Toronto’s police chief says a professional standards investigation has been launched after an officer wrote a scathing letter accusing Mayor John Tory of being a direct contributor to the city’s gun violence.
Mark Saunders says in a statement issued Friday night that the officer — who he does not name — will be disciplined if he is found to have committed misconduct.
The letter from Mark Hayward, addressed to Tory and first reported by Global News, blames the mayor for the decision to cancel the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) in 2016, which the letter says deprived police of a crucial tool in keeping violent street gangs at bay.
In the letter, Hayward calls Saunders “a puppet on strings,” which he says are pulled by the mayor.
Saunders says there are “conflicting points between what has been reported in the media and what our investigation has uncovered,” but he does not expand on what those points are.
He says TAVIS was cancelled as part of a modernization effort that includes 32 recommendations from members of the public and “highly trained members of the service.”
Saunders says the force remains steadfastly focused on its effort to curb violence, and “will not be distracted by those who are trying to hinder our modernization efforts.”
A spokesman for Tory did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Canadian Press