Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jan 2016
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Chris Doucette
Page: 4


The hits just keep coming for Toronto cops.

The already low morale among police officers was dealt another blow
Thursday with the news that four of their colleagues are charged with
perjury and obstruction of justice.

"It's definitely having an impact on morale, but the officers who work
in this city will keep doing their job to the best of their ability,"
Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack said.

He said cops can't help but be concerned about how the public
perceives them in the wake of the criminal charges for allegedly
planting heroin during a bust and lying under oath at Nguyen Son
Tran's trial.

But McCormack reminded citizens that Const. Jeffrey Tout, Det.-Const.
Benjamin Elliott, Const. Michael Taylor and Det.-Const. Fraser Douglas
are innocent until proven guilty.

Chief Mark Saunders announced the charges at police headquarters first
thing in the morning - one day after Const. Tash Baiati was charged
under the Police Services Act for shooting up a suspected stolen car
last fall; two days after the chief launched an internal investigation
because police were accused of ignoring the Crown's advice when they
charged a Brazilian soccer star with sex assault; and three days after
Const. James Forcillo was convicted of attempted murder for the
shooting death of Sammy Yatim in 2013.

"It's been an anomaly week when it comes to our service," the city's
top cop said.

Saunders said professional standards investigators will "scrutinize"
other cases involving the accused officers to ensure there was no 

McCormack said the probe will likely include "a significant" number of

"But unfortunately this is what has to be done when there are
allegations of this nature," he said.

The police association boss applauded the chief for maintaining his
promise of transparency and said the charges show cops are capable of
investigating their fellow officers.

One veteran cop, who asked not to be named, said it's unfortunate all
the negative police news came out the same week.

"That impacts public perception, making it appear these things happen
all the time," the officer said."But in reality these incidents
occurred over two years. "It's very frustrating." The officer also
noted the four cops are actually accused of "moving drugs" they
allegedly found in the car, "not planting drugs."

"It's not like they're accused of grabbing a bag of heroin from a
cruiser and dumping it on the dashboard."

Sukanya Pillay, executive director and general counsel for the
Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said laying charges against the
officers "sends an important signal to the public that no one is above
the law."

"Accountability and ending impunity are vital to a free democracy and
to Canadians."
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