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June 2 2008
Coordinator, Access and Privacy Section,
Toronto Police Service,
40 College Street
Toronto, M5G 2J3
Re: File Number 073075
Thank you for sending our research group the material we requested under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, file number 073075, and thank you also for waiving part of the research fee. Our group was seeking the missing data for all police occurrence sheets and arrest reports for a previous information request, file number 051925, relating to police activity in Dufferin Grove Park between January 2002 and September 2005.
The data your office sent us were helpful to our inquiry. I enclose the results of our analysis, for your files. However we are concerned that there might be some omissions or incomplete entries in the data we received.
There is a reason why we’re wondering about the completeness of the records. During the period covered by the documents, there were several police visits to the park that were known to our researchers but incompletely documented in the records we received. Two instances of particular concern are:
1. November 7 2003: a young woman in the park was i.d.’d and taken away in handcuffs. Officer 5404 said there was a warrant out for her arrest for breach of probation. The woman’s 3-month old baby was crying but the officer refused to let the woman breastfeed or take her baby along to 13 Division (the arrest warrant was supposed to be from there). A park user who was observing was told that if she spoke to police about letting the baby be fed before the mother was taken away, she (the park user) would also be arrested. It turned out that, although the young mother was indeed on probation, she had not breached her probation and there was no warrant – there had been a computer error and the woman was released shortly after her arrival at the station.
Our question: The occurrence card, for Nov.7 2003, 10 pm, simply states “arrest.” Does this mean that a case of wrongful arrest is never documented, or is there another form we should have asked for?
2. September 5, 2005: Two City staff and four park users reported seeing police in Dufferin Grove Park with a rifle, questioning youth near the basketball court. There were four police cars, and the observers said that one officer had a rifle raised up a few meters away from the youth. After about 10 minutes, the officer holding the rifle put it away into the police car. Afterwards, police were reluctant to answer questions but one officer said that
The Occurrence report for that day simply says: “S/S” – subject stop – giving that officer’s badge number. And there was no occurrence card or other report re any shooting in the park at any time.
Our question: Does the absence of information about the drawn gun or rifle mean that instances involving their use are not documented? Or is there another form that we can obtain, with more detail of this event? Can we assume that the officer’s comments about the previous shooting in the park can be discounted because of the absence of an occurrence card?
The officer’s comment to park users, about a previous shooting in the park, and about this extremely popular park being dangerous, was one of the reasons for the original freedom of information request.
If these reports are incomplete or even missing, our group is concerned that other reports may be incomplete as well. Could you let us know whether we should have been asking for a different form in addition to the occurrence reports and arrest reports, to gain a more complete picture of police activity in the park?
Jutta Mason Administrator, CELOS