In November 2011, members of the Toronto Police Service assaulted, pulled a gun on, arrested, and charged four Black teens as they left their homes in Toronto Community Housing and headed to a neighbourhood mentorship program.
The youth filed complaints. In 2021, two police officers were found guilty of unlawful arrest and discreditable conduct. However, despite drawing a gun on the youth, they were not found to have used unreasonable force. The hearing officer also did not find any indications of racially biased actions by any of the officers.
The public complainants have appealed the hearing officer’s decision to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC). The two officers also appealed the decision.
On November 21, 2021, BLAC published an article about the case on its website.
The public complainants filed their amended appellant factum in February 2023.
In part, the public complainants argued that the Hearing Officer failed to consider the social context evidence of anti-Black racism and the disproportionate use of force against Black communities in considering whether the officer used unreasonable force when he pulled the gun on the youths.
The public complainants also filed a responding factum to the officers’ appeals in March 2023. They argued that the guilty verdicts against the two officers on the unlawful arrest counts and the unreasonable force count against one of the officers should be upheld for various reasons, including that the officers were outside of the lawful execution of their duties because of sections 9 and 15 Charter breaches.
The OCPC heard the appeals on March 29-30, 2023. The public complainants were represented by BLAC’s Legal Director, Nana Yanful and criminal defence lawyer, Jeff Carolin.