NEWS

Coun. Thompson fights complaint from 2 police board members

03/11/2014 12:33 EDT | Updated 05/11/2014 05:59 EDT
Coun. Michael Thompson is fighting a complaint that two of his fellow police board members filed after he publicly criticized the force in a newspaper interview.

A news release from the Toronto law firm Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan indicates that two members made a complaint about Thompson on Feb. 12.

According to the release, the complaint came after Thompson made comments to the Toronto Star, criticizing the force "for its strip search practices and over-spending" and also saying that he would not support renewing the chief’s contract.

The day after the complaint was filed, board members met to discuss it.

Thompson was not able to respond to the complaint, which the law firm says was also not put in writing as required. He also was not given a copy of the complaint.

The councillor, who is the vice-chair of the police board, was also not allowed to attend that meeting. But the law firm says the people who made the complaint were able to attend the meeting and vote on the issue.

The board found that Thompson had "potentially" breached its code of conduct. It has asked the Ministry of the Solicitor General to investigate.

But the law firm says the board is only able to ask for such an investigation if it makes a formal determination that the code has been breached.

It also says that criticism of the chief of police cannot be a violation of the code of conduct.

"To say that this is potentially a breach, as the Board has done, is to stifle public debate, violate free expression, and undermine the Board's own mandate of exercising vigorous civilian oversight of the Toronto Police," the law firm said in its release.

The law firm says that Thompson has retained counsel to bring an application for judicial review, which seeks to quash the board decision and block the ministry from investigating the complaint.

The police board is not commenting.

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