Opposition calls for better metro cop complaint system in wake of viral video
Published Monday, March 18, 2019 2:05PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 18, 2019 7:38PM EDT
Weeks after a video of two STM agents getting into a violent altercation with a man in the Villa Maria metro station went viral, community groups and the City Hall opposition are calling for an independent investigation.
On Monday, city councillor Marvin Rotrand called the incident an excessive use of force.
“We’re asking for two things, an independent inquiry into this particular incident, with the right of the person and the witnesses to be heard and the results to be made public and second of all, a debate towards a civilian oversight system for metro police,” he said. “I point out that in Toronto the system, while not ideal, has an independent person handling complaints and if the complainant is not satisfied, he or she can go to the Toronto ombudsman. That’s not the case here, where once it’s closed, it’s closed.”
Shot by an observer, the video showed the two agents grappling with the man and striking him repeatedly with batons. The man in the video ultimately fled, leaving his belongings at the scene.
At the time, an STM spokesperson said the agents had been called to the scene because of passenger complaints and that, at first glance, the pair had acted in accordance with STM regulations.
However, witnesses said nothing about the man’s conduct had warranted having police called or their later use of violence.
STM chief Philippe Schnobb said an internal investigation was completed which showed the inspectors followed protocol, but added that investigators didn’t interview witnesses or the man in the video.
On Monday, Mayor Valerie Plante said even before the incident, the city was looking at the possibility of holding independent, external investigations for complaints against STM officers.
“Do we have to review, do we have to improve? Of course, let’s look into it. I’m definitely open to having independent investigations but let’s find the right formula,” she said.