By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The court case for Toronto police officer Michael Theriault and his brother Chirstian, accused in the beating of Black teenager Dafonte Miller, has been put over until the fall.
After a brief discussion in an Oshawa courtroom on Aug. 10, the case was moved to a Sept. 7 court date to allow lawyers to review further disclosure. The details of the court case are currently protected under a publication ban.
The case stems from an incident in December of last year when 19-year-old Miller and a friend were walking through a Whitby suburb and confronted by the Theriault brothers outside their family home. Michael was off-duty at the time.
A fight broke out and Miller was left with severe injuries, which his lawyers reportedly claim came from a metal pipe.
The DRPS responded to the call and after providing medical assistance to Miller, he was charged with several offences, including two counts of assault with a weapon, theft and possession.
Since that time, the incident has come under intense scrutiny when it was made public that neither the Durham nor Toronto police services reported the incident to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), responsible for investigating incidents of citizen injury when a police officer is involved. It wasn’t until Miller’s lawyer informed them in April that the SIU became aware of the incident, and on July 18, following their own investigation, charged Theriault with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and public mischief. On July 21, the SIU laid the same charges against Theriault’s brother Christian.
Currently, the Waterloo Regional Police are conducting a review into the handling of the case by the Toronto Police Service, while the DRPS are conducting their own internal review.
DRPS Chief Paul Martin defended his decision not to report the incident to the SIU, noting that under current legislation it is the responsibility of the police force that employs the officer to make that call.
“This is not something we’ve ever come across, in my knowledge, this type of issue. So when you don’t have a precedent, you don’t have anything else to go by, you go by the legislation and the legislation, contrary to what may be out there and what’s been reported, is quite clear and that is that the chief that employs the officer is responsible for notifying the SIU,” he previously told The Oshawa Express. “I’m satisfied we provided the information that we had at the time to Toronto Police Service and as far as their decision, that’s been very well reported.”