Two Toronto cops who mocked woman with Down syndrome appear before tribunal

first_imgTORONTO – Two Toronto police officers who were recorded mocking a 29-year-old woman with Down syndrome should lose their jobs over their comments, the woman’s mother said Tuesday as the pair faced a disciplinary hearing.Const. Sasa Sljivo and Const. Matthew Saris made a brief appearance at a police tribunal before their case was adjourned to Sept. 19, though they did not say how they were pleading, nor were the Police Services Act charges against them read out.Sljivo is charged with misconduct related to the use of profane, abusive or insulting language, while Saris is charged with misconduct related to the failure to report Sljivo’s comments, which contravened the Ontario Human Rights Code, police documents show.The officers had previously issued a written apology, calling the Nov. 5, 2016 incident a “lapse in judgment.”But Pamela Munoz, whose daughter Francie was the subject of the comments, said that’s not enough. She said the officers should at least apologize in person, though she believes a harsher penalty is warranted.“In our heart, a great outcome would have been for them to leave the Toronto Police Service, because it’s shameful for our police officers to feel that way,” she said after the hearing.“At my work, if I made a comment like that, I would be out that same day.”Munoz said they had hoped the matter would be resolved in a day and are disappointed that the hearing was adjourned to next month. She said the family is also filing a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.The family’s lawyer, Faisal Bhabha, said the comments were made inside a police cruiser after the officers pulled over his clients. He said the comments were captured by the vehicle’s dashboard camera.The family only heard the comments because they decided to fight a ticket that was issued at the time and requested the evidence against them, he said.Bhabha said one of the officers is heard referring to Francie as a “half-person” and mocks her appearance. Some snickering and laughter can also be heard, he said.The case is less about what happens to these individual officers and more about “what the service is doing and what the police chief is doing to root out these sorts of attitudes,” Bhabha said after the hearing.“They’re trying to deal with this as a couple of bad apples rather than taking responsibility institutionally and coming to face the public and face, more importantly, the community of people with developmental disabilities to say, ‘yes this happened, yes this was wrong, and yes we’re going to do something about it,’” he said.last_img

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