Wednesday, April 28, 1999
Craig Bromell, the combative head of Toronto's police union, has made bashing the Special Investigations Unit almost a full-time job.
To listen to Bromell, one would think the sole purpose of the civilian watchdog agency is to lay criminal charges against officers, whether they're warranted or not.
Such tough talk makes rousing rhetoric. But it flies in the face of the facts.
Twice in recent months, Toronto officers who were the subject of SIU probes sat down and told investigators their side of the story. both times, the officers were cleared of wrongdoing.
In the first case, the SIU which probes all cases involving police that lead to death or injury was called in when a 39-year-old man died after a violent struggle with officers last November.
Officers who are the subject of a criminal probe by SIU aren't compelled to speak to the agency, but the eight subject officers in this case all agreed to be interviewed. SIU director Peter Tinsley concluded there was no reason to think they acted improperly.
The second, more controversial, probe was into the police chase that killed Ilce Miovski, a Macedonian priest, last month.
The death of the popular priest outraged his family, upset the community and brought renewed calls for tighter controls on police chases.
If the SIU were truly on a witch hunt, this was a case in which we would have expected charges.
But no. After reviewing the results of a month-long investigation, which included a statement from the officer involved. Tinsley, concluded there was no reasonable grounds for charges. Indeed, he said the officer had acted with "careful regard for public safety."
Bromell's self-serving bluster aside, officers can get a fair hearing from the SIU.
But he's never been one to let facts get in the way of a good rant.
|Toronto Police clippings|
Created: October 9, 2000
Last modified: October 9, 2000
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