SIU Concludes Investigation into Confrontation Between a Toronto Parking Enforcement Officer and a Man



    TORONTO, Sept. 9 /CNW/ - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has found
that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that members of the Toronto
Police Service (TPS) committed a criminal offence in connection with the
arrest of 21-year-old Aaron Francois last month.
    In the early morning hours of August 4, 2008, a Parking Enforcement
Officer (PEO) with the TPS was investigating a suspected stolen vehicle when
he was confronted by Mr. Francois, whom he observed to be armed with a
handgun. The car was parked in an area under police investigation due to the
high number of abandoned stolen vehicles located there recently.
    "The PEO was faced with a situation of grave danger and reacted with
force to meet the threat," noted Director of the SIU, James Cornish. "Shortly
after the confrontation started, TPS officers came to the assistance of the
PEO in the belief that a firearm was involved and while the man was still
struggling to evade arrest."
    Director Cornish concluded: "I am satisfied that the members of the
Toronto Police Service were proceeding lawfully to arrest Mr. Francois in all
the circumstances. The PEO confronted the man and found himself in a struggle
that he quite reasonably anticipated was for his life. The situation, in my
view, called for the use of force by the PEO and the officers who came to his
aid. The criminal law permits the use of force as long as that force is not
more than is reasonably necessary in the circumstances. Having carefully
considered the evidence, I am satisfied that the force used, consisting of
multiple hand and knee strikes to Mr. Francois' body, was no more than was
reasonably necessary to overcome Mr. Francois' resistance and effect his
arrest."
    Given the fact that the man is currently before the courts on serious
criminal charges arising from this very incident, the SIU will not be
releasing any more information to the public in order to protect the fair
trial rights of Mr. Francois and the public.

    The SIU is a civilian agency that investigates cases of serious injuries
(including allegations of sexual assault) and deaths involving the police.
Pursuant to section 113 of the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU is
mandated to consider whether a criminal offence has been committed by an
officer(s) in connection with the incident under investigation and, where
warranted by the evidence, to cause a criminal charge or charges to be laid
against the officer(s). The Director reports the results of investigations to
the Attorney General.





For further information:

For further information: John Yoannou, SIU Communications/Service des
communications, UES, Telephone/No de telephone: (416) 622-2342 or/ou
1-800-787-8529; For general information about the SIU, please visit our
website at www.siu.on.ca

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