Charges recommended by OIPRD for officers who threatened to seize phone of man filming arrest
Police are seen arresting an assault suspect near Dundas and Church streets on Jan. 24, 2017. (Provided)
Chris Herhalt, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, August 10, 2017 5:06PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 11, 2017 12:37AM EDT
A provincial police watchdog is recommending Police Services Act charges for Toronto police officers who threatened to seize the phone of a bystander who witnessed an arrest in downtown Toronto earlier this year.
The Office of the Independent Police Review Director says there are reasonable grounds to charge a Toronto police officer—identified in documents obtained by CP24 as Sgt. Miranda — with discreditable conduct for ordering another officer to “interfere” with Waseem Khan as he filmed officers arresting a man on the corner of Dundas and Church streets on Jan. 24.
Khan began filming several officers arresting a man after he said he witnessed one of the officers kick the suspect in the head and stomp on him. The suspect was then hit with a stun gun several times.
The OIPRD recommends that Sgt. Miranda also be charged with unlawful exercise of authority in relation to the use of force against the suspect.
In the video, an officer is seen ordering another to “get that guy out of my face please,” and two officers approach Khan and ask him to stop filming, threatening to take his phone if they do not.
One of the two officers then told Khan that the suspect they were attempting to arrest would “spit on” Khan and later said “you’re going to get AIDS.”
The OIPRD says this statement constituted discreditable conduct.
Khan told CP24 he later stopped filming because he was afraid police would seize his phone.
Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash said at the time that officers were originally called to the area because the suspect was allegedly spitting at someone.
The suspect allegedly punched the first officer that responded to the scene, knocking her to the ground. He then bit a construction worker who came to the officer’s aid.
He later kicked out the back window of a police cruiser, Pugash said.
Pugash said the officers’ threat to seize the phone was wrong, as police do not have the authority to arbitrarily seize phones.
The OIPRD also alleges a total of six officers that responded to the incident “failed to activate the In-Car Camera system microphones upon arriving at the scene of the incident, contrary to police orders.”
The Toronto Police service later issued an apology in relation to the AIDS comment.
The OIPRD says it ultimately up to Police Chief Mark Saunders to lay Police Services Act Charges and hold a hearing.