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SIU clears Toronto officer in case of alleged fake taxi driver who ran over pedestrian trying to evade arrest

The province’s Special Investigations Unit. (File photo) The province’s Special Investigations Unit. (File photo)

The province’s police watchdog has cleared a Toronto police officer of any wrongdoing in the case of the driver of an alleged fake taxi cab who ran over a pedestrian while trying to evade arrest last August.

On Tuesday, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) released its findings into the Aug. 6 collision that occurred on Queen Street West and Bathurst Street and left a 31-year-old woman, designated as the complainant, with a fractured left foot.

Two Toronto police officers were trying to catch the driver of a vehicle allegedly fronting as a taxi cab when it happened.

“The investigation is now concluded. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the (officer) committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s injury,” SIU Director Joseph Martino wrote.

According to the SIU, two officers were travelling in a marked cruiser when one of them, referred to as a subject official (SO), observed a northbound “City” cab.

“The officers were aware of fake ‘City’ cabs in the area compromising the credit cards of unsuspecting passengers,” the SIU said. The SO checked the licence plate marker of the cab and discovered that it was a rental.

“That piqued his suspicion as he was of the understanding taxis could not be rental cars. The officers decided to stop the vehicle for investigation,” the SIU said.

The officers caught up with the vehicle, which had parked behind a concrete traffic barrier and in front of a pickup truck. The SO brought the cruiser to a stop at an angle in front of the vehicle that would prevent it from moving forward.

When the two officers got out of the cruiser, the driver reversed and veered onto the sidewalk, striking a female pedestrian. She was knocked down, and the vehicle ran over her left foot.

The SIU said the driver then accelerated westbound on Queen Street West through a red light. The two officers rendered aid to the woman and called for an ambulance.

Martino said the offences considered in the case were dangerous driving causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

“In the instant case, the question is whether there was any want of care on the part of the SO, sufficiently serious to attract criminal sanction, that endangered the Complainant’s life or contributed to her injury. There clearly was not,” the director said.

He added that he was satisfied that the SO comported himself with due care and regard for public safety during the interaction.

“Aware that the fake taxis in the area were known to take flight from police, the officer waited for an opportune moment to attempt a stop. With the vehicle positioned between a pickup and a concrete obstruction, the SO had reason to believe it was sufficiently blockaded with the addition of his cruiser by the driver’s side,” Martino said.

“The fact that the vehicle was able to maneuver out of the barricade suggests that the officer erred, but if he did so, I am unable to reasonably conclude his judgment was markedly substandard.” Top Stories


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