Broadcast time: 16:06
Monday, July 30, 2007
Public Information

Toronto - In the aftermath of the violence following the FIFA Under 20 World Cup of Soccer semi−final match, on July 19, 2007, between Argentina and Chile, I made a commitment to conduct an investigation into the conduct of the Toronto Police Service officers involved. The investigation is now completed.

Superintendent Jim Ramer, of my Professional Standards Unit, ensured that his officers reviewed all the video footage that was available, that all involved TPS officers provided accounts of what happened, and that statements were taken from a number of independent witnesses. Those independent witnesses included event security officials, officials of the Ontario Soccer Association, the BMO Field event coordinator and the driver of the Chilean bus. All witnesses reported that the conduct and actions of my officers were appropriate, necessary and commendable.

The investigation revealed that my officers intervened at the first sign of trouble, but that members of the Chilean team not only refused to stop their aggressive behaviour, they engaged in conduct that inflamed the situation. My officers were punched, kicked, spat on, and kicked in the groin.

During the violence, Chilean players dismantled the armrests and footrests from the bus seats. They smashed the windows of the bus in order to throw these objects at, and spit at, the police officers below. They also threw D−cell batteries, clothes hangers and cans of deodorant at the officers. Four officers were struck and injured by various projectiles.

The damage to the Chilean team bus was extensive, including 21 broken arm rests, head rests, metal foot rests and the smashed windshield. It is estimated that the repairs to the bus will cost $35,000.

No members of the public or event officials were injured. Four police officers received minor injuries, including cuts, bumps and bruising.

There were discussions, afterwards, with FIFA officials on the implications for the tournament should the Chilean players be charged. Eventually, the players were cautioned regarding their conduct, and released with no charges laid. In addition, FIFA agreed to pay for the bus damage caused by the Chilean players.

The investigation has shown that the Toronto Police Service officers conducted themselves professionally, with an immense amount of restraint, in accordance with their training and rules governing police use of force.

The citizens of Toronto, and visitors to our city, have a right to expect police conduct of the highest standard. That is precisely what was delivered, under very trying conditions, on the night of July 19, 2007.