Trial reveals Toronto police investigation into video leak - Fix Bdsthanhhoavn

Trial reveals Toronto police investigation into video leak

A Mississauga man who pulled a loaded handgun from his underwear and dropped it on the back seat floor of a Toronto police cruiser might beat his charges because the in-car camera video capturing the incident was leaked to the media.

Ali Showbeg, 39, who faces charges of firearm possession and refusing to give a breath sample, admits he was attempting to get rid of a mini Sig Sauer pistol after officers arrested him for impaired driving on Oct. 27, 2019.

The firearm went undetected during a pat-down by the officers who encountered Showbeg around 7: 20 a.m. in a parking lot near The Esplanade and Church Street. He had been driving a grey 2015 Toyota 4Runner that had significant damage to the front passenger side bumper and quarter panel and there was no tire on the front passenger-side rim.

After putting Showbeg in the back seat of a cruiser, Consts, Jason Hanson and Vanessa Lee drove northbound on the Don Valley Parkway toward 41 division in Scarborough so a breathalyzer test could be administered.

After hearing a lot of fidgeting from the back of the cruiser and “a clunk,” Hanson pulled the vehicle over below the Dundas overpass and spotted a firearm on the floor beside Showbeg’s feet. “It was quite terrifying,” Hanson told court, speaking via Zoom, adding that in his 17-year policing career he had never experienced a similar situation.

The encounter with Showbeg was captured by the cruiser’s in-car camera system and within days the footage had become a “viral sensation,” making newspaper headlines and airing on national television.

In-car video shows a handcuffed suspect in the back of a Toronto police cruiser pulling a firearm out of his pants. Police are investigating how that occurred after the suspect was searched and how the video was leaked to media.

Hanson testified watching the in-car video “made me sick to my stomach.” The “unwanted attention” that followed caused him stress and anxiety. He added he was “sort of disappointed in my colleagues” for the leak.

“Everybody’s viewing it without knowing what transpired and making a judgment on my actions.”

Defence lawyer Kim Schofield is asking Ontario court Judge Howard Chisvin to stay Showbeg’s charges, alleging his Charter rights were breached by the leak.

Former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders ordered “a full investigation into the leak of the in-car camera evidence which is a clear breach of protocol and procedure.”

Two-and-a-half years later, that report became Exhibit No. 4 at Showbeg’s trial — publicly revealing for the first time that the internal probe concluded the three officers involved in the search followed all the relevant procedures and did nothing wrong.

Because Showbeg concealed the firearm inside his “multiple layers of compression-style underwear,” the officers were unable to detect or locate the firearm during their initial search, concluded the report prepared by Det. Dan Powell, of Toronto police professional standards. Powell also noted the firearm was a small pistol and it was secured by a magnet.

Powell received statements from more than three dozen officers who viewed the video — including members of a Toronto police hockey team. But he couldn’t identify the person who leaked it to a media outlet. “It frustrates me to no end that this type of stuff gets out to the public. And if I could find out how it was done, I would have,” Powell testified last week.

However, his investigation found that Det. Kevin Hamilton improperly made his own copy and distributed it internally, which is “how it was started.” The report nonetheless concluded Hamilton only shared the footage with officers for training and education purposes. He was disciplined at the local division level.

“This portion of the investigation clearly highlights how fast and far-reaching information and intellectual property of the Toronto Police Service can be shared and disseminated,” Powell wrote in his report.

During the proceeding, Crown attorney Mark Friedman asked Showbeg why he was carrying a gun despite being under two lifetime prohibitions not to carry weapons. Showbeg explained he suffers from PTSD after being shot in 2015 and fears for his life. He is suing Toronto police and others for failing to protect him in that case.

The prosecutor also asked Showbeg about lying to a breath technician that he wasn’t driving that night.

“At that moment, I just got caught with a firearm in a police cruiser, do you think I care about drunk driving?” he testified incredulously via Zoom.

This week, the judge adjourned the case to August.

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