A Special Investigations Unit report into the death of Andrew Loku at the hands of a Toronto police officer last summer has today been made public.
The report states that an officer used “justifiable force” in the July 2015 shooting of the 45 year old after a confrontation in a third-floor hallway of an apartment at 502 Gilbert Ave.
Loku was armed with a hammer at the time and it’s said he walked toward police, carrying the weapon saying, ”what you gonna do, come on, shoot me.”
His death sparked outrage, with members of the group Black Lives Matter holding protests in the wake of his death and once again when the SIU cleared the officer that shot and killed Loku.
They had questioned police conduct when dealing with a person in crisis and had demanded that the SIU report be made public and that the officer who pulled the trigger be named.
The report says that though media coverage has noted Loku had mental health issues, there was no evidence that the police were aware of that fact and that his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit for driving at the time of his death.
Meanwhile, the report does not name the police officer who shot Loku, and only 10 of the 34 pages have been released with the province citing ”privacy and safety concerns as well as legal requirements” as the reason why the report has been redacted.
In addition to the report’s release, Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General says a judge will now conduct an independent review of the province’s three police watchdog agencies, including the Special Investigations Unit as well as the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.
Michael H. Tulloch, a sitting judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal has been appointed to lead the review.
He has been asked to provide the government with recommendations on ways to enhance the transparency and accountability of the province’s three police oversight bodies, while he has also been tasked with making recommendations as to how information in SIU reports could be made public in the future, as well as whether past SIU reports
should be made public.
Public consultations will also be carried out.
Speaking of the review, Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur says “our government is committed to a fair and effective police oversight system in Ontario. I am grateful to Justice Tulloch for accepting this important task. I am confident that through this process we will create a more transparent approach to police oversight that has the confidence of both the police and the public they serve.”
The final report containing all recommendations will be delivered to the Attorney General no later than March 31, 2017 and will be made available to the public.