Update: see previous post – August 01, 2010 Damage$ Flowing from Charter Breaches
Police board demands a full report about Toronto Police Constable Sasa Sljivo’s conduct, after he admitted in court to stripping hundreds of suspects completely naked
Toronto police have launched an internal investigation into the conduct of an officer who admitted in court to stripping “hundreds” of people naked as part of routine searches.
On Thursday the Toronto Police Services Board demanded a report from Chief Bill Blair into the actions of Const. Sasa Sljivo.
The investigation began after the Star reported Sljivo’s testimony at the trial of Lerondo Smith, where the officer told court he stripped Smith naked, despite police policy stating that must not be done.
Sljivo then told court that was how he always performed strip searches because that’s how his coach officer, a police mentor, taught him.
“I was disturbed by the article,” said board chair Alok Mukherjee, who immediately sent Blair a memo seeking answers. “There is a clear policy that must be followed. The officer said he wasn’t aware of the case law.
Mukherjee told the Star he believes the report will be made public.
The board implemented a policy on “level 3” strip searches that dictates when and how a search is conducted, as laid out by the Supreme Court in 2001. Any evidence discovered during a fully naked search can be deemed a breach of Charter rights and tossed from court, thereby jeopardizing a case.
There must always be a piece of clothing on the person being searched. For example, if the pants and underwear are off, a shirt must be on, and so on.
Board member Counc. Michael Thompson brought the issue forward at the monthly board meeting Thursday.
“I’m concerned, this board should be concerned,” Thompson told the board. “If this is done in a way to intimidate the public, if that’s the case, then it shouldn’t be done.”
Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, in place of Blair, told the board the force has received the full transcripts of Sljivo’s testimony and reassured the board that the force follows the proper procedures.
“We take this very seriously,” Sloly said. “We will report back to the board on this in very short order.”
The report will be presented at the next board meeting on February 13, 2014.
“Our expectation that in the training that is built into that. This cannot be casual. It must be legally defensible. There are also requirements of approval, so there is a question of supervision . . . and not just casually getting or giving a signature.
Sljivo couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.