Dafonte Miller Says Toronto Police's Apology “Does Nothing To Build Bridges”
"They are simply making it worse for me and my family."
A young man assaulted by an off-duty police officer wants to see more from the service. In a live news teleconference on August 7, Dafonte Miller slammed Toronto Police, saying they have not shown accountability after he was beaten to the point of losing an eye in 2016. An apology was issued Thursday in a Interim TPS Chief James Ramer’s first briefing since former Chief Mark Saunders retired.
Miller spoke live on Friday, claiming that a confidential report by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) showed that then-Chief Saunders was not informed on the matter for five months.
“The chief's press conference and the OIPRD report came as a complete surprise to me and my family,” Miller said. “Sincere apologies are important, public relations exercises are not."
Miller added that he has never heard from Saunders. "Sadly," he said, "this does nothing to build bridges — they are simply making it worse for me and my family."
Julian Falconer, Miller’s legal defence, also spoke.
“What is crystal clear is that the concerns over a coverup are legitimate," he stated. "How it was orchestrated remains a question. That the chief is able to claim ignorance as a defence is obvious.
"Somebody had to do a lot of work to keep this secret.”
During the apology issued Thursday, the new interim TPS chief, James Ramer, admitted that police were "wrong" not to notify the Special Investigations Unit on the night of the assault.
“As a result of that decision, trust has been broken between the police, Dafonte Miller and the broader community. For that, on behalf of the Toronto Police Service, I want to apologize,” Ramer continued.
Just one month ago, almost four years after the incident, Michael Theriault, the off-duty Toronto police officer in question, was.
He was not found guilty for the higher charge of Aggravated Assault.
Miller’s case has drawn immense attention and has amplified calls to defund Toronto Police Services.
Last month, Nathan Phillips Square wascalling on the Toronto City Council to cut the service’s budget.