Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief, taking leave of absence for medical treatment, has told her department that she will not return to her job in light of an investigation into the conduct of the Toronto police investigation into the death of Det.-Const. Daniel Pantaleo, who was gunned down in 2014 outside the gates of the Eaton Centre while responding to a call.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders announced on March 30 that the Toronto homicide unit is reviewing “evidence and information” related to the incident as well as the internal investigation conducted by the force’s Professional Standards bureau.
“This review has been initiated in light of the findings in the Ontario Civil Liberties Association’s (OCCLA) lawsuit against the Toronto Police Service for its criminal investigation into the shooting death of Daniel Pantaleo,” Saunders said in a news release. “The TPS investigation has already identified shortcomings in the TPS’ decision to suspend Det.-Const. Pantaleo’s access to his firearm, and these shortcomings will be investigated, as are all cases of this nature.”
In an article published in the Globe and Mail on April 25, de Villa called the criminal investigation “flawed,” and accused the police of “selective” use of information in that investigation and in the public-interest examination.
“The evidence I’ve reviewed has left me with great doubt about whether the conclusions of the police investigation, the process of the investigation, and the conclusions of the TPS internal review were the result of a fair and impartial review of all the facts,” she wrote.
The controversy began in 2012 when de Villa, who has a doctorate in public health, was appointed to lead the division of public health and social services, a position which had been vacant for several months. As public health director, de Villa oversees dozens of agencies, including the Toronto Health Unit