Police board will commission review of missing persons cases in Toronto, mayor says
Codi Wilson, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2018 8:46AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 14, 2018 9:22PM EDT
Mayor John Tory says the Toronto Police Services Board, not the police chief, will be initiating an independent review into missing persons cases in the city amid concerns about the handling of the Bruce McArthur investigation.
Last week, the police chief voiced his support for an external inquiry or review after the police service confirmed that an internal probe by the professional standards unit was underway in connection with the case.
Without elaborating, police spokesperson Meaghan Gray said “concerning” information had come to light that “will be disappointing to some members of the community.”
Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga, who is lead investigator in the McArthur case, has confirmed that he was the one who filed the report with the professional standards unit.
“I found something that was brought to my attention by some of the investigators on the (Project) Prism team where I think the actions of the Toronto Police Service need to be further investigated as to what they did or what they didn’t do,” he told CTV News Toronto last week. “I put that to paper and it is for them (Professional Standards) to investigate. It is not for me to investigate.”
Tory quickly called for an external review of the way the Toronto Police Service handles missing persons reports.
In a statement issued earlier this month, the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP) asked that the police board, an independent civilian body that oversees the Toronto Police Service, be the one to commission the review to ensure it is fully independent.
In a statement sent to CP24 on Wednesday, Tory said he reached out to ASAAP last week to stress that his motion to the board will make it “very clear” that it is the board requesting the review.
This was later confirmed by CTV News Toronto. Shakir Rahim, board member of ASAAP, said the alliance heard from Mayor Tory on Friday.
“In our discussion with the mayor, ASAAP has emphasized that the independent review must be commissioned by the Toronto Police Services Board,” Rahim said. “We are pleased that will be the case. Going forward, it is vital that the LGBTQ and other communities have a direct role in developing the scope and procedure of the review. The review must be guided and informed by the communities calling for accountability and change.”
“The Chief looks forward to hearing the details of the Board’s plan at the March 22 meeting,” Gray said in an email to CP24 Wednesday.
Police allege that McArthur, who has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder, was responsible for the deaths of multiple men who went who went missing from the village.
Some of the men were the subject of two separate missing persons investigations, dubbed Project Houston, launched in 2012, and Project Prism, which began last summer.
McArthur was first charged in January in the deaths of two men and four more charges were subsequently laid.
Police have located the remains of at least seven individuals on a Leaside property where McArthur stored items for his landscaping business.
Investigators are still working to identify all of the remains.