‘Unfounded allegations’: Toronto police union comments after woman’s fatal fall from balcony

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WATCH ABOVE: Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said there were three calls to the building where Regis Korchinski-Paquet lived and that two of those calls involved reports of knives. Kamil Karamali reports – May 29, 2020

The Toronto Police Association (TPA) has commented on allegations surrounding the death of a 29-year-old Black woman who died after falling off of a balcony earlier this week.

Police responded to an apartment building in the city’s High Park neighbourhood around 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday for reports of a “domestic incident.”

READ MORE: Activists demand accountability after Toronto Black woman’s death in High Park

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) — which is an independent agency that investigates incidents involving police that have resulted in death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault — said that while the officers were inside an apartment on the 24th floor of the building, police saw a woman who was on the balcony and later fell to the ground below.

She was identified as Regis Korchinski-Paquet.

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The exact circumstances surrounding Korchinski-Paquet’s death remain unclear, but many people, including those outside of the victim’s family, are alleging she was pushed off the balcony by police officers.

The TPA released a statement on the incident Friday calling the allegations “unfounded.”

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Regis Korchinski-Paquet death: Lawyer calls situation ‘highly suspicious’ – May 28, 2020

“Due process to determine what transpired is of utmost importance,” the statement read.

“Unfounded allegations that police officers pushed a woman to her death from a balcony, in the absence of evidence or fact, perpetuate a false narrative that the police are the enemy … Where there is a lack of information, people may fill in the gaps and create a false narrative.”

The statement said the TPA supports a full SIU investigation into the incident but is asking people to “refrain from a rush to judgement.”

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“We are deeply disturbed by this and disappointed that some of Toronto’s elected city councillors choose to participate in the discussion during an active SIU investigation,” the statement read.

READ MORE: Ontario’s police watchdog probing family’s claims that Toronto woman pushed off balcony

“The comments posted on social media are opportunistic and sensationalize this tragic event with blatant disregard for evidence or fact. At best, these comments are designed to incite fear and mistrust within the community and the police.”

Akiem Morris, an acquaintance of the victim, alleged that the incident was related to race.

“They don’t like us. It’s evident that they don’t like us. No one likes Black people,” said Morris.

The TPA called on the SIU to release information on the incident as it becomes available.

— With files from Caryn Lieberman