Police chief Mark Saunders is standing behind his officers following a remark in an Special investigations Unit report, which suggested that a non witness officer in the shooting death of Andrew Loku violated the rules by trying to access video footage of the incident.
Loku was shot to death by a Toronto police officer at an apartment building on Gilbert Avenue, in the Caledonia and Rogers roads area, on July 5th, 2015, following an altercation in which Loku had waved a hammer over his head.
The SIU cleared the Toronto Police officer who shot Loku of any wrongdoing, however in the report which was partially released on Friday, SIU Director Tony Loparco said “the issue of the police improperly accessing the video and concerns about ‘gaps’ in the video were brought up by residents at the building and members of the CMHA,” adding that “following the shooting, a non-witness officer saw fit to attempt to review and download the video recordings captured by cameras”
He concluded that he had ”not as yet heard an adequate explanation for the officer’s conduct.”
On Monday, a written statement was issued by Mark Saunders to address the issue, with the Police Chief defending the officer’s actions saying that they have a ”legal onus” to secure all evidence.
He said that the officers actions were in line with Ontario Regulation 267/10 section 4, which reads:
“The Chief of Police shall ensure that, pending the SIU taking charge of the scene of the incident, the police force secures the scene in a manner consistent with all standing orders, policies and usual practice of the police force for serious incidents.”
Saunders went on to say “because of this, my officers attempted to locate and secure the video. Due to technical difficulties, they were unable to. They did not review the video, nor did they download the video. An officer was posted to security the scene until technical assistance could be contacted. The SIU, in fact, downloaded the video at later time. The SIU’s forensic examination states that no tampering took place.”
He also remarked that the SIU had representatives on scene at that time and that ”at no point did they question, contradict or prevent my officers from carrying out this responsibility.”
Just 10 pages of the 34 page report were made public on Friday in an unprecedented move, following pressure from the group Black Lives Matter to publish the report into Loku’s death.