Toronto Lawyer Accuses Ontario SIU of 'Whitewashing' Shooting Incident
The Toronto lawyer struck by two bullets last year in a downtown shooting is accusing the province’s police watchdog of “whitewashing” the events that unfolded that day and faulting investigators for not unravelling a larger conspiracy behind his attempted murder.
Earlier this week, the Special Investigators Unit cleared a Halton Regional Police officer of criminal wrongdoing for firing three rounds at Grayson Delong as he tried to flee the scene where he’d allegedly shot lawyer Randall Barrs. Two of the officer’s bullets struck Mr. Delong, a degree of force the SIU called “legally justified” given that the gun-toting suspect was trying to escape and posed a danger to the public, according to a statement from the agency.
Mr. Barrs agrees with the SIU clearing the officer for shooting Mr. Delong, but questions why police didn’t take pre-emptive action and arrest him long before any blood was shed.
“I think they’re basically whitewashing,” he told reporters inside his downtown office, just steps from the driveway where he sustained two bullet wounds in his left leg nearly eight months ago.
“As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t have to get shot that day and [Mr. Delong] didn’t have to get shot that day.”
His contention stems from several new pieces of information that emerged in a SIU release on Tuesday.
The SIU revealed that a Halton Regional Police Service surveillance team started following Mr. Delong at 9 a.m. on Sept. 20 as part of a property-crimes investigation. The pursuit continued into downtown Toronto, where Mr. Delong parked his car, a grey Honda Civic bearing stolen licence plates, on Admiral Road, one block from Mr. Barrs’s office. He then stepped out of the Honda wearing a reflective construction vest and a blonde wig and stayed in the park for about one hour, the SIU stated.
The Halton officers suspected Mr. Delong was “preparing to commit a robbery” and alerted local police, according to the SIU. But no arrest was made. That’s where Mr. Barrs has issues.
“He was arrestable wandering around in that parkette for disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence,” Mr. Barrs said. “He’s got stolen plates on his car, he could be arrested on that. … What do [the officers] do? They do nothing.”
SIU director Tony Loparco explored this line of reasoning in the news release and came to the conclusion that, “while his activities certainly warranted suspicion, Mr. Delong was not arrestable for any offences prior to his approaching the male and discharging a firearm.”
Read more: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/toronto-lawyer-accuses-ontario-siu-of-whitewashing-shooting-incident/article34963828/