A coroner’s jury has found that a Toronto man who died after a police traffic stop near York University two years ago, died of restraint asphyxia.
The jury has also ruled that the death of 18-year-old Junior Manon was accidental.
Manon was pulled over by police just after 6:30 p.m. on May 5, 2010, on Steeles Avenue West, just east of Founders Road.
When one of the officers present attempted to arrest Manon for breaching his bail conditions, the Toronto man ran.
The two officers pursued Manon on foot and brought him down on the ground.
One witness told the inquest that the officers beat Manon with a police radio, while another witness said she saw police slapping him in the face. Toronto police Const. Michael Adams told SIU investigators that he and his police partner delivered and received punches from Manon.
The teenager soon stopped breathing and he was without vital signs when paramedics arrived at the scene.
Manon was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
A pathologist later determined that Manon had died of “positional asphyxia" following struggle and exertion.
The Special Investigations Unit later cleared those officers and agreed with the pathologist's conclusion about Manon's death.
Julian Roy, the lawyer representing the Manon family, said the verdict indicated that the jury didn’t believe the testimony of the officers, who claimed the deceased Toronto man was never held improperly.
“The officers said Junior Manon was never on his stomach and they never applied any pressure to his back. The jury’s verdict speaks otherwise.”
Amanda Manon, the dead man’s sister, said her family now knows “the truth” about what happened to her brother two years ago.
“The way that they held him down was what caused his death,” she said.
However, the officers’ lawyer, Gary Clewley, said Manon’s own actions played a part in his death.
“It was the subsequent pursuit that he initiated that resulted in him being in any kind of prone position. We didn’t put him there,” Clewley said.