Ontario’s police watchdog was called in after two people were arrested following a shooting in downtown Toronto Tuesday evening.
A 24-year-old man was shot in the leg at a barber shop on Sherbourne Street near Bloor Street East shortly before 7 p.m., Constable Wendy Drummond said. The SIU was called in because later a man was injured when he was apprehended by police.
Constable Drummond said a 26-year-old man entered the barbershop and allegedly began shooting at a 27-year-old, but missed. A struggle ensued and the victim was assaulted before he fled to another room in the store.
The accused then allegedly continued shooting and struck a 24-year-old man, who suffered non-life threatening injuries, Constable Drummond said.
The suspect ran out of the shop and jumped into a car parked outside the store. A police officer, who was already in the area for an unrelated incident, arrested him.
The second suspect, the 28-year-old passenger of the car, took control of the vehicle during the arrest and drove off. He crashed into a pole and fled on foot. He was later arrested and injured during the arrest, Constable Drummond said.
A citizen’s video of the arrest, obtained by CTV, shows one officer repeatedly striking the suspect and another officer kicking him once. The video does not show what happened before the arrest.
Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said every use-of-force incident is reviewed.
“Chief [Bill] Blair was asked and he says he has seen the footage. He believes that the city is safer today with those arrests, but all use of force is looked at,” he said, adding, “Any assessment of use of force has to look at the circumstances of the case…We have two shootings, a crash, fleeing, so everything has to be looked at.”
When asked whether the citizen’s video would be considered in a review, he said, “All evidence is considered.”
Constable Drummond said the two suspects face firearms-related charges, including attempted murder, and police also recovered a loaded gun.
A spokesperson for the Special Investigations Unit, Jasbir Brar, said it is looking at injuries sustained during the actual arrest, not as a result of the pursuit.
“That’s what we’re trying to determine right now, if [the injuries] are serious and whether they meet the threshold of the SIU’s mandate,” she said.