Cops charged in beating

The family of a black teen who lost sight in one eye after a confrontation with a Toronto officer and his brother is calling for an investigation into how two Ontario police forces handled the incident.

Lawyers representing Dafonte Miller and his family have filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director in connection with the December 2016 incident.

They allege Toronto police and Durham regional police tried to cover up the attack on Miller to protect Michael Theriault, an off-duty Toronto constable, and his brother Christian Theriault from prosecution.

The complaint, which was filed Tuesday, alleges the police forces "blindly" accepted the brothers' accounts of what happened, despite Miller's obvious and severe injuries and the presence of witnesses, who they failed to interview.

It also alleges that the Theriaults' father, a detective with the Toronto police professional standards unit, was in contact with Durham investigators about the case, "thereby furthering the concealment" of the incident. Toronto's police chief has said that unit made the call not to contact the province's police watchdog.

The Special Investigations Unit wasn't notified of the alleged incident until months later and has since charged the brothers with assault and other offences.

"This represented, in my opinion, a deliberate and intentional effort on the part of police authorities to conceal a crime by one of their own," said lawyer Julian Falconer, who represents the Miller family.

The allegations have not been proven in court. Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash declined to comment, citing an ongoing external investigation of the force's involvement. Durham police, who are conducting an internal review, said they couldn't comment on the allegations since the case is before the courts.

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