A Toronto police superintendent is facing disciplinary charges after allegedly giving select constables a leg up during a recent promotional process by sharing confidential questions with them before their interviews.
Last fall, Superintendent Stacy Clarke, who oversaw the Community Partnerships and Engagement Unit, was mentoring six constables who were hoping to be promoted to sergeant, according to the notice of hearing filed under the Police Services Act. She was also a member of the interview panel.
On Nov. 10, she received an e-mail directing her to “cease all contact with applicants” by Nov. 25.
Yet on Nov. 29, according to the notice, she sent photos of confidential interview questions to three of her mentees to “advance their position in the process.”
The next day, it said, she sent the questions to three additional mentees.
Supt. Clarke had sat on interview panels both of those days. She was on another on Dec. 3, before having one of the mentees over to her house for three one-on-one mentoring sessions.
During one of those sessions, on Dec. 5, they did a mock interview, during which she posed questions “known to be taken from previous interview panels which [she] sat on as an interviewer,” the notice said.
Later, when she sat on that mentee’s interview panel, she did not disclose the extent of her relationship with him, or the conflict of interest it created, according to the notice.
It’s unclear from the notice how the alleged cheating came to light, and the police service declined to comment on Monday.
Supt. Clarke – who is suspended with pay – is charged with insubordination, three counts of discreditable conduct and three counts of breach of confidence.
She made her first appearance before the tribunal on Monday.
The hearing was adjourned until Feb. 23.
Lawyer Joseph Markson, who represents Supt. Clarke, said his client “is co-operating fully, and is very respectful of the process that now lies before her.”
In February, 2021, the 25-year veteran was promoted to superintendent.
Lauded for being the first Black female superintendent within the force – and only the second in Canada – she has been vocal about the importance of creating change from within.
She has worked in the community response unit, the youth bureau, intelligence, homicide and as an instructor at the police college. She was recently part of the service’s Police and Community Review (PACER) project, which focused on bias-free policing and enhancing public trust.
“I didn’t see myself in the Toronto Police Service before I joined,” she said in an April, 2021, episode of a TPS podcast.
She said in that interview that the killing of George Floyd – which sparked protests against police brutality across North America – “took an enormous toll” on her, personally and professionally.
Supt. Clarke faced criticism from protesters when she and Chief Mark Saunders marched in uniform at a May, 2020, demonstration on the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet. Ms. Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old Ukrainian-Afro-Indigenous woman, fell from her high-rise balcony when police were in her family’s apartment.
“They said ‘Why are you [here]? You shouldn’t be [here],’” she recalled on the podcast. “I said, ‘You absolutely want me here. … I have the ability to amplify the voices that are going to move towards changing some of the policies and procedures.’”
In interviews about her experience as a Black police officer, Supt. Clarke said she saw Black candidates pull out of the recruitment process after Mr. Floyd’s death, because of pressure from family and community.
Another Toronto police superintendent, Riyaz Hussein, was suspended with pay this month. He was charged criminally by the Ontario Provincial Police with impaired driving, careless driving and driving with open liquor after a two-car crash in Pickering. He was in charge of disciplinary hearings.
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