Cop facing misconduct probe says nephew wasn't impaired in crash

Cop facing misconduct probe says nephew wasn't impaired in crash
Cop facing misconduct probe says nephew wasn't impaired in crash

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الاثنين 10 يونيو 2024 04:27 مساءً

A Toronto police officer facing three misconduct charges for allegedly interfering with an investigation into a collision her nephew was involved in testified Monday that she would have arrested him if she suspected he was impaired.

Insp. Joyce Schertzer said her nephew, who is referred to as "Calvin" in the proceedings, was not under the influence when he crashed into a city-owned utility pole outside The Boulevard Club at 1491 Lake Shore Boulevard W. on May 1, 2022.

"I would've arrested him myself," said Schertzer, if she thought he had been drinking alcohol.

"At no time did I ever suspect, smell or had a hint of any alcohol whatsoever."

Schertzer spoke to the tribunal for the first time Monday, arguing she didn't visit the scene of the crash to interfere with the investigation but to check on her nephew. With his parents and sibling out of the country, she said she came to comfort and advocate for Calvin, who she said had a health condition that could affect his ability to communicate

She said that was the basis of her account of events when she contacted three different Toronto Police Service (TPS) superintendents, after a complaint came in from the traffic services unit, which was mandated to investigate the incident. This formed the basis of Schertzer's charges and hearing, which began last week.

Schertzer said she received the complaint after she and her daughter — who is a TPS constable — and Calvin left the scene that day, and she responded by sending her daughter and Calvin back to the crash site.

Documents presented to the tribunal allege that a TPS officer dispatched to the scene did not have a chance to determine whether or not alcohol might have been a factor.

Prosecutors alleged Schertzer circumvented the priority system to the benefit of her family. They argued she was the first to speak to her nephew at the scene, gathered information about the collision and spoke privately with the investigating officer, Const. Braden Doherty, before Calvin was advised he could leave.

Schertzer has pleaded not guilty to discreditable conduct, insubordination and neglect of duty charges under the Police Services Act.

On Monday, she refuted the allegations, saying she did not involve herself in the investigation, did not have a private conversation with Doherty and was the one to point out the damage to city property to Doherty, which prompted the traffic services investigation in the first place.

"He's a civilian that was involved in an accident, and the police would go to that call regardless," she said.

Earlier, she testified that she made the initial call to get police on scene.

"I never left there with any expectation that the investigation wouldn't continue."

Schertzer preoccupied with nephew's injuries: recording 

The tribunal previously saw videos of the crash. Calvin was driving a white pickup truck and trying to turn left on Lake Shore Boulevard from the country club's parking lot, after a security guard who was directing traffic signalled for him to move ahead.

In the video, the truck can be seen making a left onto the busy roadway, before narrowly missing a car that was heading east. The truck then proceeds into the grassy median to the north, before slamming into a pole.

On Monday, the tribunal finished listening to an almost two-hour-long audio recording between Schertzer and an internal police investigator in August 2022. In the recording, the investigator asked if it was possible Doherty would be "uncomfortable" charging his inspector's nephew.

She says no, adding that she tried not to give the impression she would be monitoring him and was preoccupied with her nephew's injuries.

Body camera footage from Doherty shows Schertzer speaking to Doherty as he arrives on scene, before directing him to Calvin, who is sitting in her car. Doherty and Calvin begin to speak, and at one point when Schertzer comes into view on his camera, she moves to stand behind her car, then later on the median.

Body camera footage shows Insp. Joyce Schertzer on May 1, 2022 talking to Const. Braden Doherty at the scene of her nephew's single-vehicle collision near The Boulevard Club at 1491 Lake Shore Boulevard W.

Body camera footage shows Insp. Joyce Schertzer on May 1, 2022, talking to Const. Braden Doherty at the scene of her nephew's single-vehicle crash near The Boulevard Club at 1491 Lake Shore Boulevard W. (Toronto Police Service Tribunal Exhibit)

Doherty was shown giving Calvin the go-ahead to leave the scene, with Schertzer saying they would be available if they were needed for anything more.

"From my perspective, everything that needed to be done had been done with Calvin," said Schertzer.

Later, the investigating officer suggested Calvin was sent home prematurely, preventing investigators who found out Calvin had been drinking the night before from giving him a breathalyzer test.

"This is just so wrong on so many levels, you know?" Schertzer said, her voice breaking. "He would blow zero, 100 per cent."

"But we'll never know," said the internal investigator.

Schertzer was working at 11 Division that day when she got a call from her daughter telling her Schertzer's nephew had been in a collision, the tribunal previously heard. After she was told about the crash, the tribunal heard Schertzer arranged for an officer from her division to be dispatched to 14 Division, where the collision happened.

Officers generally respond to calls within their respective divisions, though the tribunal heard 11 Division and 14 Division sit next to each other and the crash happened close to the boundary between them.

Schertzer said Monday she was unaware the club was outside of her district at the time of the crash, and did not specifically indicate a Division 11 officer should be dispatched to the scene.

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