Toronto man launches human rights complaint against police

WATCH ABOVE: Rohan Roberts says he was unfairly stopped, beaten by Toronto police officers outside his apartment. Mark Carcasole reports.

A resident of the Jane and Finch area is launching a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

The target of the complaint: two Toronto police officers, the current and previous chiefs of the force, and the Toronto Police Services Board.

Rohan Roberts says he is the victim of racial profiling and police brutality.

According to documents filed with the Tribunal, Roberts says he had exited his apartment at 5 Needle Firway around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 16, 2014. As he walked through the parking lot, he claims he was stopped by two officers in a marked cruiser who requested his ID and asked if he had been smoking weed. He says he was not.

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After his name was run through their computer system, Roberts says his ID was returned to him, and that as he walked away he told them “you guys always like to harass people.”

That’s when, he alleges, things got violent.

READ MORE: Toronto police investigate takedown incident after video surfaces

Roberts says police accused him of threatening to shoot them and that before he knew it he was grabbed, dragged to a grassy patch in the lot and beaten.

“That’s where they carried me and do what they do to me,” he says in a video filmed by his lawyer, while pointing to the grass.

Roberts’ lawyer provided Global News with photos he says show the swelling on his client’s face.

“They punched him in his face, his back. His legs all got swollen and damaged as a result,” says Roberts’ lawyer Selwyn Pieters.

Roberts was also charged with assault and threatening death, but with no reasonable prospect of conviction, charges were eventually dropped.

Roberts is seeking $100,000. Pieters is also asking the tribunal to force the Toronto Police Service to at least make changes to its carding procedures.

“If human rights laws are to mean anything, it means that when the police interact with citizens they do so lawfully and respectfully,” says Pieters.

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The two officers accused in this incident are already being investigated by the force’s Professional Standards Unit for allegations stemming from another arrest in the Jane and Finch area in January.

Christopher Duru alleges the officers grabbed him and beat him when he asked the officers for his ID back. A video of the incident captured on his phone shows Duru reaching his hand into the officers’ cruiser to try and film the driver’s name tag. that’s when the officer appears to grab Duru. While the video then gets too shaky to make out, Duru’s cries for help can be heard.

Global News asked the chair of the Police Services Board for his response, to which he replied “I cannot respond to that, it’s a matter that’s before the tribunal.”

Toronto police officials are also not commenting on Mr. Roberts’ allegations, except to say that they haven’t received a formal complaint yet.

It will take months for Roberts’ case to go before the tribunal.

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