Cops face charges for mock­ing woman

Fam­ily wants pub­lic apol­ogy for of­fi­cers’ re­marks about woman with Down syn­drome

Toronto Star - - GREATER TORONTO - FAK­IHA BAIG STAFF RE­PORTER

Two Toronto of­fi­cers caught mock­ing and laugh­ing at a woman with Down syn­drome on a dash­cam video in Novem­ber will ap­pear at a tri­bunal to face Po­lice Ser­vice Act charges, ac­cord­ing to a spokesper­son.

Con­sts. Sasa Sljivo and Matthew Saris were heard call­ing 29-year-old Fran­cie Munoz a “lit­tle dis­fig­ured” as she was sit­ting in the back seat of her mother’s Jeep dur­ing a traf­fic stop.

Her mother was be­ing tick­eted by the of­fi­cers for an al­leged traf­fic vi­o­la­tion. The in­ter­ac­tion on a dash­cam video showed the of­fi­cers call­ing Munoz “dif­fer­ent,” laugh­ing again, be­fore say­ing “Artis­tic. That’s gonna be my new code word for . . . dif­fer­ent.”

The two of­fi­cers face a po­lice tri­bunal hear­ing Aug. 15 to face charges un­der the Po­lice Ser­vices Act, Toronto po­lice spokesper­son Meaghan Gray said Fri­day.

Gray said fur­ther de­tails on the ex­act charges will be re­leased when they ap­pear in court.

In a let­ter dated Fri­day and sent di­rectly to the fam­ily, Sljivo and Saris apol­o­gized for their “in­ex­cus­able re­marks” and took full re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“We re­gret the emo­tional dis­tress we caused to you, your fam­ily and the broader com­mu­nity. You have our as­sur­ance that our lapse in judg­ment will not be re­peated,” the let­ter read.

The Munoz fam­ily told the Star that the tri­bunal wasn’t enough, and they want a pub­lic apol­ogy from the of­fi­cers.

“They in­sulted a whole com­mu­nity,” Her fa­ther, Car­los Munoz said Fri­day morning af­ter he had been told by the head of the Toronto po­lice union Mike McCor­mack that his daugh­ter won’t be re­ceiv­ing a pub­lic apol­ogy.

“The rea­son we are ask­ing for a pub­lic apol­ogy is so peo­ple can judge by them­selves whether the of­fi­cers are truly re­morse­ful for their ac­tions or if they are just up­set that they came off im­po­lite.”

McCor­mack told the Star in an email that re­peated at­tempts were made to ar­range an in-per­son meet­ing with Munoz and her fam­ily. “Mr. Munoz made a de­mand that he would not meet with the of­fi­cers un­less there was a pub­lic sham­ing,” McCor­mack said.

He added the of­fi­cers “have ac­cepted re­spon­si­bil­ity for their com­ments from the begin­ning and have al­ways wished to make a per­sonal and mean­ing­ful apol­ogy.”

“They have taken a lot of jus­ti­fied crit­i­cism from the pub­lic and their peers and re­gret their com­ments,” McCor­mack wrote.

“Mr. Munoz made a de­mand that he would not meet with the of­fi­cers un­less there was a pub­lic sham­ing.” MIKE MCCOR­MACK TORONTO PO­LICE UNION

The fam­ily of Fran­cie Munoz isn’t sat­is­fied with two Toronto po­lice of­fi­cers’ writ­ten apol­ogy for in­sult­ing her.

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