Toronto police officer faces hearing for use of 'excessive force,' as filmed by bystander
Video police tried to prevent bystander from recording shows Sgt. Eduardo Miranda appearing to repeatedly Taser a man during an arrest.
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Ontario’s independent police review director has mandated Toronto police chief Mark Saunders hold a disciplinary hearing after a video appeared to show Sgt. Eduardo Miranda’s repeatedly Taser and stomp on a man during a Jan. 24 arrest.
In the report, obtained by the Toronto Star, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) found that there was “evidence of misconduct” during the arrest.
Two of the complaints were deemed to have been “substantiated (as) serious,” including that Sgt. Miranda “used excessive force.”
“Clearly, in my view, this matter had to be investigated, not just based on the complaint filed, but also on the videos and so on. I see what’s on TV,” police review director Gerry McNeilly said.
“I found that the actions of the officer reached a threshold for misconduct based on the excessive use of force and I determined that it was serious. That means that the matter must go to a tribunal hearing. The chief has no choice.”
The hearing, which will be open to the public, will take place Sept. 26 at 9 a.m.
The report found that five constables and Sgt. Miranda, contrary to police orders, neglected their duty by failing to activate their in-car camera system microphones upon arriving at the scene.
“With regards to the other officers involved, I determined that there was misconduct, but that it was of a less serious nature. It was still serious, but I didn’t find that it met the threshold for me to send it to a disciplinary hearing,” said McNeilly, who was appointed Ontario’s first independent police review director in 2008.
“They still have to be disciplined, but it’s informal. If any of those officers refuse the informal discipline, then the matter must proceed to a tribunal disciplinary hearing.”
The arrest was captured on video by complainant Waseem Khan. In the video, Khan is repeatedly told that he isn’t allowed to record the arrest, even though citizens have a right to record police during their duties if they are not obstructing the officers.
For that, McNeilly found that Sgt. Miranda improperly directed a constable to interfere with Khan’s lawful presence in the area and with his recording of the incident, “thereby bringing discredit on the reputation of the Toronto Police Service.”
Khan will have full standing at the hearing.
He plans to attend.
“I hope that there’s some sort of accountability, because I think officers, just like any other citizen, should be held accountable when they go beyond the law or do something criminal,” he said Thursday.
“If he is found guilty of the allegations in this hearing, I hope that Toronto police services realizes that this is something that they have to act on and that he should be charged criminally as well.”
Khan said he believes the police are losing public trust and that this case will be revealing about their approach.
“If anyone else was to do that to someone, it wouldn’t be OK, so I don’t think anybody should be outside the law,” he said.
“It’s becoming more and more evident that it’s hard to trust the police.”
Toronto Police Association spokesperson Mike McCormack said Thursday that he will wait for all evidence to be unearthed in court before he comments on the case.
The Toronto Police Service did not offer any comment on it.
“Generally speaking, any matter of internal discipline is confidential until such time as the officer has made a first appearance in the Tribunal,” said spokesperson Meaghan Gray in a statement.