External review highlights Toronto police failure to notify SIU in Dafonte Miller beating

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A long-awaited external review has concluded that Toronto Police made the wrong decision by failing to notify the province’s police watchdog about off-duty Officer Const. Michael Theriault grievously injures Daphonte Miller – an attack by Theriault that would later send him to prison.

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But Inspector Edward Boyd, the senior officer who decided not to alert the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) that day, has been retired, meaning Toronto Police will take disciplinary action on the recommendation of the Independent Reviewer, Waterloo Regional Police Service. Can’t consider. Work.

Waterloo Police’s findings are the latest development in a nearly five-year-old case that sparked public outcry—including the failure of two police services involved to call in Ontario’s civilian police watchdog, although they were legally required to do so. . ,


In a new report ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of the Toronto Police Board, Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said changes have been made in response to the Waterloo Police report so that the same mistake does not happen again.

“This investigation has identified significant changes to service procedures that will bring clarity and consistency to future SIU notification,” said a November 10 report by Ramar.

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It includes a detailed list of scenarios, describing when the SIU should be contacted about off-duty incidents, as the watchdog only investigates non-working police incidents under certain conditions.

Ramer has previously admitted that Toronto police “made the wrong decision” by not calling the SIU.

Theriault, a white officer, is serving a nine-month prison sentence after being found guilty of assaulting Miller, a black man, in the December 28, 2016 incident in Whitby. The violent conflict — which began after Miller stole change from the Theriault family truck, a judge found — left Miller with serious injuries, including being blind in one eye, and police brutality and anti-blackness. Inspired outrage and protest over racism.

Theriault has been suspended from the Toronto Police without pay. Ramar’s report said the force would seek their termination in future disciplinary tribunals.

In 2017, Toronto Police tapped WRPS to conduct a review of the force’s handling of the incident, when it was discovered that neither Toronto Police, nor Durham Regional Police officers who responded to the Whitby incident, called the SIU. informed about serious injuries to a civilian. by an off-duty officer.

Instead, it was Miller’s lawyer, Julian Faulkner, who informed the SIU months later, prompting a criminal investigation that led to the charges against Theriault. Faulkner alleges that police services attempted a “cover-up” of the incident, in which one was bleeding and Miller was injured – not Theriault – who was initially arrested by Durham Police.

According to an 11-page report from Waterloo, Toronto police officers “failed to follow procedure by not notifying the SIU of the incident at the time.” The same conclusion was drawn last year in a separate review by Ontario’s police complaints agency, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), an investigation inspired by a 2017 complaint by Miller.

Boyd, who was the Toronto Police Chief’s “designated SIU on-call” at the time, decided not to call the SIU with another senior officer. The Waterloo Report recommended that the decision of these officers “should be referred to the chief for discussion on appropriate action”, including discipline under Ontario’s Police Service Act.

But Ramer’s report said the second officer was a subordinate of Boyd and should not face discipline, and Boyd cannot be disciplined because he is no longer an employee.

The Waterloo Report also investigated allegations that Theriault’s father, John Theriault, had “unduely influenced” any decision regarding SIU notification in his capacity as an officer with the Toronto Police Professional Standards Unit at the time. .

The Waterloo report said John Theriault, who has since retired, was present at the scene “to support his sons after the collision”, which was not far from the family home. But Waterloo did not receive any “information or indication that he exercised any undue influence or became involved in the matter, or was involved in any decision regarding the notification of the SIU,” the report said.

Wendy Gillis is a Toronto-based reporter who covers crime and policing for Star. Reach him by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @wendygillis

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