Chief Julian Fantino has been a veritable Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in his views on the police watchdog special investigations unit (SIU).In public, he's quick to pump civilian oversight of police. Behind the scenes, he's worked to have the unit disbanded. Now, he's unilaterally decided that he'll be the one to decide when and under what circumstances the SIU will be called on to probe incidents involving police.
Julian Falconer, legal counsel for the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, will join a coalition of cop watchdog groups asking the police services board to put a leash on Fantino at its meeting this afternoon (Thursday, November 23).
They want the board to order Fantino to abide by the police-SIU protocol, which says that the SIU must be called whenever there's a police incident involving serious injury or death.
"This is totally ridiculous," says Falconer. "It runs contrary to the spirit in which the SIU was conceived."
A more ominous sign for Falconer has been the eerie silence from the attorney-general's office, which oversees the SIU. Falconer fears that the province, under pressure from police, will make short work of SIU director Peter Tinsley if he dares to take issue with Fantino.