“I am reopening this investigation” — SIU Director Ian Scott.
Nobody saw that coming!
The Special Investigations Unit is calling Chief Bill Blair’s “tampered” video bluff.
But the bigger question might be ‘Is this the beginning of the end of his reign as Toronto’s chief of police?’
Welcome to your first day on the job Mayor Rob Ford.
“Chief Blair keeps digging himself in deeper and deeper,” NDP MPP Peter Kormos said Tuesday. “His desperate allegation that the tape was altered and his failure to address the brutal police behaviour portrayed on the tape, is insulting to the Ontario public.”
Sadly a full public inquiry into the G20 has yet to be called but the SIU will at least take a second look at the sick YouTube video of the alleged group assault on protester Adam Nobody.
The SIU said it couldn’t lay charges in the alleged assault of Mr. Nobody, because they couldn’t identify the officers.
But Blair still protested: “For the SIU to rely on a YouTube video as corroboration of an allegation against a police officer, a video that has clearly been tampered with...raises serious questions about the quality of their investigation.”
Showing it won’t be intimidated, the SIU responded that it has “received a sworn statement from Mr. John Bridge who stated that he took the video in question” and “under oath that he did not revise or edit any of the images.”
SIU Director Ian Scott said he “will be asking Chief Blair to provide the SIU with any further relevant information he has with respect to this incident and more specifically any forensic evidence in his possession regarding the allegation of tampering with the video tape.”
Through Const. Tony Vella, Toronto Police’s response was: “By law we can’t comment on an SIU investigation.”
Suddenly the chief is at a loss for words.
But Monday Blair commented the SIU’s mandate “is to examine serious allegations against police, investigate them thoroughly, professionally, and objectively” and that is “does not appear to have been done in this case.”
Mr. Nobody is hoping they get it right this time.
There are also other questions. Who decided police should stand down when vandals trashed the city? Who later decided to respond with what to me seemed like unconstitutional force and how could 1,000 people in a free society be arrested and detained for no legal reason?
Another question is why did former mayor David Miller’s man with a contract until 2015 lash out when the SIU did not even charge his officers?
It is puzzling since he’s been silent on the half-dozen kids recently killed in gunfire but used the police’s website to make this statement.
One theory is he issued a rallying cry among the rank-and-file to support him as he moves into the uncertain political waters of a new frugal, cost-cutting mayor and a new, potentially more right-leaning, police services board.
Wonder what kind of support he’ll get if those officers are now charged?
But now that his actions have sparked a new SIU investigation, the police board should be asked if he should remain at the helm during the probe.
While it is true many front-line officers were professional, clearly some, as Scott wrote, used “excessive” force.
With his organization’s integrity under scrutiny, it is amazing Blair has not called for his own investigation rather than lecture the SIU.
“Blair needs to step aside so the independent inquiry can take place,” one police insider told me. “He has injected himself into the current investigations and how they are done by governing bodies. All of the complaints that come back from the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) go to him to decide for discipline. He has already shown at minimum the appearance of not being impartial.”
With a credibility problem stemming from a number of issues since the G20 Summit — the phantom five-metre arrest law, evidence on display purported to be seized at the protests but wasn’t and his recent outburst agains the SIU — one suggestion is to reinstate recently retired deputy chief Keith Forde in the interim.
“He is respected in the community,” said the insider. “Blair has lost that.”
Kormos said Blair’s ability to lead the Toronto Police Service is in doubt.
“Chief Blair has inserted himself into the serious misconduct of police officers during the G20,” Kormos said. “He can no longer pretend that he is above the fray. Blair has damaged himself considerably and should acknowledge that the public, and maybe more than a few cops, has lost confidence in him.”
It’s never been a good idea to mess with Mr. Nobody.
I am sure the officer(s) involved will be thrilled that Chiefs action's have prompted the SIU to reopen an investigation into their conduct. Way to go Dingus!
VanB wrote:He did say nothing, until Scott came out saying they didn't have proof, but that the unnamed cops "probably" were guilty. The SIU's mandate isn't to speculate, it is to investigate and impartially present evidence to reach a decision. It would be the same as me arresting a guy for setting a church on fire, not being able to come up with a case strong enough to support charges, and then holding a press conference saying "this guy probably did it, but we aren't going to be able to charge him." Canada doesn't work like that. Blair did the right thing in sticking up for his guys, and he waited to the appropriate time, when SIU claimed it's investigation was over. Their claim that his comments and the revelation about the video constitute "new evidence" only goes to show what a shitty investigation they did in their quest to smear the reputation of the Toronto Police.
Makes sense. Point taken.
They need to quit moaning to the media about how they are unable to substantiate grounds to lay charges. It's unprofessional, and it isn't their place - their place is charge if warranted, or don't charge if not warranted.
The police investigate plenty of incidents where we can't substantiate charges, but we don't run to the media with speculation.
I support Chief Blair's comments, and don't find his move "dingus"-like at all. Furthermore, the fact that SIU is re-opening the investigation, using the same youtube video just shows that their original investigation was clearly problematic. New information isn't out - it's the same information. SIU is calling it new information because TPS publicly stated that the youtube video is tampered with- which is plainly obvious to me, but apparently wasn't obvious to them. And these are the people who are supposed to be investigating police for serious incidents... quite worrisome.
Maybe Blair's use of the phrase "tampered with" was inaccurate, if the guy with the camera is to be believed, but it CLEARLY isn't a real-time record of what happened, there's a time gap. Two seconds or twenty, a lot may have happened off-camera that will remain a mystery. There's no one on that tape who can likely shed any more light on the situation either.
Imagine if the police held a press conference every time they KNEW a guy was guilty but didn't have enough evidence to lay charges?
VanB wrote:So he can't publicly commetn on the issue when SIU is investigating the matter, and cops all want to see more support from their management, but when that same management comes out supporting those members against a retarded statement made by SIU he's a "dingus?"
He's a dingus for poking the bear with the same inflamatory language the SIU used. If he had kept to saying something along the lines of "We would like the SIU to only deal in the realm of fact and not publicly issue "speculation" about what they believed happened but can't prove. We support our officer fully in this regard" Something like that. Adding the whole btw "that video was shite, it was doctored, and WE can prove it" is more less challenging them to a pissing match, and the SIU accepted.
Toonces wrote:The thing is, the SIU were speculating that excessive use was probably used. Well guess what... that isn't their mandate. Their mandate is to determine if criminal charges are warranted.
I am not familar with the SIU's mandate since as a Special Constable I do not fall under their mandate; so please excuse the question: Then why is the SIU investigating?
VanB wrote: Canada doesn't work like that.
It does when charging police officers.
The SIU appears to be going above and beyond in order to lay some sort of charge. I'm sure it's not politically motivated.........naw.
SHAMROCK wrote:I am not familar with the SIU's mandate since as a Special Constable I do not fall under their mandate; so please excuse the question: Then why is the SIU investigating?
I could be wrong but they are only to investigate allegations, if there are no grounds then it's not their job to speculate whether or not there should have been. Which appears to be what they're doing.
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