The family of a Mississauga man who was shot and killed by Peel police is asking the Ontario Attorney General to reopen the Special Investigations Unit’s investigation of his death, claiming it was flawed.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday via Zoom, Knia Singh, the family’s lawyer, said that an independent legal analysis of the case highlights what he says are shortcomings, inaccuracies, omissions and contradictions in the investigation of the death of Jamal Francique Jr January 7, 2020.
“The SIU investigation contained many flaws, many holes,” said Singh, referring to what he called incomplete evidence and flawed ballistic information, among other gaps.
According to the SIU report on his deathFrancique, 28, was shot while trying to escape the police during an attempt to arrest him.
Officers from the Peel Police Street Crime Unit were trying to arrest Francique for violating bail conditions when he tried to escape in a black Acura TSX, the report said. According to the report, Francique Jr. was driving towards two policemen who were walking nearby when one of them fired several shots at the vehicle’s windshield, hitting Francique in the head.
He died in the hospital three days later.
According to the report, a witness officer stepped out of the car’s path, saying he feared for his life.
The police officer who shot Francique did so “to avoid what he believed to be an imminent risk to his life,” wrote SIU director Joseph Martino in January, clear the criminal charges officer.
In his conclusion, Martino wrote that although he accepted that the subject officer had the option of withdrawing from the situation, he had only a few moments to make a decision in a highly tense situation.
“The official’s decision may not have been the only one available at the moment, but it was also not unreasonable.”
In his analysis of the SIU investigation, Singh claims that “the Director’s application of the law and the many shortcomings in the directors’ report created a lack of confidence and mistrust in SIU’s ability to fulfill its responsibility”.
On Tuesday, Singh acknowledged that he is facing an uphill battle because the current “legislation leaves no opening for appeal against a SIU decision, nor an inquiry.”
He said he asked for the support and advice of former SIU director Howard Morton, who led oversight in the 1990s.
SIU spokeswoman Monica Hudon told Star that the watchdog received a copy of Singh’s analysis.
“The SIU will need some time to thoroughly and carefully consider the content of the report before making any additional comments,” said Hudon.