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Verdict for Dafonte Miller case coming Friday

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

The verdict in the trial of a police officer and his brother charged with assaulting a black teen will be delivered online Friday, June 26.

Michael Theriault, a constable with the Toronto Police Service, and his brother Christian have been accused of aggravated assault against Dafonte Miller, a black teenager from Whitby.

Although judgement had been delayed until April 9, it was delayed again when the Superior Court was shut down due to COVID-19.

The verdict will now be livestreamed beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 26, as Judge Joseph Di Luca hands down the verdict.

The incident gained attention across the nation when it occurred in December of 2016. Miller and two friends had been walking through a Whitby suburb when, according to Miller’s lawyer, the Theriault brothers confronted them from their driveway.

Allegedly, the brothers beat Miller with a metal pipe. The attack left Miller with permanent vision loss in his left eye. The teen also suffered a broken orbital bone, broken nose and a fractured wrist in the attack.

Initially, when Durham Regional Police Services (DRPS) responded to the attack, they arrested Miller. He was charged with assault with a weapon, theft under $5,000 and possession of marijuana.

Months later the charges were dropped after the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigated the case on the request of Miller’s lawyer, Julian Falconer.

It was then that questions began to arise as to why DRPS or Toronto police didn’t contact the SIU. The organization is typically notified when a civilian is injured during a police-involved incident.

Falconer filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, alleging a cover up had taken place.

In response to the complaint, in August 2017 the DRPS announced a review of their policies and procedures for contacting the SIU would take place.

A little more than a month later, the DRPS announced sweeping changes to their notification guidelines, including that the SIU must be notified in any case where a Durham citizen is injured when police are involved, regardless of the police force.