Ontario Ombudsman to do case assessment on police de-escalation guidelines
TORONTO (July 31, 2013) – Ontario Ombudsman André Marin has directed his staff to conduct a case assessment to determine whether or not an investigation is warranted in the wake of the recent Toronto Police shooting of Sammy Yatim.
The assessment, to be conducted by the Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT), will examine the direction and guidelines provided by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to Ontario’s police services for de-escalating situations that could potentially result in the use of force.
“The Ministry has the power to set standards for Ontario police services,” Mr. Marin said. “The latest shooting by a Toronto Police officer raises the question of whether it is time for the Ministry to direct Ontario police services on how to de-escalate situations of conflict before they lead to the use of fatal force.”
The Ombudsman’s case assessment will not affect the ongoing investigation by the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Mr. Marin stressed. However, as part of his ongoing follow-up to previous Ombudsman probes involving the SIU, his office will monitor the SIU’s work, particularly any issues relating to police co-operation.
A case assessment is always the first step in any Ombudsman investigation. SORT was established in 2005 to handle major systemic investigations. Staff have been directed to complete this assessment as quickly as possible, Mr. Marin said.
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