Saturday, August 09, 2014

"We are the police, you can trust us." ..... Toronto Police Officer

Good Day Readers:

Ever wonder, say, in the past 5 years how many Toronto police officers were disciplined for inappropriate conduct while on duty? What is required to get any reference to it expunged from their personnelfile? Does it stay with them for the rest of their career or can it automatically be wiped clean after "x" months/years?

Compare that with the case at hand were the obsessive-compulsive record keeping pack rats Dickweeds within the police department hoard every possible scrap of information related to a citizen's contact with the department even though it may be irrelevant, inappropriate, prejudicial, and discriminatory. Perhaps it's best Chief Bill Blair is on his way out.

Clare L. Pieuk
 Police behaviour in woman's background check 'malicious,' lawsuit alleges

Woman remains 'person of interest' in stepfather's despite lack of evidence according to allegations in a suit against Toronto police

By Robert Cribb
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Toronto Police Chief speaks to the media last year. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Toronto police displayed “outrageous,” “reckless” and “malicious” conduct in breaching the Charter rights of a Toronto woman whose police background check included false allegations implicating her in a family member’s death, a lawsuit alleges.

Simuoko (Sim) Frayne filed a statement of claim Friday against the Toronto Police Services Board, Chief Bill Blair and two police employees detailing $75,000 in damages, including undermining her employment and volunteer opportunities and threatening her ability to obtain legal custody of her niece.

The allegations have not been proven. No statement of defence has yet been filed.

Toronto police had yet to be served with the suit and had no comment Friday.

“There are thousands of people caught in this net and it has dramatic circumstances,” said Michael Crystal, Frayne’s Ottawa-based lawyer, who is considering a class-action lawsuit representing Canadians whose lives, careers and travel have been affected by unproven or false allegations that remain in police computers.

“What we’re looking for is a restoration of this lady’s integrity. She has never interacted with law enforcement and is not the type of person who will, and yet she’s had her life turned upside down by this.”

Frayne declined to comment. An event planner who volunteers with her church, she first learned on August 15, 2012, that she was the target of allegations made by family members.

At the time, she was seeking a police background check to gain custody of her niece through the courts.

To her shock, Frayne’s Toronto police background report indicated she was a “person of interest” in the “sudden death” of her stepfather two years earlier.

Family members had told police Frayne and another family member were involved in “foul play” in the death, including feeding the deceased expired food, removing his will and last testament from his residence and giving “consent to the hospital to remove the deceased from life support and dialysis knowing it would likely cause death,” the statement reads.

A police investigation at the time found no corroborating evidence. An autopsy revealed no signs of injury and concluded bacterial meningitis was the cause of the death.

The allegations against Frayne were dropped. But they remained on her record.

“Not only would this designation have a grave, even fatal, impact on the (Children’s Aid Society) custody process of her niece, it was particularly detrimental to Sim who made deliberate decisions at greater personal sacrifice to avoid allegations of criminal misconduct and impropriety, and instead dedicated herself to her family, her church, and volunteerism,” the statement reads.

In an email to Toronto police the next day, she wrote that she was “utterly shocked and angered” by the false accusations.

Frayne has volunteered with the deaf community, in seniors’ homes, with her church and spent 18 months of a religious mission abroad. She has no criminal record, the statement reads.

Earlier this year, she was awarded permanent custody of her niece after a long court process.

But her ongoing efforts to clear her name with Toronto police have been met with resistance, delays and outright denials, the statement of claim reads.

The Toronto officer who initially responded to her complaint said “no errors had been made, and that the designation ‘won’t be cleared’ on the file and nothing further would be done to change her status as a ‘person of interest,’ ” the statement reads.

“When Sim inquired as to the basis for this conclusion, (the officer) advised that ‘we are the police, you can trust us.’ ” (emphasis CyberSmokeBlog)

Frayne’s response that the nonconviction record was “tantamount to treating her as a criminal” was met with no response from the officer, the statement claims.

Her further complaints produced a letter approving the suppression of the records the following month. But after reviewing the details of the false allegations against her in the original police report she obtained through freedom of information, she decided suppression wasn’t enough.

She wanted her record expunged entirely, the statement reads. “She stated that these were false accusations and expressed her concerns about the possibility of her being profiled as a criminal,” the claim reads.

Being listed as a “person of interest” in a death in police computers means something as simple as a traffic stop by police could affect how she is treated by officers, said her lawyer.

“She could end up in custody while they tried to work out what these charges or potential charges may have been,” Crystal said. “That’s why it is so important to get out in front of this issue.”

In October 2012, Frayne filed a complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIRPD) in attempt to escalate her complaint. After a long administrative delay, the OIRPD referred the matter to the Toronto Police Service for investigation in March 2013, the statement reads.

With the complaint still outstanding five months later, she “became ill with flu-like symptoms as a result of the stress and anxiety from her situation with the TPS. These flu-like symptoms continued for almost three months.”

A review by Blair, quoted in the statement of claim, states: “I concur that the policing services provided for this event were appropriate under the circumstances.”

Last month, when Frayne appeared before the Toronto Police Services Board with her complaint, Blair acknowledged that the incident is “regretful” but that it did not amount to “misconduct”.

“(The record) should have been expunged from our system. An error was made. There was no misconduct there,” he said at the meeting.

While the board ordered a clarification from Toronto police, Frayne has yet to receive it, the statement reads.

An ongoing Star investigation has documented the routine disclosure of non-conviction records such as unproven allegations, withdrawn charges, mental health incidents and routine contacts with police in police background records.

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police has since decried the practice in new voluntary guidelines aimed at the province’s police forces. But Toronto Police Service officials have said they will not stop the practice pending further review.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has also expressed public concerns about the practice and asked for further information with an eye to the possible creation of legislation that would mandate what police can and cannot release to employers, volunteer organizations and U.S. border officials.

Read more about: Presumed guilty


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