NEWS
07/14/2017 13:48 EDT | Updated 07/16/2017 03:49 EDT

Officers who called her daughter 'disfigured' and 'different' won't apologize on camera, says mother

The Toronto Police Association (TPA) is refusing to issue a public apology on camera, after two of its officers were recorded mocking and insulting a young woman with Down syndrome during a traffic stop, the mother of the woman says.

The officers described Francie Munoz, 29, as "disfigured," "different" and half a person. 

Pamela Munoz, Francie's mother, was pulled over by the two 22 Division officers in December 2016 with both of her daughters in the car for allegedly running a red light. The officer's comments were caught on dashcam footage. 

Munoz said her husband has been in touch with Mike McCormack, president of the TPA, about receiving a public apology from the officers in front of a camera, but he was told yesterday that wouldn't be happening.

"They feel there's no need to do it in front of a camera and if they did, if anything — maybe a written apology," she said, adding that a written apology wouldn't be authentic or sincere, since it could be written by a lawyer, the union or even a speech writer.

In response, McCormack told CBC Toronto that "repeated attempts were made to arrange an in-person meeting with Francie and her family."

"Mr. Munoz made a demand that he would not meet with the officers unless there was a public shaming," he added in a written email. He said Const. Sasa Sljivo and Matthew Saris have accepted responsibility for their comments and taken "a lot of justified criticism from the public and their peers and regret their comments."

A written apology was sent to the family, which McCormack provided to CBC.

Disciplinary hearing set for August

Pamela Munoz called McCormack's decision "very disappointing."

In addition to the taped apology, which Munoz said could be done privately without reporters, the family also wants the officers to become involved with the Down syndrome community.

An investigation was completed into the incident, she said, and the two officers will face a police tribunal disciplinary hearing on Aug. 15, which all four members of the Munoz family plan to attend.

Munoz's frustration was obvious when she spoke to CBC Toronto.

"Man up," she said to the officers. "It's obvious you said what you said, it's out on tape, it's not rocket science."

Better training for officers

"I feel hurt, it really hurt my feelings. I was disgusted by what they said about me," Francie said in June.

She'd like to see police officers receive better training for dealing with people with disabilities, something she advocates for herself through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). 

She appears in several campaign videos for CAMH, helping to educate people on what it's like living with Down Syndrome.