More police accountability needed after SIU probes
It’s troubling that Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has highlighted new cases that involve problematic officer conduct by the Toronto police and that in some instances, the force violated their legal duty to co-operate with the watchdog, says Toronto criminal lawyer Matthew Friedberg.
“It’s a real problem that there is not more clarity and accountability in some of these matters,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com. “As a general principle, when there is an absence of consequences for peoples’ conduct, individuals tend not to be held accountable for what they do in the same way as when real consequences exist.”
Friedberg, partner with Caramanna Friedberg LLP, comments after the Toronto Star wrote about more than 150 letters sent from the director of the SIU to the Toronto police chief, which were obtained by the newspaper through a Freedom of Information request. The letters point to cases of what the watchdog deems problematic officer conduct that the SIU uncovered during its investigations of police-involved deaths, serious injuries or allegations of sexual assault, says the article.