Thursday, January 28, 2016

Stop paying criminal cops

Earlier this week, a jury in Toronto found Constable James Forcillo guilty of attempted murder in the 2014 shooting death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim. Though the jury acquitted Forcillo on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter, relating to his first volley of three shots, it found there was no justification for the second volley of six, five of which struck the already mortally wounded Yatim.

When Forcillo fired the shots, he was earning a $103,967 annual salary. And he has continued to since. Following the charges, Forcillo was placed on paid leave for seven months. After seven months, he was back on the job, working in an administrative role at Crime Stoppers. Now that’s he’s been convicted, he has again been suspended, pending further legal developments — but once again, the leave is fully paid.

Ontario is the only province in Canada that allows charged — let alone convicted — police officers to continue to receive pay. Under the Police Services Act, officers facing criminal charges must be suspended with pay until they resign, are terminated or reintegrated, in a process that can take years.

Convicted officers, like Forcillo, can remain suspended with pay until they are sentenced to a term of imprisonment. After sentenced to imprisonment, it is at the discretion of the chief or Police Board to suspend the officer without pay. But even then, the officer keeps his job. And if an officer is convicted of a serious criminal offence and receives a conditional discharge (no prison time) the option of unpaid leave is not even available.

An officer can only be fired after a decision by a disciplinary tribunal, which can take years.  (more...)

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