The Toronto Police Association (TPA) has released a statement on the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet saying that allegations that police officers pushed the 29-year-old woman from a balcony to her death are “unfounded,” being made “in the absence of evidence or fact” and “perpetuate a false narrative that the police are the enemy.”
The statement, signed by TPA president Mike McCormack and the union’s board of directors, goes on to say that the union is “deeply disturbed” and “disappointment” about public statements made by city councillors on the issue. Police chief Mark Saunders and Mayor John Tory have also released statements on the incident, but are not mentioned in the TPA release.
Saunders’s statement says that police “want the facts as much as anyone” and encourages witnesses to come forward. He says police are “fully cooperating” with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the provincial unit which investigates serious incidents involving serious injury or death.
According to reports, as many as eight police officers responded to a call from Korchinski-Paquet’s mother to what the TPA release describes as an “assault” at an apartment building on High Park Avenue at around 5 pm on Wednesday, May 27.
The mother said at a press conference held yesterday that she called police to take her daughter to CAMH and that the next thing she knew her daughter was dead. According to reports circulating on social media, Korchinski-Paquet, who reportedly suffers from epilepsy, was allegedly “pushed” from a balcony on the 24th floor of the building.
Police who were in her apartment reportedly left shortly after the incident and were replaced by other officers at the scene.
The SIU was called to the scene and issued a statement on Thursday, its second on the matter, saying that a post-mortem would be conducted, but the results of that won’t be made public until its investigation is over. The statement says that the SIU is “aware of allegations made by certain family members of the deceased and will be looking to speak to anyone with information about these allegations.”
An initial statement released by the SIU on Wednesday describes police responding to a “domestic incident.” The SIU says that four investigators, including two forensic investigators, have been assigned to the case
The unit is restricted by law from making information available until its investigation is completed, but the TPA says that it’s “imperative” the SIU now release information to the public as it becomes available. “Unfounded rhetoric is damaging to the community and the police.”
The TPA describes comments posted on social media about Korchinski-Paquet’s death as “opportunistic and sensationalizes this tragic event.” The TPA says the allegations “incite fear and mistrust within the community and the police.”
The family of Korchinski-Paquet have planned a protest for Saturday. TPA president McCormack was not immediately available for comment.