Ontarians are outraged to find out that a Toronto police officer who opted to drive away instead of responding to pleas to help a teenager who was preparing to hang himself has been acquitted.
It all started back in February of 2016 at High Park when a pedestrian walked by Alexandre Boucher, who at that point was tying a rope around a tree branch then putting the rope loop around his neck. At that point, the pedestrian called her husband for help who drove over to the park to try and help.
At that point, the woman's husband found a police officer, who he approached both to alert and ask if he could attempt to intervene. Instead of doing so, the officer, named Kyle Upjohn, claimed he was on another call and told the man to phone 911 instead. In reality, Upjohn had lied and by the time 911 responders arrived, the teenager had already killed himself.
Despite the horrific story, the judge on the case claimed that "however egregious the (officer's) conduct may have been and however seriously such conduct might tarnish the image of his police service and its members, no intent to use the public office for some improper purpose can be inferred from the record."
After the incident, Upjohn was suspended with pay in May of 2016 and has maintained that position regardless of his initial charges of both criminal negligence causing death, breach of trust and failure to provide the necessaries of life.
The criminal negligence and failing to provide the necessaries of life charges were eventually dropped early on by the prosecution due to lack of evidence. In January, the breach of trust charge was also thrown out by the court also due to lack of evidence.
While the court agrees that Upjohn showed a "shocking and complete disregard for duties," due to the lack of certainty that Upjohn's lack of action resulted in the suicide, it's impossible for any charges to be laid.
Moving forward, Upjohn may have been able to escape court without a charge, but according to a Toronto police spokeswoman named Meghan Gray, the internal investigation is just beginning as the police force was waiting for the court trial to finish.
Disclaimer: If you or anyone you know have is struggling with thoughts of harming themselves, please reach out to a trusted peer, parent or health care professional. You can also contact awhich is available 24-hours a day to talk. Or , for additional support resources.
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Source: Global News