Toronto police say they’re investigating how a handcuffed suspect was able to hide a gun and pull it out inside a cruiser after he was arrested by officers.
In an 18-second video dated March 18 and shared with Global News by a police source on Tuesday, the accused can be seen in the back seat of a cruiser with one of his hands in the front part of his sweater when it appears a dark-coloured firearm slides down into his hand and ends up between his legs.
Police said the suspect, who has been identified as Brandon Smith, was arrested in Toronto after officers ran the licence plate of the vehicle he was driving and they found out that the accused was wanted on an outstanding warrant by Peel Regional Police. He was transported to Peel region and subsequently was also charged with possession of a weapon by Toronto police.
Toronto Police Service spokesperson Meaghan Gray told Global News that investigators began looking into the matter before Tuesday. She said investigators will be checking how and if the suspect was searched prior to being put in the cruiser.
“Professional standards have taken a look at this incident. They’ll continue to look at it to see whether or not our procedures, when it comes to the arrest and search of persons, was appropriately followed,” Gray said.
“Anytime we have an issue where there’s a potential threat to officer safety, that’s a concern to us, so obviously the good news is that nobody was injured in this particular incident.”
WATCH: Former Toronto Police officer reacts to video of man allegedly armed while handcuffed in back of cruiser. Caryn Lieberman reports.
Peel Regional Police told Global News a warrant was issued for Smith after he failed to appear in court in December related to a break-and-enter incident.
Mike Earl, a retired Toronto police officer, looked at the video and told Global News the suspect wasn’t searched properly.
He said under the law, police have to search for evidence of an offence, any weapon that might harm someone or anything that could be used to escape. Earl said a gun could be used under any of those criteria.
“If it’s a real gun, I mean it’s terrifying. That shocks the heck out of me,” he said.
“I’ve heard of things like this happening before where handguns are dumped in the back of police cars – individuals aren’t searched properly.”