Dafonte Miller says he needs more than an apology from Toronto police
This week Toronto police finally admitted mistakes were made in the Dafonte Miller case but the remarks, made much too late, are ringing hollow.
On Thursday, James Ramer, Toronto police’s new interim chief, admitted police made the “wrong decision” in not calling the Special Investigations Unit after Miller suffered life-altering injuries in a beating from off-duty Toronto police officer Michael Theriault in Whitby in December of 2016. The assault left Miller blind in one eye.
Dafonte Miller did release a comment, through his lawyers, saying: "Sincere apologies are important, public— Wendy Gillis (@wendygillis) August 7, 2020
relations exercises are not. I believe that true accountability comes from professionals owning up to their mistakes." pic.twitter.com/lCDZnSTJNF
On Friday Miller issued a statement saying Ramer’s press conference came as a surprise but indicated the statement was a “public relations” exercise, adding "I believe that true accountability comes from professionals owning up to their mistakes. I have never heard from former chief Saunders.”
@TorontoPolice, how can an off duty officer stand by and watch another off duty officer blind a man, break his arm and not get reprimanded?? #BlackLivesMatter. This is beyond shameful. Assault victim Dafonte Miller responds to OIPRD report Fridayhttps://t.co/erXilkcZJd pic.twitter.com/NGEuTg72ha— Jeff E-A (@jesselampah) August 7, 2020
Many agree with Miller, including Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder Sandy Hudson.
“To me that apology is simply not enough,” Hudson told CTV News. “It is consistent with a number of different actions that police have taken that have been harmful to our community.”
The entire policing system needs to be defunded and reform, she said.
“Without any other concrete shifts, to me, it’s meaningless.”
Meanwhile, Miller’s lawyer, Julian Falconer, alleged there was a police coverup noting several police officers connected to the case, including Theriault’s father, have retired.
"Somebody had to do a lot of work to keep this secret," Falconer said.
Earlier this summer, Theriault and his brother Christian Theriault, faced charges of aggravated assault and obstruction of justice. Both of them pleaded not guilty. Michael Theriault was found guilty of assault, but not aggravated assault. He was also found not guilty of attempting to obstruct justice in connection to the case.
Christian Theriault was found not guilty on both counts.
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