Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) issued a press release today clearing Toronto Police Constable Rhoel Ong (5346) of misconduct in the arrest of Angela Turvey.
The press release opens by outlining the evidence obtained in the investigation: testimonies from Cst. Ong, a forensic investigator, 6 witness officers and 14 civilian witnesses as well as a CCTV video. Curiously absent is any specific mention of YouTube footage or what, if any, evidence the forensic investigator collected. They also held back the identity of Constable Ong referring to him as the "subject officer".
The report claims that the CCTV "video shows her swinging her arms twice at the officers". The video that would exonerate Cst. Ong in the public eye has not been released; even though the report claims it posessed "particularity" that "other videos" did not. The press release refers to this CCTV footage repeatedly without mentioning who provided it or where the camera was positioned.
The director of the SIU, Ian Scott stated that her arrest was not due to filming but that "it was her very close proximity to the officers and her refusal to back away from the arrest of another protestor that in my view gave the subject officer the lawful grounds to arrest her".
Despite acknowedging that Angela recieved a "minimally displaced fracture of the nasal bone, bruising around the eyes and a cut above her right eye which required seven sutures" Ian Scott said that "it is unclear whether the force used was excessive". Mr Scott concluded by stating that he could not "form reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer committed a criminal offence".
Cst. Ong has consistently made the Sunshine list since 2008, he earned $117,909.65 in 2011.
When reached for comment Ms. Turvey was quite upset with the SIU's decision. "The SIU relied soly on the CCTV camera, our footage wasn't good enough. I think it didn't show them what they wanted to see." She also said that "they aren't releasing the footage because it doesn't show me taking a swing at the officers. The only time I raised my hands was to protect my face, my camera or to get more footage of the police."
Ms. Turvey would appreciate the support of the activist community as her case moves to pretrial on July 24 at 9:00 am at Old City Hall. The hearing is scheduled for 40 minutes.