Toronto police officers who mocked woman with Down syndrome attend discipline hearing

Sitting just a few feet apart, Francie Munoz — who has Down syndrome — looked straight at the two police officers who were caught on their dashboard camera mocking her, but the two men never looked back.

Francie Munoz was surrounded by friends and family at the discipline hearing for 2 Toronto police officers

Francie Munoz, 29, enters Toronto police headquarters to attend the discipline hearing of the two officers who mocked her during a traffic stop. (Trevor Dunn/CBC)

Sitting just a few feet apart, Francie Munoz — who has Down syndrome — looked straight at the two police officers who were caught on their dashboard camera mocking her, but the two men never looked back.

"It was bit awkward," Munoz said after the hearing.

"I looked at them. They did not look at me."

Constables Sasa Sljivo and Matthew Saris, both wearing dark suits, stood and stated their names as the hearing began.

Each is charged with discreditable misconduct and insubordination under the Police Services Act, in relation to a traffic stop last November. The pair were caught on their cruiser's dashboard camera laughing at Munoz and referring to her as "disfigured."

Family demands apology after officers caught mocking woman with down syndrome on tape. 2:40

Tuesday's hearing lasted less than 10 minutes as the officers and the Munoz family were provided with evidence disclosure and a return date was set.

Afterwards, Sljivo and Saris quickly exited the room, which was packed with family members, friends and supporters of Munoz.

"I'm really happy they came," she said. "It's a good thing to have my friends here with me."

Friends of Francie Munoz joined her at Toronto police headquarters for a discipline hearing in August. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Family demands public apology 

The officers sent a letter of apology to the Munoz family, but Francie's mother, Pamela Munoz, felt it was insincere and is demanding a public apology with the media present.

"It is very important. It doesn't just affect us. It affects our community. A lot of people have come forward with stories. It happens more often than you think," she said following the hearing.

Pamela Munoz, right, speaking with media following the discipline hearing of two Toronto police officers. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

In July, Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack said that the public apology would only serve to shame the officers and they declined to participate.

McCormack said the officers offered to meet with the Munoz family in private.

Police officers found guilty of misconduct can lose their jobs, which is the outcome Pamela Munoz is hoping for at the discipline hearing.

"I don't think they should be police officers. In my work, if I made a comment like that, I would be out that same day. It's not acceptable to speak that way about anyone," Munoz said.

The hearing resumes in September.

About the Author

Trevor Dunn

Trevor Dunn is an award-winning journalist with CBC Toronto. Since 2008 he's covered a variety of topics, ranging from local and national politics to technology on the South American countryside. Trevor is interested in uncovering news: real estate, crime, corruption, art, sports. Reach out to him. Se habla español.