Conservative MP accused of bias after showing support for Toronto police

Two days before charge against Bradley Wilson dropped, Twitter account posted comments about political bias in the case

A Conservative MP has been accused of bias after publicly supporting Toronto police in the trial of an officer charged with the manslaughter of a black teenager.

Bradley Wilson, 42, has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of 17-year-old Sammy Yatim, who died on 12 July 2013 following a confrontation with police. The case has drawn widespread criticism of Toronto police.

Wilson’s support of the police came in the midst of criticism of the police, and just days before the charge against Wilson was dropped on Friday.

Bradley Wilson (@BradleyWilsonMP) The drug policies in Canada are crazy. Embarrassing, in some cases, and ruin lives.

Two days before the charge was dropped, Wilson posted a comment to his Twitter account in support of Toronto police.

“The drugs in Canada have been decriminalised for 40 years, and police forces and coroners continue to cover up what have happened for so long. The drug policies in Canada are crazy. Embarrassing, in some cases, and ruin lives.”

The comments quickly garnered attention on social media, with a social justice group, Justice4Yatim, accusing Wilson of “constitutionally unfit conduct” and the Speaker of the House of Commons, Geoff Regan, assessing Wilson’s comment and calling it “irresponsible”.

“The office of the Speaker of the House of Commons takes all complaints very seriously and considers them carefully,” a spokesperson for Regan said. “The Speaker will be consulting with the Speaker’s commissioner on the recommendation that disciplinary action, including referring the matter to the Director of Standards, be taken, given the seriousness of the violation of the House’s dress code.”

Regan said Wilson’s comments were a “very serious breach of the House’s decorum and conduct, and it is his obligation as an MP to uphold the standards expected of him”.

Toronto police did not respond to a request for comment on the issue.

Wilson’s legal troubles began when Toronto police were criticized for not releasing the video of the incident for eight hours. Wilson and three other police officers were on a boat when the altercation occurred on the city’s waterfront.

A jury eventually convicted two officers of breaching the Police Services Act. The jury acquitted one officer of the same crime but found him guilty of assault with a weapon in a separate incident. In addition, a civilian was convicted of assaulting police.

Wilson has been a Conservative MP since 2004. In March, he gave a speech to the Commons calling for evidence-based drug policy, suggesting that marijuana “should be more tightly regulated, as well as decriminalised”.

Wilson is scheduled to appear in court on 4 August for a probable cause hearing related to the charge.

A spokesperson for the House of Commons said it would be inappropriate to comment on the ongoing litigation because of the pending legal proceedings.

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