Toronto police Chief Bill Blair has addressed the recent behaviour of some of his officers, calling it unacceptable following a report that he issued a video blasting his force.
“The actions of a few that undermine the public trust, undermine the reputation and all of the good work done by so many people. It just can’t be acceptable,” Blair said on Tuesday following a Toronto Star report.
Several high profile instances have occurred over the last few years, bringing into question the legality of some officers’ actions – including lawsuits filed against the police for wrongful search and violation of human rights during the G20 in June 2010.
The province’s Special Investigations Unit was also called in to investigate a claim made by Toronto chef Raymond Costain, 30, who alleged he was struck several times in the back by Const. Christian Dobbs during an arrest for drunk driving in April 2010.
The incident was caught on the cruiser’s dashboard camera and a judge ruled the force used by police was “unnecessary, unjustified and excessive.”
Blair sent an internal video to officers on Monday not only bringing light to these alleged actions but also calling on other officers to report instances of wrongful conduct they witness.
“I’ve got thousands of people out there doing extraordinary things every day to make the City of Toronto safe. I’m proud of the work they do and I’m standing up for them and I’m asking them to stand up for themselves,” he said.
Blair said the actions of these few officers tarnishes the integrity of the 8,000-member force and undermines the public’s trust, and it is not acceptable.
“I have a responsibility, first of all, to the men and women in my service and secondly, and perhaps more importantly, to the people of Toronto. There is an element of trust that is given to us by the people of the city, empowering us to help keep them safe.”
Some of the other questionable actions made by officers include: turning off dashboard cameras, removing nametags so they cannot be identified and providing questionable testimony during trials, the Star reported.