The family of a man shot to death by a Peel police officer emerged from a nearly five hour meeting with the director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) on Wednesday with more questions than answers.
Jermaine Carby, 33, was shot and killed after the car he was in was pulled over near Kennedy Road North and Queen Street East around 10 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2014.
SIU director Tony Loparco ruled the killing was in self defence after Carby pulled out a knife and began moving toward the officers, goading them to shoot him.
Loparco agreed to meet with Carby’s family to address their concerns about the investigation – most notably, that the knife police said Carby was wielding when he was shot was moved by an officer.
In his report, Loparco said moving the weapon “was highly regrettable” and “cast a pall over the integrity of the SIU’s investigation.”
But in the end, it wasn’t enough to alter his decision to absolve the officer of any wrongdoing.
After emerging from the meeting, the family was unsatisfied with what transpired.
“Just by that interview it makes me question the integrity of the SIU,” said Carby’s cousin, La Tayna Grant.
“There was no knife found on the scene. Jermaine Carby’s prints were not found on the knife, just his DNA. The knife was given over to the SIU several hours after the event…that alone just shows me that there was no knife,” she alleged.
The SIU’s integrity and the Attorney General’s integrity has to be questioned.”
— Amanda Ferguson (@CityNewsAmanda) July 22, 2015
Grant also objected to the subject officer not being required to hand over his notes and said the version of events offered to the family was riddled with discrepancies.
Paul Black, President of the Peel Police Association, said the officer who pulled the trigger is “under no obligation (to hand over his notes) and has a constitutional right to remain silent.”
Grant’s mother feels something is amiss.
“Nothing has been resolved, it’s very emotional,” she said after the meeting with Loparco.
“It seems like it has been tampered (with)…they are always fumbling, they don’t have everything together.”
In his lengthy report, Loparco himself uses the word “tampered” to describe the situation after the knife was reportedly kicked out of Grant’s hand as he lay mortally wounded, put in a brown envelope and handed over to a sergeant.
But Black equated those comments to throwing “gasoline on a fire.”
“We know and I know we didn’t tamper with evidence,” he told CityNews. “There was nothing sinister about what happened there…tampering is a very strong word.”
The family isn’t convinced and is threatening legal action against both Peel police and the SIU.
In the meantime, John Sewell of the Toronto Police Accountability Association, believes the officer who moved the knife should be fired.
“This is a knife in the hand of a man dead on the ground, why are they doing this?” he said.
“And then for the chief to say ‘by the way, we are looking at our rules and procedures.’ The rules and procedures are perfectly clear, you fire the officer.”
When asked if the officer was open to charges of obstruction or tampering with evidence, SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon said Loparco ruled that the officer never “intended to obstruct justice when he removed the knife.”
“He put it in a brown paper bag, likely to protect fingerprints or other trace evidence like DNA,” she said. “And then he handed it to an acting sergeant. For those reasons he felt criminal charges were not warranted.”