August 3, 2010
The new Office of the Independent Police Review Director says it has so many complaints against police to investigate it can't handle them all — so it's enlisting the help of the police themselves to tackle the problem.
The OIPRD was established last fall "to provide an objective, impartial office to accept, process and oversee the investigation of public complaints against Ontario's police," says a notice on the organization's website.
But some who have filed complaints are showing their frustration.
In February, Chris van Hartskamp and a friend were in sleeping in a parking garage stairwell.
Van Hartskamp, who is homeless, said security guards attacked them.
He admits he and his friend had been drinking but says the security guard's actions were excessive.
"They had me handcuffed and they were beating me up and everything," he said.
The security company claims it was van Hartskamp who did the fighting.
Van Hartskamp wouldn't back down. He complained to Toronto police but nothing seemed to happen.
In his frustration he filed a complaint with the OIPRD - but they sent his complaint back to the police.
Gerry McNeilly, the head of the OIPRD, won't discuss individual cases, but insists all complaints will be investigated.
Since April there have been 1,500 complaints — many of them related to the G20.
McNeilly says most get sent back to police to look in to because he doesn't have the staff to fully look through all the complaints without some help.
McNeilly says the police investigations will be different with the OIPRD oversight.
"I have the ability to take investigations back if I'm not happy with how the investigation's unfolding. I have the ability to give directions to chiefs," he said.
Van Hartskamp isn't convinced.
"I think it's just, like a merry-go-round. I don't think nothing's going to happen really, I really don't think nothing's going to happen," he said.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
August 3, 2010