CASJ denounces SIU findings on the fatal shooting of Jeffrey Reodica

Community News & Features Oct 1, 2004 at 4:25 pm

(Statement on Sept. 29, 2004)

The Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) strongly denounces the findings of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) regarding the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Jeffrey Reodica last May 21, 2004 by a member of the Toronto Police.

We believe that the results of the SIU investigation which cleared the police officer of the 41 Division, are biased, erroneous and full of inconsistencies.

We firmly stand with the results of an independent investigation conducted by a team of lawyers of the family that Jeffrey Reodica did not possess any knife when he was shot three times by the police officer and that the police used unnecessary force against the youth which resulted in his death three days later.

The SIU report’s conclusions are entirely the opposite of those of an independent investigation conducted by the youth’s family lawyers who interviewed almost the same youth witnesses and other witnesses who were at the scene of the shooting, except for the involved police officers.

To a family like the Reodica family and to all those who value human life, there is nothing more precious as the life of a young child. Nothing can justify ending the life of Jeffrey. Not even the SIU’s convoluted account of how he supposedly wrestled with two veteran police officers.

The questionable presence of a knife, the ridiculous claim of physical resistance and the ensuing struggle make the SIU report a charade.

If the police officer identified himself, why would a boy like Jeffrey, with excellent school record, a church altar boy with untarnished character, attack an officer of the law? Nobody among the ten eyewitnesses interviewed by the independent investigation team said that the police officers identified themselves and not a single one of them said that Jeffrey held a knife.

The SIU report said that three witnesses said the police identified themselves while four said the police did not identify themselves. Why would the SIU believe three and not believe four witnesses?
An eyewitness of the shooting, a boy a few feet from Jeffrey when the incident happened, said he thought the two police officers in plainclothes were relatives of the white boys in the van. He said he was stunned when he saw Jeffrey being manhandled by one of them who moments later shot him three times in rapid succession.

On the SIU account about the “struggle” betweeen 17-year old Jeffrey and two combat-trained and far-heavier police officers, which purportedly resulted in Jeffrey releasing himsef from being pinned down on the ground, the report says nothing about corroboration by any eyewitness. We want this account to be subjected to rigorous examination in a public inquiry.

We demand a public inquiry on this fatal shooting, the laying of charges against the involved police officers if warranted by evidence, and an end to police brutality and racial profiling.

We strongly denounce the SIU report on the fatal shooting of Jeffrey Reodica and will continue to seek the truth and justice for Jeffrey Reodica.

We call on the Filipino community and other ethnic communities and all concerned Canadians to support this campaign for truth and justice.

(Community Alliance for Social Justice is an umbrella group of organizations and individuals committed to social justice. It aims to help redress the grievances of the vulnerable and the disadvantaged members and sectors of the community. For information, send email to casj_canada@yahoo.ca.)