Complainant's memory challenged by officers' lawyers at Neptune 4 police hearing

Lawyers for two Toronto police officers accused of unlawfully arresting four teenagers in 2011 cross-examined the third and final complainant in a police discipline hearing on Friday.

3rd complainant’s memories of a violent 2011 arrest scrutinized by police lawyers

The 3rd complaint testifies at the disciplinary hearing of two officers. He accuses Constable Adam Lourenco of assaulting his friend. (Pam Davies)

Lawyers for two Toronto police officers accused of unlawfully arresting four teenagers in 2011 cross-examined the third and final complainant in a police discipline hearing on Friday.

The 22 year-old man was 16 — and therefore can't be identified — when he and three friends were arrested on Neptune Drive in the Lawrence Heights area by Const. Adam Lourenco and Const. Scharnil Pais.

Charges against the teens were eventually dropped while the violent confrontation led to the officers being charged with misconduct under the Police Services Act.

On Thursday the complainant told the hearing that on the evening of Nov. 21, 2011, Lourenco and Pais approached the group while they were walking outside of a public housing complex and said they matched the description of robbery suspects.

The complainant told the hearing that when the officers said he and his friends were not under arrest, they walked away. At the point, he said Lourenco became "angry" and punched one of the teens multiple times before drawing his gun.

On Friday, Lourenco's lawyer, Lawrence Gridin, attempted to cast doubt on the story by referring to inconsistencies between the version told at the hearing, in a police interview, and in an a complaint to the Ontario Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD).

"Would you agree that your memory of what happened that night is pretty selective?" Gridin asked.

"I disagree," the complainant answered. "There are some things I remember and some things I don't remember."

To Gridin's increasing frustration the complainant repeatedly said he could no longer recall when asked about specific details of the night of the arrest.

On November 21, 2011, a then 15-year old, his twin brother and two of their friends, aged 15 and 16, were heading over to a neighbourhood mentorship program after dinner in Lawrence Heights, where they lived. 5:36

When the lawyer attempted to expose errors in the summary of  the arrest in the OIPRD complaint, the complainant said he was "nervous" and "traumatized" when he gave that statement.

"I was nervous but was trying to tell the truth to the best of my ability," he told the hearing.

When Gridin put forward his version of events, the complainant's memory was clear on key moments in the arrest.

One of the teens was "belligerent" towards the officers, Gridin proposed.

"No," the complainant said.

The teen refused to listen, the lawyer said.

"Not true."

The same teen spat in Const. Lourenco's face, Gridin suggested.

"No," the complainant replied.

The hearing will resume 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. trevor.dunn@cbc.ca