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Police accused again of failing to notify SIU following assault allegations

Last Updated Aug 24, 2017 at 8:52 pm EST

The lawyer for a young black man who allegedly suffered injuries at the hands of police says they will be launching a civil lawsuit and human rights complaint.

The 25-year-old claims he was coming out of his North York apartment just after midnight in November 2015 when he was approached by police just as he was getting into a cab. They told him they were looking for a suspect who fired shots in the area and when he couldn’t provide identification, he says they dragged him from the taxi and put him in a headlock.

“I was kneed in my back, I fell face forward on concrete and then I was assaulted by the officers,” he said.

He claims he drifted in and out of consciousness and was eventually released only after his mother showed up and provided ID. He was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion and required crutches for a knee injury.

He was never charged by police.

The province’s Special Investigations Unit, the watchdog agency that is supposed to be called when a civilian is seriously injured, was never called.

An investigation was eventually launched by the SIU and OIPRD, another police agency watchdog, only after his lawyers from the African Canadian Legal Clinic alerted them. Constable Joseph Dropuljic has been charged with one count of assault.

“The police are clearly not following their obligation and not be abiding by their obligations under the police services act,” said Margaret Parsons of the African Canadian Legal Clinic.

It is the second time this summer the SIU was notified by lawyers, not police.

Michael Theriault was charged last month in the beating of Defonte Miller in Durham.

While this man’s physical injuries aren’t as severe, he says his emotional ones are and that he is still dealing with panic attacks and nightmares.

“It’s a feeling you can’t explain, helplessness,” he said. “Since that day, I can’t explain the emotions. A lot of sadness, a lot of pain, a lot of suffering.”

CityNews attempted to get a comment from police but chief Mark Saunders said he cannot comment because the matter is before the courts.