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Toronto Police Services Board release statement about Sammy Yatim

The Toronto Police Services Board released a statement regarding Sammy Yatim:

The Toronto Police Services Board extends its sincere sympathy to the family of Sammy Yatim at this time of their grievous loss. The Board also very much recognizes the serious concerns expressed by members of the community at large as a result of this tragic death. Like Mr. Yatim’s family and other Torontonians, the Toronto Police Services Board seeks to understand the tragic events that transpired on July 26, 2013 in order that appropriate action can follow. For this reason, the Board notes with approval Chief Blair’s unequivocal commitment to do his part to obtain the answers that we are all seeking.

The Board believes that the investigations that are now taking place are of the utmost importance.

The Special Investigations Unit Regulation made under the Police Services Act establishes the process that must be followed in the wake of serious injuries and deaths that may have resulted from criminal offences committed by police officers. This Regulation sets out the responsibilities of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the chief of police, subject officers and witness officers. Chief Blair, in his statement of July 29, 2013, asserted that “This regulation is aimed at maintaining the integrity of the investigation and I intend to uphold it. We will co-operate fully in the SIU’s investigation”. For its part, the Police Services Board has, today, communicated to Chief Blair, its expectation that the Chief will do all in his power to ensure the full cooperation of members of the Toronto Police Service, particularly that of witness officers, with the SIU’s investigation.

The Board is confident that the Special Investigations Unit will conduct a thorough investigation in a manner that is as expeditious as possible given the complex circumstances.

The Board is also confident that, as required by the Police Services Act, Chief Blair will conduct a thorough review of all relevant policies, procedures and training related to this tragic event as well as of the conduct of members of the Toronto Police Service connected to this occurrence in order to determine whether the policies, procedures and training were adequate and whether they were appropriately followed. As Chief Blair has stated, the results of this review are to be reported to the Board within 30 days after the SIU director has advised the Chief that he has reported the results of the SIU’s investigation to the Attorney General. The Board has also communicated to Chief Blair its expectation that this review will be comprehensive and that it will provide the Board with sufficient detail to address the very serious questions that the Board has with respect to the tragic death of Mr. Yatim.

In the interim, the Board, as required by law, will await the results of both the SIU investigation and the Chief’s investigation.

The Board assures the community that it is fully committed and determined to do everything in its power to pursue answers to the questions which are troubling us all and to ensure that appropriate action is taken as called for by the investigations.