerretsen to investigate allegations.
In his own statement Friday, Scott disputed the allegations, as he took a shot at the police union’s leadership.
“Mr. McCormack is entitled to his opinion about my leadership of the unit,” Scott said. “Frankly, I would have been more surprised if he issued a news release saying he was happy with the way the unit is currently functioning.”
The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been a death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.
McCormack said he is not opposed to civilian oversight, "but the civilian oversight bodies are not above the law.”
In one of the cases cited by McCormack, he accused the SIU of failing to act on warrants for a man who was wanted for domestic assault and failing to attend court on a marijuana possession charge.
In a case involving the man, a jury found a police officer not guilty of charges of aggravated assault and discharging a firearm with intent amid doubts about the man’s credibility.
McCormack said the officer’s lawyer accused the SIU of failing to arrest the man or report his whereabouts to the police.
In the SIU’s defence, Scott said the man met with SIU investigators, was informed of the arrest warrants and then advised to speak to a lawyer to deal with the situation.
Within days, the man turned himself in to police, Scott said.
In the second case, the police union was upset because the SIU released information about a “serious injury” allegedly inflicted by a Toronto police officer while a 61-year-old man was in custody at 51 Division.
According to McCormack, “there was a real issue about whether there was even a serious injury.”
Scott said the alleged assault against the detainee came to the SIU’s attention through the complainant’s lawyer, and medical records collected during the investigation supported the opinion that the man had suffered a broken nose.
McCormack said the officer was acquitted because the judge found that the man did not suffer a fracture.
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