Detective John Theriault , a Toronto police officer, has been removed from his position with the Professional Standards Unit following a complaint that he interfered with an investigation into his two sons being charged with severely beating Dafonte Miller, a Black teenager, last year, according to Mayor John Tory.
“My understanding is he [John Theriault] is no longer in the Professional Standards Unit at this time. The rest has to unfold now in the investigation,” Tory told reporters on Tuesday.
A complaint filed to Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) by Miller’s lawyer Julian Falconer in August alleged that police attempted to protect Constable Michael Theriault and his brother Christian Theriault from criminal charges.
The complaint alleged Detective John Theriault repeatedly contacted Durham Regional Police to access information relating to the investigation into his sons Michael and Christian Theriault. It said John Theriault provided false information about injuries suffered by Christian “to aid in the concealment of the crimes” allegedly committed by his sons.
Michael and Christian Theriault were charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and public mischief in connection with Miller’s injuries, which included damage to an eye so severe it will have to be surgically removed.
According to Falconer, Miller and two friends were walking down Erickson Drive in Whitby, headed to the home of another friend, when two men tried to confront them and began chasing them with a pipe. Miller’s friends managed to escape, but he did not.
Miller is reported to have called 911 during the attack in front of two witnesses who were never interviewed by Durham Regional Police.
Neither Durham or Toronto police notified the Special Investigations Unit about Miller’s injuries. The SIU was instead alerted to the incident by Falconer in April, which led to charges being laid against the Theriault brothers.
“It is profoundly unacceptable the entire notion that any person could be beaten to the point that they lose the use of their eye by police officers whether they’re on or off duty,” said Mayor Tory.