On the same day the Coroner investigates Toronto police for the death of a teen and the ‘biggest corruption case’ in its history, Mayor Ford makes the most undeliverable promise of his administration. Are Toronto’s cops becoming a state-within-the-state?
“Fact finding and not fault finding” repeated the Coroner’s counsel, Frank Giordano, last Monday, Jan 16. This is nature of a mandatory Coroner’s inquest that occurs when a civilian taken into police custody dies under their watchful eye, and Junior Alexander Manon was dead within 9 minutes of his contact with Toronto Police on May 5, 2010.
One witness determined the time to be 6:40pm when Junior fled from a vehicle at Founders Rd. on York University campus. The 911 call was made at 6:43pm. His vital signs were declared irretrievably absent at 6:49pm. Manon was dead, and 7 officers were present.
The dastardly contradiction of this case is that the family and many of the 28 total witnesses declare that Manon was unfairly beaten and assailed. Let’s not use euphemism, murdered. The family’s lawyer, Selwyn Pieters, explained:
“There was blood all over. He had a neck brace on. His eyes were black and blue. The issue of a heart attack is a fiction. It seems that he died from physical force. He was a healthy young person,”
The official cause of his death was determined to be positional asphyxia as concluded by Ontario’s chief forensic pathologist, Dr. Pollanen. The police had tackled him face down and in a justified quest to handcuff him, sat on chest with so much force that oxygen couldn’t find its way to his lungs.
This information was revealed on Monday Jan 16, 2012 by the Coroner’s counsel at Manon’s inquest. Like all such inquests, these investigations are only to establish the facts and not to determine fault. Despite evidence to the contrary, no one will be charged. Even if the facts confirm guilt, the bodies supposedly mandated with policing the police will remain insufferably powerless. Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit, like the Coroner’s office, is cloistered by the same institutional docility.
The Manon inquest commenced at 10 am on the same day as the ‘biggest corruption case’ in Toronto Police history.
As the Toronto Star reported, “one-time members of elite Team 4, all accused on a slew of assault, extortion, attempt to obstruct justice, conspiracy and perjury charges.”
It took 14 years to deliver these allegedly corrupt cops in front of a judge let alone to justice. 11 years since the investigation, four and a half years since the preliminary hearing. Justice Ian Nordhemier said the only efforts by Toronto cops in assisting the prosecution were “glacial delays.”
Present at the Manon inquest was the head of the federation of Toronto Cops, Mike McCormack, their spokesman and paid prizefighter. He strolled in late and smug to Manon’s inquest and went over reassuringly to the constables Michael Adams and Sgt. Stuart Blower, patted their shoulders where they sat at the first 10 minute recess around 11:30am.
Mike McCormack is himself an offspring of the “glacial delays” school of justice evasion within the force. He was repeatedly brought to court for shadowy handshakes and unquestioningly accepting of money and favours from all-too-real sleazy car salesmen.
It was discovered that McCormack, head of the Toronto Police Association, was circulating internal memos claiming Manon did not die by a malicious police hand. He said: “My concern was that the information wasn’t forthcoming and this was starting – if you look on the Internet and the media – rumours around his death that were starting to erode relationships between the community and the police.” The erosion of amity between police and Toronto youth is not because of the Internet, Mike, it’s that the oversight bodies of the Toronto Police are so designed that they cannot find an officer culpable even when the fact-finding inquest determine otherwise.
His corruption charges fell through due to the glacial delays in giving statements, of following through with their investigations, of confecting stories. The Judges remarks on his personal character are damaging. Yet his brothers and sisters on the force resoundingly voted this man as their elected representative advancing their “interests.”