The family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who fell to her death from a balcony while Toronto police officers were inside her home in May 2020, says another police watchdog has launched an investigation into the case.
“The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) has reviewed your complaint and determined that it is about the conduct of members of the Toronto Police Services (TPS) as well as the TPS policies,” the OIPRD wrote in an email provided by the Korchinski-Paquet family’s lawyer, Jason Bogle.
The OIPRD confirmed to Global News that while it cannot comment on active complaints, that it is investigating allegations into police conduct the night Korchinski-Paquet died.
The Special Investigation’s Unit (SIU) already completed its own investigation into the incident and cleared the officers of any wrongdoing. However, the family said it was a flawed investigation.
According to the SIU report in August 2020, the agency found Korchinski-Paquet fell to her death while trying to sidestep onto a neighbour’s balcony on the evening of May 27, after she, her brother and her mother each called 911 over an argument that had turned physical.
SIU Director Joseph Martino said the officers tried to de-escalate the situation and “though their efforts were unsuccessful,” none of them broke the law.
“As I am satisfied that the involved officers acted lawfully throughout their engagement with Ms. Korchinski-Paquet and her family, there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case notwithstanding Ms. Korchinski-Paquet’s tragic death,” he wrote.
At the time of the report’s release, Korchinsi-Paquet’s family said they were “disgusted.”
On Tuesday, Bogle announced the OIPRD investigation in a press conference surrounded by the family of Korchinski-Paquet. He said the family believes the SIU investigation failed to investigate all information available to them.
Bogle said they are requesting the SIU to reopen its investigation. He went on to explain how the family has had several people approach them saying they “made themselves and their information known to SIU” but were not used in the agency’s investigation.
Included in these people, Bogle said, was a witness who said she was on a video call with Korchinski-Paquet while officers were in the room with her. Bogle said the witness saw Korchinski-Paquet being “jostled” by police before the call was terminated.
The witness said she attempted to call back numerous times but each call was cancelled, Bogle said.
The lawyer provided a list of the call log which shows the record of the 23-second video call followed by four subsequent cancelled calls in quick succession after.
Bogle said the four cancelled calls were after Korchinsi-Paquet’s fell off the balcony and the phone was in the apartment with police officers at the time.
Global News reached out to Toronto police for a statement in response to the OIPRD investigation.
“This is a tragic case. The service fully co-operated with the SIU investigation which concluded that the officers acted lawfully throughout their engagement with Ms. Korchinski-Paquet and her family,” the statement read.
“The circumstances are currently subject to an OIPRD investigation and as such, we cannot comment any further at this time.”
Global News also reached out to the SIU but had not received a statement by time of publication.
—With files from Kamil Karamali and The Canadian Press