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A Toronto police officer who had an interaction with a teen who died hours later has been charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault, Ontario’s police watchdog said Friday – a development the 19-year-old’s family called an important step toward accountability.

The Special Investigations Unit said it had reasonable grounds to believe Const. Calvin Au, who was off-duty at the time, committed criminal offences in the death of 19-year-old Chadd Facey.

An investigation found that two off-duty Toronto police officers met and interacted with Facey in Brampton, Ont., on April 26, 2021, the SIU said.

“Later that day, Mr. Facey was transported to hospital by ambulance where he was subsequently pronounced deceased,” the SIU wrote in a statement.

Au is charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault. He is set to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton on March 2.

Lawyers representing Facey’s family said the Brampton teen suffered serious injuries, including to his head, as the result of an alleged assault by Au.

Falconers LLP wrote that Facey’s mother, Fay Fagan, said her family has been waiting a long time to find out what happened.

“It has been clear to our family that there was some kind of misconduct that had occurred in respect of Chadd’s death,” she said. “We are happy to finally see that the officer is being held accountable for his actions.”

Asha James, the lawyer representing Facey’s family, said the charges represent an important first step for the family’s understanding of what happened.

“It is a clear message that whether on duty or off-duty, police are not immune from being held accountable for their wrongful conduct,” she wrote in a statement.

“This family has been suffering endlessly for two years, trying to understand what happened to Chadd and we are content that today, those responsible will be held to account for his death.”

Au’s lawyer, Peter Brauti, said he and his client “are obviously disappointed that the SIU laid these charges.”

Toronto police said Au, 33, has been with the force for eight and a half years and was most recently assigned to its 55 Division. He will be immediately suspended as a result of the charges per the Police Services Act, it said.

The force said it immediately notified the SIU once it learned in August 2021 about the off-duty incident, and will continue to fully co-operate through the court proceedings.

Toronto police said a separate internal investigation has been suspended while the criminal proceedings are ongoing.

An investigation by the force’s Professional Standards Investigative Unit into the conduct of Au and another constable who does not face criminal charges will resume once criminal proceedings end, police said. The findings of that investigation so far have been shared with prosecution services.

Both Au and the other officer will face a police tribunal for allegations of serious misconduct, the force said.

It will also conduct an administrative investigation by the police chief, as required by provincial legislation whenever the SIU investigates a case involving death.

“Any recommendations from these investigations with respect to procedures, governance and conduct will be carefully considered,” said Social Media Relations Officer Victor Kwong.

“As the matter is before the court, the service will have no further comment at this time.”

When asked about the charges against Au, Toronto Police Association President Jon Reid said “any death is tragic and impacts everyone involved.”

“We will continue to ensure our member is treated fairly throughout the process,” he wrote in a statement.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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