Security screening at Toronto police HQ violates rights complainant says

By on October 17, 2019

first_imgTORONTO – Searching people who enter Toronto police headquarters to participate in disciplinary tribunals violates their constitutional rights, a complainant and his lawyer argue in calling for such hearings to be held elsewhere.The assertion is in a motion filed this week with the police tribunal adjudicator in which complainant Waseem Khan calls for a change of venue in light of the recently implemented security measures.“Police headquarters is not the appropriate place to have a public hearing and keep police accountable because of the hostile environment for civilians, particularly public complainants,” Khan says in his filings.Khan, 33, is one of two complainants in a misconduct case against Toronto police Sgt. Eduardo Miranda, who is accused of using excessive force in January by deploying his stun gun six times on a handcuffed man lying on the ground.Khan was video recording the takedown when officers on scene ordered him to stop, threatened to seize his cellphone, and suggested he could get AIDS from the suspect. Broadcast of the video caused an uproar and prompted the police service to apologize.Police spokesman Mark Pugash said the motion had just been received and it would be inappropriate to comment.Disciplinary tribunals for Toronto officers have long been held at police headquarters, which until recently had no special security at the entrance. In June, however, Chief Mark Saunders implemented measures that require visitors to go through metal detectors and have their belongings searched.The official police view is that the searches are not “involuntary” because the public has a choice about entering the building.At Miranda’s first appearance in late September, Khan’s lawyer Selwyn Pieters was also searched, a process he said he found uncomfortable and demeaning. In a letter to the prosecutor in the case, Pieters said he had no quarrel with the increased security.“However, as it relates to an administrative tribunal hearing where my client is a public complainant with standing, he, his lawyers, the media and any other observer must be able to attend with the minimal intrusiveness of their person and belongings.”In response to the letter, procedures were changed to allow lawyers with valid credentials to bypass the screening but Pieters says that’s not enough. No other administrative tribunal in the province subjects participants to such security measures, he said.The motion, expected to come before Insp. Richard Hegedus, the hearing officer presiding over Miranda’s case, formally requests that the hearing be moved to another building — such as a hotel — to get away from the security measures.“It would not result in unfairness or an undue hardship to the Toronto police service to move the tribunal,” Pieters says in the motion.Court filings unrelated to the current application make the case for the screening measures by including reference to security incidents at Toronto police buildings. In 2015, for example, a man attacked a female officer with a sledgehammer at a detachment, and, more recently, a knife-wielding man threatened to kill officers at headquarters.Insp. Stephen Irwin, who is responsible for national security investigations in the Toronto area, calls the current screening protocol reasonable.“Firearms, metal knives, explosive devices and other obvious weapons are less likely to make it into the interior of the building, thus enhancing the safety of those legitimately working and visiting the premise,” Irwin says in a court filing.last_img read more

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Family of 19yearold Good Samaritan shot and killed in Hamilton sue paramedics

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first_imgHAMILTON – The family of Yosif Al-Hasnawi, the 19-year-old Good Samaritan who police say was killed while trying to stop an altercation, is suing Hamilton’s paramedics and alleging they failed to properly treat the teen.Al-Hasnawi — described by police as a brave young man who was trying to do the right thing — was shot and killed last month after he tried to help an older man who was being accosted by two men outside his mosque.The two men have since been charged in connection with the death, and a criminal investigation into paramedics’ handling of the incident was launched last month and is being carried out by a neighbouring police force.Witnesses to the interaction criticized paramedics at the scene, saying that they took too long to treat and transport Al-Hasnawi and instead accused him of acting like his wounds were worse than they were.Al-Hasnawi’s father and two brothers have now launched a civil lawsuit, claiming that their tight-knit family is suffering from mental distress over the loss of the teen and that they suffered extreme emotional and mental distress as they watched Al-Hasnawi suffer while emergency crews allegedly failed to act.In addition to paramedics, the lawsuit names Hamilton police, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the two men charged in the shooting.A statement of claim provided by the family’s lawyer alleges that paramedics and police were negligent and incompetent when they failed to administer first aid or promptly transfer him to hospital.“The fact that the plaintiffs witnessed the condition of their brother-son in a critically ill situation with no assistance from the defendant ambulance crew members or the police was devastating,” read the statement of claim.The family is seeking $10 million in compensation for their personal and economic losses, as well as compensation for funeral and legal expenses.“The deceased also worked part-time to assist his father, the plaintiff Majed and his minor plaintiff brothers, Mahdi and Ahmed. The deceased intended to … assist his father and brothers towards attaining a comfortable standard of living,” read the statement of claim, which also noted the Al-Hasnawi was studying medicine at Brock University.“The untimely and tragic death of the deceased at the age of nineteen deprived his father and minor plaintiff brothers of his care, companionship, and guidance and also prevented him contributing to and elevating the standard of living of his (father and brothers).”Hamilton spokeswoman Allison Jones said the city has received notice of the lawsuit from the family and is preparing a statement of defence.last_img read more

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