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Questions at vigil for man who fell from high-rise window during police negotiations

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Dozens of family members, friends and community members attended a vigil Tuesday night for Taresh Bobby Ramroop on what would have been his 33rd birthday.

Ramroop fell to his death on Oct. 13 from his 16th floor apartment, the top floor of his building near Jane Street and Finch Avenue West while Toronto police were responding to a call.

CTV News Toronto has viewed video of a man dangling from the top floor. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating.

“He left the world far too soon,” said his mother Debbie Indal. “My life will never be the same.”

Ramroop’s family say he lived with depression, loved his job at FedEx and his family. They say his death could have been prevented with better mental care rather than a police response.

“He was telling people at work he wanted flowers, and instead they ended up bringing him flowers for his funeral instead for his birthday,” said sister Vanessa Persaud.

People attending the vigil released balloons, lit candles and shared a moment of silence.

Toronto police say they received calls around 4:30 p.m. from people reporting to see furniture, including an air conditioner being thrown from the top floor.

They say members of its emergency task force along with tactical paramedics responded.

A statement from Chief James Ramer said a man had barricaded himself and because of that, it wasn’t the type of incident the Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams (MCIT) would be deployed to, given the elevated risk of harm.

MCIT partners police with a mental health nurse. Police say a psychiatrist was called to the high-rise but didn’t make it time.

“The Emergency Task Force is a multi-faceted specialized unit that includes highly trained officers and specialists in negotiations, de-escalation and effectively working with persons in crisis. All of our officers receive mental health training that is trauma informed, and are trained to prioritize a safe resolution, the safety of the individual, and to determine the options that are available for their care, and how to de-escalate,” said Ramer.

“Our members’ singular goal in these situations is the safe apprehension of the person in crisis to get them the supports they need. Any loss of life is deeply felt by our members.”

Ramroop’s family believes he was trying to escape police. Images shared by the family with CTV News Toronto show a police officer in the lobby of the building with a battering ram shortly before 7 p.m., the time police said Ramroop fell and died. Other images show a broken door inside Ramroop’s unit. According to his sister Vanessa Persaud, these were taken the following morning.

Images shared by the family with CTV News Toronto show a police officer in the lobby of the building with a battering ram shortly before 7 p.m., the time police said Ramroop fell and died. (Supplied)

Ramroop’s family alleges they were unable to see or communicate with Ramroop for six hours because police put them into the superintendent’s office. They said they were notified of his death several hours after he fell.

Ramroop family also claims more than 20 officers attended the call. The SIU hasn’t said exactly how many officers attended but do say three officers arrived and tried to negotiate with Ramroop and three additional officers tried to negotiate from an adjoining balcony, while other officers were at the ground level to hold the scene.

“In the course of negotiations, the man fell from the apartment window to the ground below,” said a SIU news release.

Ramroop’s family is also questioning why a safety net wasn’t placed, or other piece of equipment wasn't used to catch him, or why someone was not in apartment below to catch the 32-year-old.

CTV News Toronto reached to the City of Toronto, referring CTV’s question to police. Police said they don’t use the equipment the family was referring to.

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