Toronto

Regis Korchinski-Paquet's family files complaint with police oversight body, claims misconduct, negligence

Korchinski-Paquet's family says it is asking the independent civilian oversight agency to recommend an investigation into various aspects of the case, and the SIU's response, centring around allegations of misconduct and neglect of duty.

Complaint to OIPRD comes months after SIU cleared police of wrongdoing

The family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet has filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director. The 29-year-old fell to her death from her 24th-floor apartment balcony last spring while police were in her home. (Newediuk Funeral Home)

The family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who fell to her death from her 24th-floor apartment balcony last spring while police were in her home, has filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD).

The public complaint comes a few months after the province's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) cleared five Toronto police officers of wrongdoing in the death of the 29-year-old. It was filed by Korchinski-Paquet's father Peter Korchinski, and shared with CBC News by the family's new lawyer, Jason Bogle. The family was previously being represented by lawyer Knia Singh.

In the lengthy complaint, Korchinski-Paquet's family says it wants the independent civilian oversight agency to recommend an investigation into various aspects of the case, and the SIU's response, centring on allegations of police misconduct and neglect of duty.

The complaint says no one in the family saw any police officers act in a way that showed they were following de-escalation techniques, or acting on mental health training.

"Regis is a Black and Indigenous person who was living with a disability she did not understand; and the side effects of which she could not control ... As best she could, she coped with unpredictable seizures that were severely disruptive, and destabilizing to her mood," the complaint reads.

"On occasions where Regis proved more than the family could manage, they called for emergency services. Every single time the family made such emergency calls, their expectation was that the police officers and first responders who attended were trained to handle the situation."

Police need to be held accountable, parents say

Peter Korchinski and Claudette Clayton-Korchinski, the parents of Regis, told CBC Toronto they filed the complaint because they want answers to questions about their daughter's death and they believe the police need to be held accountable for their actions that day. The police were called for a wellness check, they noted.

They said the months since her death have been very hard.

"They pushed her in the hallway in her chest. That's assault right there. And you are telling me, that when she got into the apartment and you kicked everyone out of the apartment, you didn't have hands on her? That's the questions that need to be answered by the OIPRD," Peter Korchinski said.

Claudette Clayton-Korchinski said the family doesn't really understand what happened that day in the apartment. She said if the police were charged, that would make her feel a bit better.

"We were told to stand outside and that's what we did. All we know was, our daughter went in one door and didn't come out the same door. I guess that's hard," she said.

Regis Korchinski-Paquet's parents, Peter Korchinski and Claudette Clayton-Korchinski, say they filed the complaint because the family believes the police need to be held accountable for their actions that day. (CBC)

Toronto police declined to comment on the complaint, citing the OIPRD process. Similarly, the OIPRD itself would neither comment, nor confirm receipt of the complaint. 

"The director believes that commenting on allegations of police misconduct in the media would compromise his ability to then investigate these allegations in a fair manner," a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement.

Special Investigations Unit named in complaint

The sole agency that would respond to questions from CBC News was the SIU, which is also named in the complaint.

In it, the family alleges that the SIU's characterization of Korchinski-Paquet and the events surrounding her death as laid out in the agency's report was "inconsistent" with what they knew about her, and missing  "crucial information."

The family also alleges that while the SIU was conducting its investigation, "leaks of information were being passed to news outlets regarding the direction of their investigation."

SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon refuted those allegations in an emailed statement.

"The SIU stands by the factual findings made in its report," Hudon said.

"With respect to the suggestion that information was 'leaked' by the SIU, the SIU is unaware of any unauthorized releases of information from its office."

'I'm never going to change my mind'

Clayton-Korchinski said there were no fingerprints from her daughter on the balcony. She said she still believes the police picked up her daughter and threw her off the balcony.

"That's what I believe happened. Did I see them do that? No, I didn't. But that's what I believe. I'm never going to change my mind," she said.

Peter Korchinski, the father of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, speaks to reporters. After his daughter's death, he said he felt the SIU was not fully transparent with his family. (Andy Hincenbergs/CBC)

"The police are in the wrong. They did something wrong and they're not willing to stand up and say what they did wrong," she said.

Clayton-Korchinski said police officers are there to serve and protect people.

"And that's just something that they didn't do that day," she said.

"You know, it's never, ever going to be all right because this nightmare will never go away from us. So, all I'm saying is we want justice for my daughter." 


 For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

With files from Shanifa Nasser and Adam Carter

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