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Toronto police superintendent suspended after alleged incident at Canadian police chiefs’ conference


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Toronto police superintendent suspended after alleged incident at Canadian police chiefs’ conference

Toronto Supt. Scott Baptist, a veteran officer and head of the force’s traffic services division, has been suspended after an alleged incident at a recent policing conference in Quebec City, the Star has learned.

Toronto police would not confirm Baptist has been suspended or that he is under investigation, but sources with knowledge of the incident say the officer is suspended and the subject of a professional misconduct investigation. The sources spoke to the Star on condition of anonymity because they are were not authorized to discuss the details publicly.

The specifics of the alleged misconduct are not known, but the incident allegedly happened last week at conference of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) in Quebec City and involves a complainant who is a civilian police employee.

At the same conference, Baptist was honoured with a lifetime achievement award, recognizing his road safety advocacy.

Joseph Markson, the lawyer representing Baptist, said his client “respects the investigative process.

“However, he adamantly denies having committed any misconduct.”

David Butt, the lawyer representing the complainant, said he could not comment because the complaint is in its early stages.

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Natalie Wright, a spokesperson for the CACP, said in a statement to the Star that the CACP “is aware of the incident and that an external investigation is underway.”

“We are fully supportive of, and co-operating with, this investigation. The CACP condemns any inappropriate and/or illegal behaviour by police officers at any time, including at CACP events,” Wright said.

Toronto police spokesperson Stephanie Sayer said Baptist has not been arrested or charged in any police jurisdiction. Under Ontario’s Police Services Act, Toronto police is “prohibited from confirming any information related to an investigation, including disciplinary actions, unless there is a criminal charge laid, or the matter proceeds to a hearing before the Police Disciplinary Tribunal and becomes public,” Sayer said.

Sayer confirmed to the Star earlier this week that another high-ranking officer, Matt Moyer, has been made acting superintendent of Traffic Services.

Baptist is the third Toronto police superintendent — that is, a high-ranking senior officer, below chief and deputy — to be suspended for alleged misconduct in 2022.

In January, Toronto police Supt. Riyaz Hussein was charged with impaired driving, careless driving and having open liquor while driving following a two-car collision on the 401. Hussein is also facing professional misconduct charges stemming from the alleged crash.

Also in January, Supt. Stacy Clarke was charged with professional misconduct under Ontario’s Police Services Act, including breach of confidence, discreditable conduct and insubordination. The misconduct charges were laid after Clarke allegedly leaked confidential information to a group of officers competing for a promotion in late 2021, including sending pictures of interview questions, according to tribunal documents.

Wendy Gillis is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and policing for the Star. Reach her by email at wgillis@thestar.ca or follow her on Twitter: @wendygillis

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