TORONTO - Francie Munoz is not “disfigured, different, artistic or a half person” as two Toronto Police officers were laughing about.
She is an ambassador for CAMH’s program to help end the stigma surrounding those born with Down syndrome.
She’s owed a public apology from Toronto Police — specifically 22 Division’s Consts. Sassa Sljivo and Matthew Saris who were caught on their own dashcam mocking and snickering at her appearance.
You read that right.
There were three women in the vehicle they pulled over last November on suspicion of running a red light but they thought it was hilarious to say there were “two and a half” inside.
One of the officers called her “disfigured” and came up with the word “artistic” which “is going to be my new code word for different.”
A real bright cop there. Your peers must be so proud.
At 29 Francie, who is on a CAMH poster, has held down a full time job and goes to school, was surprised that police would demean her in this way.
“It really hurt my feelings,” Francie, 29, told me and photographer Craig Robertson.
Francie, her sister, Yasmin, mom, Pamela, and dad Carlos are all terrific Torontonians. They were shocked to hear what these officers thought of them.
“It’s not right to say that. It’s wrong,” said Francie. “It’s a bad thing. I am so hurt.”
Of course, it’s not right.
Toronto Police spokesman has said investigators take Francie’s concerns seriously and promised that officers will investigate it “thoroughly.”
What should happen is these two officers should be pulled off shift while that is happening. Not just for the deplorable banter and attitude in describing a women they are charged to care for but also for other sections of the conversation that suggest “I love it when they don’t (have proper documents)” because “it’s like 10 tickets in one.”
I have a question for those two alleged disgraces to the uniform: How many tickets for belittling a tiny Down Syndrome girl?
It will be interesting to see if the Blue Wall kicks in to rally around these two? It will be interesting to see if the Crown will proceed on the $300 red light ticket — a case that has been put off now until December?
Of course, instead of running out the clock as the police do when it’s them who are wrong, my suggestion is to try a different approach — skip the nonsense and get right to the apology.
“They would be so lucky to know Francie. She’s the most wonderful, kind person in the world,” said her livid dad Carlos Munoz.
He is so disappointed because as a TTC driver, he has been given awards for helping police make arrests and has always respected them.
“Trust got broken here. What else are police saying about people that we don’t know about?” he asked. “Those two guys are not coming through the front door of my house.”
You can’t blame Carlos but I am encouraging Chief Mark Saunders and Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack to think outside the box on this one and bring these two guys into the chief’s office and make them face Francie and apologize to her and their own peers who work so hard to make this city better.